The A.I.I. (Association of Independent Institutions) has released its soccer All-Conference team selections and awards.
Central Christian College was well represented, earning 19 different All-Conference awards.
The CCC women garnered 10 individual accolades including two Player of the Year awards, five first-team All-Conference selections, one second-team selection, and two Champions of Character team selections.
Highlighting the list for the Tigers were Isabel Sierra, who was named A.I.I. Conference Player of the Year, and Goldie Bougher, who was selected as the All-Conference Goal Keeper of the Year.
The All-Conference first team featured five Tiger players including senior Nikki Neal, sophomores Sierr and Amber Murray, and freshmen Bougher and Shannon Huesca. They also had a lone selection on the second team, junior Rachel Meier.
As part of the NAIA's Champions of Character Initiative, each conference selects a Champions of Character team made up of student-athletes who represent the NAIA's five core values of Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Sportsmanship and Servant Leadership. Neal and sophomore Madison Strickland were selected as the Tigers' representatives this year.
The final award handed out to the Tigers was given to head coach Scott Fogarty. He was honored by his coaching peers as the A.I.I. Coach of the Year. His inaugural season consisted of a team with 13 players on it that overachieved and finished the year at 5-11-1. Since that first season, his teams have a combined record of 31-11-1 in two years, one of the greatest turnarounds of a program at the collegiate level.
"It's always nice to see players be recognized by the other coaches around the league,” Fogarty said. “What's great as the coach of these ladies is that none of them even think about these awards. They do it for their teammates and they'd be just as happy if their teammates were recognized instead of them, but ultimately they know they accomplish everything as one team and would rather grow and succeed as a team than any individual recognition. It's what you want to see from your players."
The Tiger men also were awarded several postseason conference accolades.
They placed six players on the All-Conference teams including senior David Martinez-Salinas, the lone representative on the first team, sophomore Ricky Tellez and Junior Brian Silva on the second team, and juniors Tyrone Pitter, Lorenzo Davalos and Gabriel Flores ,who were named as honorable mention selections.
Like the Tiger women, the men also had two players selected to the conference Champions of Character team. Representing the Tiger men were juniors Jayke Maples and Adam Langdon.
Like Fogarty, men's head coach, Aaron Hoxie knows soccer is a team first sport, but enjoys it when individual players are recognized for their efforts by other coaches. "I'm happy for these kids and the individual accolades that have been given to them," Hoxie said. "Specifically, I am thrilled for David [Martinez-Salinas] because he has quietly been the best player on our team for a few seasons. His work goes unnoticed, so it is awesome that the coaches have recognized his contribution. These individual awards are important because the team, which is made up of individuals not recognized tonight, has come together so that these guys do get honored. Their sacrifices and the work they put in daily has not gone unnoticed."
Hoxie also gave a shout-out to former teammate and current coaching colleague, Scott Fogarty. "Wonderful moment in the room when Scott Fogarty was announced as women's coach of the year," he said. "Both teams gave audible cheers on top of several chants, which shows the bond that has been created between both programs. It was a good moment for Scott but also for CCC soccer as a whole."