Less than a week after helping to lead the Florida State University women’s soccer team to the first national championship game in its history, Tokyo native Mami Yamaguchi was named a finalist for the 2007 MAC Hermann Trophy, presented to the United States’ top collegiate player.
The FSU forward is also a finalist for the Soccer Buzz National Player of the Year Award and was named the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Offensive Player of the Year in November.
“It feels good of course,” Yamaguchi said of her accomplishments this season in a telephone interview with the Japan Times on Friday from the FSU campus in Tallahassee, Fla. “I really appreciate it. The awards come from my teammates and having such a great staff. Without them I couldn’t get such awards. Of course my family will be proud.”
This year Yamaguchi, a junior, finished the regular-season second in the nation with 24 goals, recorded 18 assists and finished with 66 points. Her 2.44 points per game average was the fourth-highest in the nation.
Yamaguchi is the only player in the nation that ranks in the top 10 in three major offensive categories including points, goals and assists per game and is the first Seminole in school history to record double-digit goals and assists in a single season.
“We are really happy for Mami,” said head coach Mark Krikorian. “She has had an exceptional season and is certainly a worthy candidate for this very prestigious award.”
Yamaguchi becomes the first FSU player to be named a finalist for the award and the sixth in the past four years to be named to the preseason watchlist or as a semifinalist for the Hermann Trophy, joining Leah Gallegos (2004), Kelly Rowland (2005), Selin Kuralay (2006), India Trotter (2006) and Sarah Wagenfuhr (2007).
UCLA’s Lauren Cheney, and Texas A&M’s Ashlee Pistorious were the other finalists chosen from a list of 14 semifinalists the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and the Missouri Athletic Club announced on Friday.
Yamaguchi is a part of the Japan national team program and was a member of the Under-19 team that won the Phillips Lightning Invitational Tournament, a four-nation event featuring Japan, China, the United States and the Netherlands held in Carson Calif. in 2004. Yamaguchi scored two of Japan’s five goals as the Japanese finished as the only undefeated team in the tournament. She also scored six goals versus Malaysia in the Asian Football Championships held in China in 2004.
Yamaguchi, who attended high school at Tokyo Metropolitan Toyotama, also played for Nippon Television Beleza, Japan’s top women’s club team.
This season she has emerged as possibly the top collegiate player in the U.S. after helping Florida State reach it’s third straight Women’s College Cup (women’s soccer’s version of the Final Four) where they ultimately fell to USC 2-0 in the national championship game.
“This year my roles were scoring goals and making the final pass,” Yamaguchi said. “I was just playing my role and the results came out very good.”
The Hermann Trophy winner will be announced on Jan. 11 in St. Louis, Missouri.
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