Courtesy Hofstra Athletic Communications
The Hofstra men’s soccer team has achieved quite the turnaround in 2010 from being in 11th place midway through the season to going unbeaten in its last six games to quality for the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament. In that final six game stretch where Hofstra went 4-0-2 the Pride only gave up one goal and the Pride’s staunch defensive play has been keyed in large part by freshman Shaun Foster, who has quickly become a leader on and off the field in his year of collegiate soccer.
Foster was recognized for his solid backline play by earning both the CAA Defensive Player of the Year and the Rookie of the Year honors, becoming the fort freshman to accomplish either feat. The England native is the first player in CAA Men's Soccer history to win two major awards in the same season.
“He has been our leader defensively,” said Hofstra men's soccer head coach Richard Nuttall, who was told about Foster’s talents from friends in his native Great Britain. “He has been our emotional leader.”
Foster’s leadership qualities were ingrained in him while playing soccer in England where there is a major emphasis on communication. “In England communication is a much bigger thing than it is out here,” said Foster. “I try and be vocal as much as I can.”
Hofstra’s defense led by Foster was stout the entire season and was the only team in the CAA to average less than a goal per game. Foster has also shown some offensive skills scoring game-winning goals against Georgia State on Oct. 2 and James Madison on Nov. 6, which clinched a CAA Tournament berth as the third seed.
Hofstra will try and complete its late-season surge with two more wins in the CAA Tournament, which gets underway with a semifinal game against Virginia Commonwealth Friday at 5 p.m. Foster said playing must-win games since mid October when it got off to a 1-3-1 start in conference served as solid preparation for the Pride’s conquest to claim the CAA’s automatic bid to the College Cup.
“We have played well under pressure,” he said. “Every game has been like a playoff.”