OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Coastal Carolina senior men's soccer standout Ashton Bennett is one of 30 candidates selected nationwide for the 2012 Senior CLASS Award, Premier Sports Management announced Tuesday.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the annual award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. To be eligible, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - classroom, character, community and competition.
Bennett, a team captain, leads the exceptionally talented Chanticleer attacking unit with four goals and two assists this season. The Clarendon, Jamaica, native enjoyed one of the most memorable seasons in Coastal Carolina history in 2011 as he led the NCAA in goals (23), total points (53) and points per game (2.41).
The honor adds to a list of preseason accolades for the striker. The senior was named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List, in addition to earning preseason All-American honors from College Soccer News and Preseason Attacking Player of the Year honors from the Big South Conference. The reigning Big South Attacking Player of the Year, Bennett led the Chants to an 18-4-0 record, including a perfect 9-0 conference mark and a NCAA Tournament second round appearance in 2011. For his efforts Bennett was named a NSCAA First Team All-American and was one of 12 finalists for the 2011 MAC Hermann Trophy, the highest individual honor in collegiate soccer.
From the list of 30 candidates, 10 finalists will be selected midway through the regular season. Those names will then be placed on the official ballot for a nationwide vote among media, coaches and fans, who will select the candidate that best exemplifies excellence in the four categories of classroom, character, community and competition. The winner will be announced during the 2012 NCAA Men's College Cup championship in early December.
2012 Men's Soccer Senior CLASS Candidates
Carlos Alvarez, Connecticut
James Belshaw, Duke
Ashton Bennett, Coastal Carolina
Steven Birnbaum, California
Scott Caldwell, Akron
Machael David, UC Santa Barbara
Johnny Dreshaj, Oakland
Shawn Ferguson, Charleston
Peyton Ford, North Carolina-Greensboro
Scott Goodwin, North Carolina
Anthony Hobbs, Florida International
Ryan Hollingshead, UCLA
Deion Jones, Florida Gulf Coast
Taylor Kemp, Maryland
Ryan McDuff, Brown
Brian McGue, Davidson
Peter McKeown, Loyola (Illinois)
Luis Ocejo, Stetson
Cameron Omsberg, Lehigh
Jannis Opalka, Siena
Liam Paddock, UMBC
Everett Pitts, UC Irvine
Dillon Powers, Notre Dame
Eric Schoenle, West Virginia
Yannick Smith, Old Dominion
Donnie Smith, Charlotte
Blake Smith, New Mexico
Bobby Thalman, Yale
Grant Van De Casteele, Notre Dame
Kyle Zobeck, Valparaiso