Akron's Steve Zakuani
, who led the nation in scoring, is only the second sophomore to win Soccer America Men's Player of the Year honors after Virginia's
, who won the first of back-to-back awards in 1992.
Unlike Reyna, Zakuani was a total unknown when he arrived at Akron in 2007.
New Zips coach Caleb Porter
was looking at tape of an English player he hoped to fill out his first recruiting class when he spotted Zakuani, who
arrived the next year.
Zakuani was born in Zaire and raised in London, where he played up until the age of 15 in Arsenal's youth system. His older brother Gabby
was signed by Fulham from Leyton Orient for $2 million in 2006 but has never made a first-team appearance for the Cottagers.
Steve, meanwhile, was open to the idea of
coming to America to study.
He had a decent freshman season with six goals but nothing like his sophomore campaign when he led the nation with 20 goals and 47 points.
says Zakuani didn't create that many more chances in 2008 but he did a better job of finishing. Seven of his goals were game-winners.
Zakuani is pursuing a degree in sports management. If
he isn't plucked away by the pros, he should make Akron, loaded with young stars and an excellent incoming class, one of the favorites to win the 2009 national title. SOCCER AMERICA MEN'S PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Steve Zakuani, Akron 2007 --
White, Connecticut 2006 --
Joseph Lapira, Notre Dame 2005 --
Jason Garey, Maryland 2004 --
Ryan Pore, Tulsa 2003 --
Joseph Ngwenya, Coastal Carolina 2002 --
Alecko Eskandarian, Virginia 2001 --
Luchi Gonzalez, Southern Methodist 2000 --
Connecticut 1999 --
Aleksey Korol, Indiana 1998 --
Wojtek Krakowiak, Clemson 1997 --
Ben Olsen, Virginia 1996 --
Johnny Torres, Creighton 1995 --
Mike Fisher, Virginia
A.J. Wood, Virginia 1993 --
Claudio Reyna, Virginia
Claudio Reyna, Virginia 1987-91 --
No winner announced 1986 --
Paul Caligiuri, UCLA, John Kerr, Duke 1985 --
Michael Brady, American 1984 --
Paul DiBernardo, Indiana