|ESPN Academic All-America|
TOWSON, Md. - Notch one more milestone on Idaho soccer player Chelsea Small's résumé.
The sophomore forward from Solana Beach, Calif. (Torrey Pines HS) was Idaho's first all-Western Athletic Conference honoree last season as a freshman, she became the first Vandal to receive a conference player of the year honor this season, and on Friday, she became the first Academic All-American in Idaho soccer history.
"It's a reflection of the complete package of a student-athlete," Idaho head soccer coach Pete Showler said of Small. "It's recognition of hard work on and off the pitch, and being able to balance the amount of travel we've had away from class and still maintain a 4.0, as well as to produce goals and assists, and it's a testament to top-notch hard work and a solid investment in all that she does."
Small was voted a Second-Team ESPN Academic All-America honoree on Friday. She holds a cumulative 4.0 grade point average in Secondary Education and broke Idaho's school records this year in single-season points (30), goals (13), game-winning goals (8) and shots (121).
She was named 2010 WAC Offensive Player of the Year this season and is a two-time first-team All-WAC honoree. She finished the season ranked 20th in the NCAA in total goals and also tied the WAC record for conference-season shots (58). She led Idaho to a school-record 14 wins and program-best third-place finish in the WAC.
Small was one of just three sophomores among the 33 student-athletes honored Friday. To be eligible for Academic All-America mention, a student-athlete must have a cumulative 3.30 GPA and have sophomore standing. Academic All-District honorees are nominated and voted upon by their region's sports information directors, while first-team All-District honorees move on to the national ballot.
Showler said that Small's award is a positive reflection on the entire women's soccer program, which has a combined 3.50 GPA.
"The team GPA, along with the great season we had this year, shows an understanding of balancing the 'student' and the 'athlete' requirements and representing the University of Idaho in a positive manner," Showler said of the Vandals.