OXFORD, Miss. – Senior forward Rafaelle Souza has been named as a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy honoring the national player of the year in soccer, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America announced on Tuesday.
Souza is one of 15 players to make the cut as a semifinalist for the annual award and is the first Ole Miss player to be announced as a semifinalist in the history of the program. That list will be pared down to three finalists through a national vote of collegiate soccer coaches before the winner is announced at the Missouri Athletic Club of St. Louis annual banquet in January.
Soccer fans can also let their collective voice be heard by voting for their favorite player on the MAC’s website hosted by LockerDome, starting Thursday, Dec. 5, and running through Tuesday, Dec. 10.
“What a fantastic honor for Rafa to be nominated alongside some of the best players from some historic programs in college soccer,” said Ole Miss head coach Matthew Mott. “We’re very proud of her and her accomplishments this season and really throughout her career. She’s certainly very deserving of this recognition.”
Souza helped lead the Rebels to a record-setting season in 2013 as Ole Miss went 16-5-2 on the year and spent seven weeks ranked in the top 25 nationally, reaching as high as No. 22 in the polls. The 16 wins was the most in program history as Ole Miss advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time ever and advanced past the first round for the second time in program history.
The Rebels hosted Jackson State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, marking the first time Ole Miss had ever hosted NCAA Tournament play in soccer, before falling at third-ranked Florida State in the second round by a score of 3-1. The Seminoles are the top-seeded team in the region for the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the College Cup and will be one of four teams left playing for the national championship this weekend.
Souza notched an SEC-leading 22 goals on the season and ranks third nationally in goals scored with one weekend of competition left and only four teams left competing. She also ranks second nationally in points with 50 after adding six assists for the Rebels this season and leading the SEC in points.
Of her 22 goals this season, six of them were game winners for the Rebels, while she also turned in seven multiple-goal matches on the year. Her best performance came with a hat trick against Jackson State in the NCAA Tournament.
Souza is now the all-time leader at Ole Miss in both career goals (44) and points (108) after three seasons of competition.
— Bill Bunting, Ole Miss Sports Information