Jan. 9, 2009
ST. LOUIS – University of Notre Dame senior All-America forward Kerri Hanks (Allen, Texas/Allen) officially stamped her name as one of the true greats in women’s college soccer history on Friday night when, for the second time in three years, she was named the recipient of the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy, presented to the nation’s top NCAA Division I player, at a press conference and awards banquet in St. Louis. Hanks and this year’s men’s recipient, Marcus Tracy of Wake Forest, were selected via a vote of Division I coaches who are current members of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
Hanks, who previously took home the prestigious crystal soccer ball trophy in 2006, is the fourth woman ever to earn the award twice, joining North Carolina’s Mia Hamm (1992-93) and Cindy Parlow (1997-98), as well as Portland’s Christine Sinclair (2003-04). Hanks also becomes the first male or female to receive the award in non-consecutive years, and she is believed to be the first two-time national player of the year honoree in any sport in the 122-year history of Notre Dame athletics. In addition, it’s the fourth time an Irish women’s soccer player has been tapped for the Hermann Trophy, with Cindy Daws (1996) and Anne Makinen (2000) in that select company.
“I’m truly humbled, amazed and honored to have been chosen to receive this year’s Hermann Trophy,” Hanks said. “To be included in the company with people like Mia Hamm, Cindy Parlow and Christine Sinclair is just so unbelievable. I’m grateful to everyone at Notre Dame — my teammates, coaches, staff and our fans who are the greatest in the country — for all of their support, not only this year but throughout my career. I will always treasure the friendships I made at Notre Dame and will carry those memories with me forever.”
“Tonight’s award really has to put Kerri in the conversation with some of the all-time greats in the college game,” Irish head coach Randy Waldrum said. “I’m just so proud of her and all that she’s accomplished during her four years at Notre Dame. She’s evolved into a complete player on the field and a complete person off of it. The caring, compassion and generosity she shows, not only to her teammates, but to everyone she comes in contact with, is second to none. She is someone that has set a standard that others will be compared to for years to come.”
Joining Hanks in St. Louis for Friday’s press conference were the award’s other two finalists — Casey Nogueira of North Carolina and Christina DiMartino of UCLA.
The 23rd Division I player to be a four-year NSCAA All-American (the past three as a first-team selection), Hanks is the holder (or co-holder) of an astounding 67 records in the Notre Dame, BIG EAST Conference or NCAA record books, while also earning a place among the top 25 on 10 NCAA single-season or career lists. She is the only Division I women’s player ever to amass at least 73 goals and 73 assists in her career, finishing with 84 goals and 73 assists in her storied tenure with the Irish from 2005-08. In fact, only two other players have even reached 70 goals and 70 assists in their careers — Hamm (103G-72A) and Notre Dame’s Jenny Streiffer (70G-71A from 1996-99).
Hanks put together another signature season in 2008, as the only Division I player to rank among the top five in the nation in total goals (5th – 20), assists (3rd – 15) and points (2nd – 55). Additionally, she was one of only two players in the country to finish with at least 15 goals and 15 assists, as well as one of just two to place among the top 11 in the NCAA in goal, assist and point averages. All of this comes despite the fact she missed the semifinals and final of the BIG EAST Championship (won by Notre Dame) with a knee injury suffered in a quarterfinal win over Cincinnati.
After leading the conference in virtually every meaningful offensive statistical category this season, it was no surprise the league’s coaches selected Hanks as the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year for the second time in three years. She also was a unanimous first-team all-conference choice, her fourth consecutive all-BIG EAST citation, and she broke new ground by being a four-time BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week (pushing her career total to a record-setting eight selections).
Hanks tucked even more hardware in her trophy case this season as a seven-time national team of the week selection by either Soccer America (three times) or Top Drawer Soccer (four times). She also was chosen as the Offensive Most Valuable Player of the Inn at Saint Mary’s Soccer Classic and earned a place on the NCAA College Cup All-Tournament Team after scoring just 16 seconds into the national championship match against North Carolina, setting yet another record in the process.
The combination of Hanks’ on-field dominance, as well as her character, sportmanship and academic success (she graduated one semester early with a bachelor’s degree in sociology) did not go unrecognized. During the NCAA College Cup in Cary, N.C., Hanks was presented with the 2008 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, becoming the first Irish women’s soccer player to earn the coveted prize.
During her four-year career at Notre Dame, the Irish posted a 92-10-3 (.890) record, winning three BIG EAST titles (2005, 2006, 2008) and advancing to the NCAA College Cup three times (2006-08), including the national championship match twice (2006 and 2008). This season, Hanks helped Notre Dame raise the bar even higher, as the Irish reeled off a school-record 26 consecutive victories to open the campaign, soaring to No. 1 in the national polls for the majority of the year. Although the season ended with a disappointing last-minute 2-1 loss to UNC in the NCAA final, it will be remembered as one of the truly remarkable runs in Notre Dame athletics history.
Hanks and several of her senior classmates, including forward/midfielder Brittany Bock (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley), defender Carrie Dew (Encinitas, Calif./La Costa Canyon) and defender Elise Weber (Elk Grove, Ill./St. Viator Academy), now turn their attention to the inaugural Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) Draft, to be held Jan. 16 at 10 a.m. CT/11 a.m. ET at the Cervantes Convention Center/America’s Center in St. Louis. The Boston Breakers, led by former U.S. National Team coach Tony DiCicco, have the first pick, followed by the Chicago Red Stars.
— ND —