Big Ten Announces 2009 All-Big Ten Teams and Individual Honors

Nov. 12, 2009

The Big Ten office announced the 2009 All-Big Ten and All-Freshman men’s soccer teams, as well as individual award winners at the Tournament banquet Thursday evening. For the first time-ever, the annual Player of the Year award was divided into two separate accolades to highlight exceptional offensive and defensive performances. Penn State’s Jason Yeisley was selected as Offensive Player of the Year, while Northwestern’s Mark Blades and Ohio State’s Doug Verhoff were tabbed Co-Defensive Players of the Year. Newcomers Matt Lampson of Ohio State and Kevin Cope of Michigan State were dubbed Co-Freshmen of the Year and Buckeye head mentor John Bluem was lauded as Coach of the Year by his peers.

A two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, Yeisley becomes Penn State’s fifth all-time Big Ten Player of the Year and the first since 1995 (Stuart Reid). With the new postseason-award format now in place, the senior forward is also the conference’s first-ever Offensive Player of the Year. A 2009 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award finalist, Yeisley capped a stellar career in Happy Valley with 21 points and eight goals, including three game-winning strikes while also leading the Big Ten in shots with 72 on the year.

The senior tandem of Northwestern’s Blades and Ohio State’s Verhoff claimed a share of the conference’s first Defensive Player of the Year award after leading their teams to the top tier of the Big Ten standings.  The veteran duo becomes the conference’s second all-time joint selection for Player of the Year in Big Ten history and the first in 16 seasons. For their efforts, Blades and Verhoff were tabbed unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selections.

For the first time since 2003, the conference coaches deemed a pair of standout newcomers Freshmen of the Year, marking only the third co-selection since the award’s inception in 1991.  Michigan State’s  Cope becomes the second MSU freshman to earn the honor (Jason Wolff, 1994) after powering a tenacious Spartan defense that allowed only 14 goals in 18 contests – good enough to rate second in the conference statistics. Topping the charts in that category is Ohio State, led by freshman goalkeeper Lampson. The Hilliard, Ohio, native came up strong between the pipes for the Buckeyes this season, conceding only 10 goals against 62 saves. His Big Ten-leading .861 save percentage is accompanied by eight shutouts on the year while facing the 11th-toughest schedule in the nation. He becomes only the fourth OSU freshman to take home the award and the first since 2000 (Justin Cook).

In his 13th season at the helm of the Buckeye program, Bluem picks up his third Big Ten Coach of the Year honor, moving him into a tie for second place for most yearly awards in conference annals.  Aside from earning its first-ever top seed in this year’s Big Ten Tournament, Ohio State finished the regular season 4-2-0 in conference play and 10-4-4 overall as Bluem posted his 11th season of 10 or more wins since his arrival in Columbus in 1997. Under Bluem’s direction, the Buckeyes captured their first outright Big Ten Championship in program history. 

The conference office also announced honorees from each team for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. In addition, the student-athletes must be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. Honorees for men’s soccer are Indiana’s Ofori Sarkodie, Michigan’s Daniel Gray, Michigan State’s Tim Granaderos, Northwestern’s Pat Coleman, Ohio State’s Verhoff, Penn State’s Yeisley and Wisconsin’s Jon Rzepka. These seven student-athletes are now candidates for the Big Ten Outstanding Sportsmanship Award, as the conference office will honor one male and one female student-athlete from each institution at the end of the school year.

The complete list of All-Conference teams and Sportsmanship Award honorees follows:

2009 Men’s Soccer All-Big Ten Teams

Position First Team Second Team*
Forward Will Bruin, IND Justin Meram, MICH
  Mauro Fuzetti, MICH Andrew Magill, OSU
  MATT ELIASON, NU Corey Hertzog, PSU
  JASON YEISLEY, PSU   Scott Lorenz, WIS
Midfield Spencer Thompson, MSU  Andy Adlard, IND
  Matt Gold, OSU  Eric Alexander, IND
  MATHEUS BRAGA, PSU Konrad Warzycha, OSU
     Drew Cost, PSU
Defense  MARK BLADES, NU Rick Balchan, IND
  DOUG VERHOFF, OSU Ofori Sarkodie, IND
  Andres Casais, PSU  Colin Givens, MSU
Goalkeeper Avery Steinlage, MSU Matt Lampson, OSU

2009 Men’s Soccer All-Freshman Team

  Kofi Opare, MICH
  Chris Ritter, NU
Goalkeeper Matt Lampson, OSU

* Additional honorees due to a tie.
Unanimous selection in ALL CAPS

Sportsmanship Award Honorees
Ofori Sarkodie, Sr., IND
Daniel Gray, Sr., MICH
Tim Granaderos, Sr., MSU
Pat Coleman, Sr., NU
Doug Verhoff, Sr. OSU
Jason Yeisley, Sr., PSU
Jon Rzepka, Jr., WIS

Offensive Player of the Year:
Jason Yeisley, PSU
Co-Defensive Players of the Year: Mark Blades, NU and Doug Verhoff, OSU
Co-Freshmen of the Year: Kevin Cope, MSU and Matt Lampson, OSU
Coach of the Year: John Bluem, OSU