In addition to their accomplishments on the pitch, Penn’s soccer teams succeed off the field. Again and again and again — 15 times to be exact.
The men’s and women’s soccer teams were recently honored by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America for their academic performance during the 2014-15 school year.
According to the NSCAA, the Team Academic Award is bestowed upon Division I teams that boast a collective grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Men’s soccer posted a 3.03 GPA, while the women’s team accumulated a score of 3.37, the second highest amongst Ivy League competitors.
For both teams, the awards were record-breaking achievements. Women’s soccer has been recognized for its 15th consecutive season, the most in Ivy League history.
Despite coach Nicole Van Dyke’s recent arrival to the team, she has already attempted to emphasize the importance of academic success.
“We pride ourselves on what we call the #WRAP: work ethic, be respectful, be accountable and be professional,” Van Dyke said. “And, for us, that’s on and off the field. It’s on your Friday nights, and it’s in your classroom.”
The Quakers set a record on the men’s side, as well. The team was also honored for the fifteenth consecutive time, the longest active streak of any Division I team.
Coach Rudy Fuller, who has been at the helm for all 15 award-winning seasons, sees the honor as a validation of his squad.
“We want to be a program that’s good in everything we do, whether it’s in the classroom, on the field or in the community,” Fuller said. “We’re committed to bringing in really good student-athletes.”
Both coaches also see their players’ scholarly feats as catalysts for their athletic triumphs.
“I think [academic success] translates really well onto the field,” Fuller said. “Discipline, commitment and work ethic — you can’t turn that stuff off. It shows in terms of what we’re doing on the field.”
“Penn’s an amazing institution,” Van Dyke added. “You don’t have to sacrifice the athletic side for the academic side or vice versa. You can come out here and have that same drive to want to grow as a player as you can in the classroom.
“This group is very coachable, very intelligent. They want to be challenged.”
As one of 217 schools throughout all divisions of college soccer to have both men and women’s teams recognized by the NSCAA, Penn’s players have succeeded across the board academically. They will look to keep up their winning streaks both on and off the field as the 2015 season wears on.
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