Akpan Named Ivy League Player of the Year; Rogers Earns Conference Rookie of the Year Honors

Akpan Named Ivy League Player of the Year;  Rogers Earns Conference Rookie of the Year Honors

Pictured: Andre Akpan (left) and Brian Rogers were named the Ivy League Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year, respectively.
Photo courtesy: David Silverman Photography

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. –Senior forward Andre Akpan of the Harvard men’s soccer team has been tabbed the Ivy League Player of the Year, while freshman forward Brian Rogers has garnered Rookie of the Year honors, the conference announced Tuesday afternoon. Senior defender Kwaku Nyamekye joins Akpan as the only two unanimous selections to the All-Ivy League first team.

Harvard also earned three selections to the all-conference second team: Rogers, senior midfielder Brian Grimm and freshman defender Richard Smith. Junior midfielder Alex Chi received All-Ivy League honorable mention status.

Harvard’s sweep of the top two conference honors marks the first time the Crimson has earned Player and Rookie of the Year selections since 2006, when Akpan was tabbed as the Ivy’s top rookie and Charles Altcheck ’07 earned his second straight nod as Player of the Year. “It’s great that Andre has set the standard for our program, and we are in good hands for the upcoming four years as well,” said Jamie Clark, The Virginia B. and James O. Welch, Jr. ’52 Head Coach for Harvard Men’s Soccer.

Akpan, Harvard’s all-time leading scorer with 123 points on 45 goals and 33 assists, earns his fourth nod to the All-Ivy League first team. A native of Grand Prairie, Texas, Akpan, a co-captain of the Crimson this fall, is a two-time semifinalist for the Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy, presented to the nation’s top soccer player, and has garnered two NSCAA All-America selections. Akpan led Harvard with 28 points this fall, ranking 14th in the nation with 1.65 points per contest. He also tallied a Harvard-best 11 goals, including four that counted for game-winners, and tied for the team lead with six assists. Akpan scored two goals three times this season and was tabbed the Ivy League Player of the Week on two occasions.

Rogers ranked second on the Crimson with 17 points, netting six goals and handing out five assists. A native of Bronxville, N.Y., Rogers, who also tallied three game-winning goals, was honored as the conference Rookie of the Week three times this fall. He enjoyed a six-game point streak to start his career (Sept. 4-23) and scored a goal in three straight contests against Army, Fairfield and New Hampshire (Sept. 14-23).

A four-time All-Ivy League honoree, Nyamekye was named to the All-Ivy first team for the second straight season after once again anchoring the Crimson defense. He started all 17 games for Harvard this fall, helping the Crimson hold opponents to only 13 goals. Nyamekye, who hails from Geneva, Switzerland, also had the scoring touch, notching a key goal in Harvard’s 2-1 win over Dartmouth Oct. 31.

Grimm, a co-captain of the Crimson, earned his first nod to the All-Ivy League team after starting all 17 games at midfield. A native of Manalapan, N.J., he assisted on three tallies this season, two of which were game-winners. In the last two seasons, Grimm has played in all 35 games, starting 34 of those contests.

Smith, who tallied the game-winning goal in the 68th Harvard’s 1-0 win over Penn Nov. 15, which clinched the Crimson’s Ivy League title, started eight games in his rookie season at defense. For his effort against the Quakers, Smith, a product of Durham, England, was honored as the Ancient Eight Rookie of the Week Nov. 16.

A native of Plano, Texas, Chi started all 17 games at midfield for the Crimson, scoring two goals. Chi, who is making his first appearance on the All-Ivy League team, netted the game-winner in overtime at Columbia Nov. 7, and also tallied a late goal at Cornell Oct. 11, helping the Crimson earn a 1-1 tie on the road.

Harvard completed the regular season as the Ivy League champion, going 5-1-1 in the Ancient Eight and 13-3-1 overall. The Crimson earned the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA tournament and will host the winner of Monmouth and Connecticut in the second round Sunday, Nov. 22. The game will be played at Ohiri Field at 1 p.m.