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All-Colorado men 2009

December 21, 2009 | 2:08 pm 1
By George Tanner

From left: Jeff Nelson, Mines; Tom Settle, Fort Lewis; Jamie Cunningham, Fort Lewis; Collin Audley, Denver; Jarod Stigall, Denver. (photos by Tom Auclair and George Tanner/ColoradoSoccerNow.com)

I set up the All-Colorado women’s team with a nearly identical intro, so if you want to skip ahead straight to the team, feel free.

To reset: I was very thankful in 2009 to see many excellent college soccer teams and players on the field in Division I and II. And while watching them, I can’t help but be amazed at their skill and quality.

It was during the spring, when the W-League was in full swing, that I got the idea to put together a list of the best 11 players that we covered in that league. So when the college season started, the idea was still fresh in my mind. And today we present the final results for all the teams that play men’s college soccer in this state.

I have to admit that we didn’t get to cover every team in the state this fall. We made the effort, but we fell short of covering every men’s and every women’s college team.

Sometimes our choices of what games to cover were influenced by trying to see as many teams as possible.

Sometimes our choices were based on the expected quality of a particular match. For example, in the fall, we were at Auraria Field for a Metro State women’s game, and we opted to leave and go to Golden so we could cover Fort Lewis at Mines. We missed the Metro men that afternoon, and we never got back to see the Metro men. That was disappointing. But on that day, it was the right choice. The only time we got to see the Metropolitan State College men’s team was in the Colorado Rapids’ annual Burgundy & Blue match in the spring at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, and that was not the best example of how well the Roadrunners can play.

Sometimes our coverage was influenced by the weather, and our coverage always was limited by how many places I physically needed to be on a given week.

So, with that in mind, ColoradoSoccerNow.com is proud to announce its 2009 All-Colorado men’s team, as chosen by me with input from photographers Tom Auclair and Jonathan Ingraham. We’ve chosen to go with a 4-3-3.

Tom Settle, Fort Lewis College.
The Skyhawks had weapons all across the pitch, but Settle was the creative side of the brain for FLC. Settle had only 10 goals but narrowly missed being the leading scorer in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference because he had so many assists. Just look at the list of RMAC leading scorers: Eight of the top 20 scorers were from Fort Lewis, including the top four. A lot of that can be attributed to Settle’s vision and distribution. Settle had 24 assists, far and away the best number in the conference. The second-best assist total was 11.

Oige Kennedy, Fort Lewis College.
It’s simple, really. If you win the national championship, you are the coach of the year. If you win the national championship in your first year as the head coach, something no college soccer coach had ever done, you are the coach of the year. And if you win the national championship as an interim head coach, you get hired full-time.

Manville Strand, Colorado School of Mines:
True freshman set the RMAC on fire with gutsy, acrobatic saves and leadership from the back. Strand started all 22 matches in goal and had a 0.87 goals-against average, second-best in the conference, and led the RMAC in save percentage (.808). He posted a record of 15-2-4 with eight shutouts, second in the conference. More honors: National Soccer Coaches Association of America second team all-Central Region, Daktronics second team All-Central Region, 2009 RMAC freshman of the year, second team All-RMAC honors, RMAC Defensive Player of the Week (Sept. 8, Sept. 15, Oct. 6). Will be fun to watch in the years to come.

Kyle Wood, Fort Lewis:
Relentlessly pushes the ball forward, and does it fast. His moves are smooth. He has solid footwork. He’s difficult to beat. And the other team’s entire left side must worry about him.

Fabian Kling, Fort Lewis: He’s a 6-foot-4 sophomore from Germany who is dazzling in the middle of the field. He moves well in all directions and has the confidence to advance deep into an opponent’s territory. Excellent ball handler.

Jamie Cunningham, Fort Lewis: OK, I just don’t get this. I’m picking three Fort Lewis defenders as the best in the state at any level, and none of them was chosen All-RMAC. Wood, Kling and Cunningham were recognized on the Daktronics all-Central Region teams, but not all-RMAC. Wood is a dynamic force on the outside, and Cunningham and Kling are nearly impregnable on the inside. Cunningham, a 6-2 junior from Arizona, looks at least as big as Kling and is physical, strong, fast and aggressive. He also pushes forward when the situation arises.

Kris Banghart, DU: This senior from Fort Collins was named to the Duke Classic all-tournament team despite the fact that the Pioneers lost 4-0 and 2-0. He’s an imposing physical presence at the back with great vertical and lateral movement, with or without the ball. Invited to the Major League Soccer combine. Banghart and the three Fort Lewis defenders would be lethal on the field together.

Jarod Stigall, Denver:
He’s got a wicked shot and nasty moves. Nice touch on set pieces. Second-team all-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and was second-leading scorer for the Pioneers.

Collin Audley, Denver: The Pioneers are blessed with two players who are dangerous on restarts, and Izzy is the other one. After DU lost Sam Garza to a knee injury early in the season, Audley’s role increased dramatically for DU. He displayed poise, control, leadership and composure as DU’s captain. Was two-time all-MPSF selection. Was third in scoring for DU.

Tom Settle, Fort Lewis: See above.

Steven Emory, Metro State:
The RMAC player of the year, the Daktronics Central Region player of the year. He led the RMAC in shots, was fifth in scoring with 29 points, was fifth in goal scoring with 11 and was fifth in assists.

Euan Purcell, Fort Lewis: A no-brainer here. Amazing vertical leap makes him a threat in the air. He’s fast and strong and plays the role of a target well. The RMAC’s leading scorer and leading goal scorer (21).

Jeff Nelson, Mines: When I think of Mines, I think of the dynamic strand at the back of the field and the dynamic Nelson at the front. Nelson was fourth in the RMAC in goals, with 12, and he made them count: He was second with five game-winning goals. The senior was on the NSCAA’s academic All-West first team and the academic all-RMAC first team.

Joe Barnd, Fort Lewis: I’m creating a special category here because Barnd gave an extra dimension to a team that might not have needed one. Barnd played in 11 matches but started only three of them. And in those 11 matches, he scored eight goals. Off the bench, he had a nose for goal and was in the right place at the right time. His goal late in the match against Regis in Denver was the difference between a 1-0 victory and a 0-0 tie.

Zane Wells, Fort Lewis; Joe Willis, DU; Jarod Thomas, Adams State; Wally Fink, Regis.

DEFENSE: Pat Laughlin, Metro State; Blake Shannon, DU; Ryan Brennan, Regis, Erik Andersen, CSU-Pueblo.

MIDFIELD: Ted Decker, Mines; Keane Hamilton, Fort Lewis; Dimo Krymanidis, Fort Lewis.

FORWARD: Josh Rhynard, Air Force: Steven Noller, Air Force; Alex Tarnoczi, DU; David Barden, Fort Lewis.

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One Comment »

  • Steve Berglund said:

    As a Fort Lewis Alum from when the Fort started to dominate the RMAC and get national recognition I am happy to see the Fort and Division II soccer finally get the respect they deserve. I was at the FLC-DU game and I hope all the up and coming youth saw the same domination I did from best in the southwest and they start asking their parents to take them to visit Colorado campus in the sky!

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