by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
Members of Kansas City Kansas Community College’s most successful soccer team in history were rewarded with championship rings in special ceremonies Saturday.
Winning the Jayhawk Conference and the Plains District championships, the Blue Devils advanced to the NJCAA Division I national tournament for the first time in history and were ranked No. 10 in the final national rankings, another first.
Shutting out Garden City 4-0 and Eastern Jayhawk champion Cloud County 1-0 in overtime to win the Region VI Division I and Jayhawk championships, the Blue Devils claimed the Plains District championship and KCKCC’s first Division I national tournament berth by defeating Rose State of Oklahoma in an 8-7 shootout and Ranger, Texas, 3-2.
While eliminated by No. 2 seeded Schoolcraft and No. 7 Monroe in the Division I national tournament, the Blue Devils finished No. 10 in the final NJCAA national rankings for the first time and accumulated a raft of post-season honors.
Coach Ruben Rodriguez was named both Jayhawk Conference and Plains District Coach of the Year.
Leonardo DaSilva was named KCKCC’s first-ever First Team All-American and Jayhawk Defender of the Year.
Four Blue Devils earned All-Region VI honors, DaSilva, Ricardo Angelo, Guilherme Grave and Frano Buhover, and they were joined on the All-Jayhawk team by Giovanni Calderon, Emmanuel Hernandez, Mario Sandoval and Reed Axthelm.
In addition to the All-Jayhawk and All-Region recipients, rings were presented to Jesse Calderon, Youssef Gadelkerim, Fernando Garella, Brajan Huyke, Pa Ousman Jobe, Jackson Jones, Abdulrahmen Khalid, Matheus Nunes. Gustavo Palmeiri, Phillip Parmour, Ethan Pfeifer, Quinten Pulliam, Bruno Rovares, Mario Sandovol, Rodolfo Valiente, Hector Valles, athletic trainers Jordan Williams and Rodney Christensen and Athletic Director Tony Tompkins. Assistant coach Burke Slusher was out of town and not available for the ring presentation.