Oct. 17, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State men’s soccer redshirt senior Kevin Cope (Canton, Mich.) has been selected as one of 10 finalists for the 2013 men's collegiate soccer 2013 Senior CLASS Award®, Premier Sports Management announced on Wednesday. Fan voting begins now through Nov. 25 at www.seniorclassaward.com/vote.
“He’s certainly worthy of being in the top-10 when you look at the quality of a player he is and the quality of a young man and what he’s done both academically and in the community,” said head coach Damon Rensing. “That’s hard to balance all of those and he excels in all of them. I’m sure there are 10 other guys in the country who are doing the same things, but I can’t think of any the way that Kevin does it. That’s a testament to him and the support that we have here at Michigan State, both at the academic center, Angela Montie with the community service and how we try to do things her at Michigan State within the soccer program.”
Cope is first candidate from the MSU men’s soccer program to be a top-10 finalist for the award established for the sport in 2007, as 2008 captain Doug DeMartin was in the top-30 his senior season. He is one of just three representatives on the list from the Big Ten, along with Indiana’s A.J. Corrado and Northwestern's Chris Ritter.
The two-time captain has already made a huge impact on the pitch for the Spartans this season, despite missing five games. Recording one career goal prior to 2013, Cope has scored two goals in six games for MSU this season. As a member of the stout Spartan defense, he has helped Michigan State lead the Big Ten in fewest goals allowed with seven and goals against average (0.60) and has played in three of the Spartan’s seven shutouts this season.
“To be a finalist is a pretty cool thing,” said Cope. “To be recognized for my athletic performance is cool, but to be recognized for athletics, grades, community outreach and character is pretty great. It makes my mom really happy. I’m grateful just to be nominated. We’re taking it as it comes and hopefully I can get some votes.”
Cope was named the 2009 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and has twice been named to the Second Team All-Big Ten as well as a Second Team NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region selection. After being named the PDL Defender of the Year for his play with the Michigan Bucks in 2012, he missed the 2011 season with a medical redshirt, Cope helped lead the 2012 Spartans to a Big Ten Tournament Championship title and into the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Cope also excels in the classroom: he was named a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar (2011 and 2012) and an Academic All-Big Ten selection (2010, ‘11 and ‘12). A CoSIDA Academic All-America nominee, Cope has been the team’s SAAC representative for two years. He has participated in numerous community service projects including the City Rescue Mission, Race for the Place, Habitat for Humanity and has helped coordinate the team’s Teams for Toys effort for three years where the Spartans adopt a family each holiday season.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be a NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages them to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Finalists were chosen by a media committee from the 30 men’s candidates and 30 women’s candidates selected in August. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help decide the winner. Fans can vote on the Senior CLASS Award website through November 25. The fan vote will be combined with media and Division I head coaches’ votes to determine the winner, which will be announced during the 2013 NCAA Men’s and Women’s College Cup® championships in December.