Since 1988, the best player in women’s college soccer has been awarded with the MAC Hermann Trophy. The award’s history began in 1967, when Bob Hermann — then the president of the National Professional Soccer League — wanted to establish a trophy to recognize the top men’s soccer player.
The first woman to win the award was Michelle Akers of Central Florida. She went on to help the U.S. win a pair of World Cups in 1991 and 1999, and won the Golden Boot in the 1991 tournament.
In 2019, the list of candidates to win the award is loaded, with talented players littered across the country. The 2018 winner — Stanford's Catarina Macario — is back to defend her crown, but there are a few other players who might have something to say about her going back-to-back.
Let’s take a look at three players with legitimate shots to win the award.
Catarina Macario, Junior, Forward — Stanford
Macro should have a big trophy case at home. In 2018, she claimed the Hermann Trophy, along with being named an All-American and being named the ESPNW Player of the Year, the TopDrawerSoccer Player of the Year and the Pac-12 Forward of the Year.
Born in Brazil but raised in San Diego, Macario also featured for the U.S. U-23 youth national team last year. As a sophomore for Stanford last season, the 5-foot-5 forward tallied 17 goals and 16 assists in 25 games, helping the Cardinal reach the College Cup semifinals.
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If Macario can repeat her production from last season, she’ll be in the mix to win the Hermann Trophy again. The award hasn’t had a back-to-back winner since Morgan Brian claimed two trophies for Virginia in 2013 and 2014.
Jessie Fleming, Senior, Midfielder — UCLA
Fresh off starring in the World Cup with Canada, Fleming is poised for a stellar senior season with the Bruins. She started in four World Cup games in France, netting one goal.
A 5-foot-4 midfielder, Fleming was a finalist for the award as a sophomore, where she tallied six goals and eight assists in 23 games. She was on track to surpass those stats as a junior, notching five goals and five assists in 11 games, but she missed several contests to be with Canada for World Cup qualifying. With what should be a slow season for her national team duties, Fleming should have plenty of time to create a flurry of scores for the Bruins.
CANADA TAKE THE LEAD!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 15, 2019
After a scoreless first half, it's Jessie Fleming who breaks through and puts Canada on 🔝 pic.twitter.com/x9IpPrxf1Y
Deyna Castellanos, Senior, Forward — Florida State
A former finalist for FIFA’s Player of the Year award, Castellanos likely has a bright future ahead of her as a professional soccer player. She’s already scored six goals in 13 appearances for the Venezuelan national team.
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But in her senior season, she’ll be tasked with spearheading Florida State’s defense of its 2018 College Cup championship. Castellanos helped the Seminoles reach the height of the sport last season by scoring 10 goals and assisting on eight others in 26 matches. She ranked first in the ACC in shots per game (4.38) and shots on goal per game (2.12). Castellanos dished out assists in each of FSU’s College Cup games.
If Florida State reaches the College Cup again, Castellanos will be a big reason why, which should also put her in the mix for the Hermann Trophy.
Three others to keep an eye on:
Alessia Russo, Junior, Forward — North Carolina
- Had nine goals in 19 games as a freshman and six goals in 14 games as a sophomore. Russo has also featured for England’s youth national teams.
Evelyne Viens, Senior, Forward — USF
- Led Division I women’s soccer in scoring last season with 20 goals and seven assists, and a goals per-game mark of 1.05.
Samantha Coffey, Junior, Midfielder — Penn State
- Was ACC Midfielder of the Year and a Hermann Trophy semifinalist last season for Boston College, tallying five goals and 10 assists along the way. Coffey has also captained youth national teams for the U.S.