Hazel and Kitromilides named Men’s Hermann Trophy Watch List after 2021 spring season

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Senior forward Marcos Kitromilides has had a strong season. (Photo courtesy of Athletic Communications)

Craig Barbaro

The Lafayette men’s soccer team had a perfect 2021 season but fell short of their ultimate goal: winning the Patriot League Championship. The team went undefeated going 7-0 in the regular season, winning on both sides of the ball throughout the season. 

One reason the Leopards’ success was senior defender Nick Hazel and senior forward Marcos Kitromilides. Both players were rewarded for their efforts last season by being named to the 2021 Men’s Hermann Trophy Watch List. 

“It feels great to be named to the Watch List,” Hazel said. “Knowing that Marcos and I are seen as top players across the country is obviously a great feeling.”

The Hermann Trophy is an award presented annually by the Missouri Athletic Club which recognizes the nation’s National Player of the Year for collegiate soccer. The award is a 10-pound crystal ball and is the nation’s highest individual honor for collegiate soccer players. The winner is voted on by Division I coaches who are a part of the United Soccer Coaches College Services program

“Even though I am a person who prefers receiving team [or] collective awards, it’s always nice to receive personal accolades,” Kitromilides said. “It was also great to see that another teammate of mine was on that list as well.”

The Men’s Watch List is updated periodically throughout the season, with 15 players named Hermann Trophy semifinalists on Nov. 30, 2021. After a final round of voting three finalists are named on Dec. 15. The 2021 winner will be announced on Jan. 7, 2022, in a ceremony at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis, Mo.

“I never had my eye on this award. I don’t go into the season thinking about personal awards,” Hazel said. “I think about going out and having a successful season as a team and if personal awards come along the way so be it. This was a big surprise to be named to the Watch List.”

“It’s just a great recognition of my hard work over the past years,” Kitromilides said. “It provides me with extra motivation to keep on working.”

With their individual success, the players remained focused on the goal of getting the Leopards the elusive Patriot League Championship.

“We have some unfinished business from last year,” Kitromilides said. “The goal is to win the Patriot League and win as many out-of-conference games as possible in order to be high up in the NCAA rankings and potentially in the top 25 like last year.”

Hazel agreed, adding that although the obvious goal is winning the Championship, there are smaller steps the team can take to work their way there.

“Little goals that would help us get there are getting better in the weight room, getting better on the pitch and continuing to build our brotherhood so we can continue to be successful,” Hazel said.

After strong opening performances, Kitromilides and Hazel are on their way to making the list of semifinalists in November.