MAC Places Five on ESPN's Men's Soccer Academic All-American Team

Updated 11/23/2010

Story courtesy of Akron Athletic Communications

AKRON, Ohio - University of Akron junior defender Kofi Sarkodie, the 2010 Academic All-America of the Year, was one of four men's soccer players named to the ESPN Academic All-America Team Thursday, which represents the most representatives by any single team in school history.

Sarkodie is the first student-athlete in Akron history to receive the Academic All-America of the Year award while also becoming the first player to be named to the Academic All-America First Team more than once after also doing so in 2009. Also receiving honors Thursday were sophomore defender Chad Barson and sophomore goalkeeper David Meves, who each landed on the Second Team, and senior midfielder Anthony Ampaipitakwong, who garnered third-team status.

Sarkodie, a biology major at UA with a 3.96 cumulative GPA, has helped guide the Zips to an 18-1-1 record and a No. 3 seed for the NCAA Tournament. He is a three-time all-conference performer and a leader of a defensive unit that matched an NCAA record with 11 consecutive shutouts this season. Moreover, as one of the most dynamic players in the nation, Sarkodie has been a force on the attack as well with a career-high seven goals and five assists entering the tournament. Four of his seven goals have been game-winners this fall.

In 2009, Sarkodie helped Akron finish as national runners-up and was a vital performer on a defense that was one of the best in NCAA history. The Zips recorded 19 shutouts last season, which represented the second highest, single-season total in NCAA history. Akron's 0.27 Goals Against Average was the third-best mark ever. Honored by the College Soccer News as a 2010 Preseason All-American, Sarkodie is a candidate for the prestigious Hermann Trophy and recorded his first career hat trick in a 7-1 rout of Michigan last October.

Barson, Meves and Ampaipitakwong each earned Academic All-American status for the first time Thursday. Barson, who has posted a perfect 4.00 GPA, is a biology major; Meves owns a 3.84 GPA as a corporate financial management major; and Ampaipitakwong, who is a finalist for the Lowes Senior CLASS Award, boasts a 3.34 GPA as a sport management major.

Joining the four Zips on the All-American squad from the MAC was defender Kyle Knotek of Northern Illinois. Knotek, like Sarkodie, was named to the First Team. The senior from Geneva, Illinois carries a 4.00 GPA in Business Administration.

To be eligible for Academic All-American status, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his current institution and be nominated by his sports information director.

Since the program's inception in 1952, CoSIDA has bestowed Academic All-America honors on more than 15,000 student-athletes in Divisions I, II, III and NAIA, covering all NCAA championship sports.