San Jose, Calif. - The San Jose State University men’s soccer program held its annual end-of-the-year awards banquet inside the Gold Room at the Simpkins Stadium Center on South Campus on Tuesday night, December 9.
The event recognized the team and individual accomplishments of the 2008 Spartans. Head coach Gary St. Clair recapped what was his 19th season in charge at his alma mater, and reviewed the superlatives of each player, following dinner and a highlight video prepared by sixth-year assistant coach Chris Behler.
The banquet concluded with five awards being handed out, and St. Clair calling up his six standout seniors for one final farewell and thank you.
Senior central defender Ed Brand took top honors as the Most Valuable Player. He started all 17 games he appeared in during the 2008 campaign, and scored a single goal from the penalty spot in the final minute of regulation during a 2-2 non-conference home draw with eventual NCAA Championship participant Cal Poly. For his sparkling Spartan career, the London, England, native started 67 of 68 games, and tallied a total of six penalty-kick goals to go with three assists for 15 points offensively. As a first-team All-MPSF pick, Brand became just the third known player in program history to earn all-conference selection in all four years.
Nick Cukar was a no-brainer for the Offensive MVP award, as the junior led the team in both points and goals scored with 18 off a career-best nine strikes. A native of Millbrae, Calif., and graduate of Capuchino High School, Cukar was the only Spartan to start all 18 matches in 2008, remarkably producing his offensive numbers from his left-sided midfield position. His nine goals were good enough for a share of the top spot in the MPSF. A league-best seven of those nine served as game-winners among the Spartans’ nine triumphs on the year as a team. Cukar tied for second in the league in total points. Of his 50 shots on the year, 24 were on goal.
Defensive MVP distinction went to fifth-year senior right back Gavin Wenyon. Wenyon, out of Foster City, Calif., and Burlingame High School, started all 17 games in which he played in 2008, tallying a single goal in the 3-0 season-opening victory at home over Notre Dame de Namur on August 29. Wenyon finished his college career as the Spartans’ active leader in games played (72), games started (72) and assists (14). His two goals and 14 assists accounted for 18 total points offensively.
The fourth and final award voted on by the Spartan team members, was for Top Newcomer, with sophomore holding central midfielder Josh Boemecke the recipient. The native of O’Fallon, Ill. (O’Fallon Township HS), finished third in the MPSF’s Top Newcomer voting in his first year at San Jose State following a transfer from the nationally-rated Saint Louis University program. He started all 16 matches that he appeared in, and assisted on the game-winning goal in a 2-0 triumph at Cal State Bakersfield on September 28.
St. Clair, Behler, 19th-year associate head coach Ron Smare and volunteer assistant coach Dan Benton selected junior striker Colby Moore for the Coaches’ Award. Moore paced the entire conference with a career-high eight assists, and collected 10 points with a single goal in a 3-3 draw at first-time league champion Denver on October 31. The Bellarmine College Prep product from Los Gatos, Calif., started all 17 games he played in.
Brand, Wenyon, fifth-year Spartan Richard Mann, fourth-year member Hiroki Akiyama, Sam Shore and Lewis Sweeney made up the six-player senior class this year for San Jose State.
The Spartans ended the season unbeaten in their last six matches, including four straight wins, to finish with an above-.500 overall record for a second year in a row, at 9-5-4, and an above-.500 MPSF mark (5-4-1) for the first time since 2005.
2008 San Jose State Men’s Soccer Team Awards
Top Newcomer: Josh Boemecke, So., MF
Defensive MVP: Gavin Wenyon, Sr., D
Offensive MVP: Nick Cukar, Jr., MF
Most Valuable Player: Ed Brand, Sr., D
Coaches’ Award: Colby Moore, Jr., F