Portions courtesy of Yale Sports Publicity
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Brown senior defender Ryan McDuff and Yale senior goalkeeper Bobby Thalman are among the 30 men's soccer student-athletes in the running for the Senior CLASS Award.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student –athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition.
McDuff has been a starter since his freshman year. He has started 60 of the 63 career games in which he has played, and has helped his team shut out 34 opponents during his career, including five in 2012. The Bears posted a program-record 11 shutouts in 2010 and then matched that total in 2011. McDuff has been a part of one Ivy League co-champion, in 2011, and three NCAA Tournaments, reaching as far as the round of 16, in both 2010 and 2011.
Off the pitch, McDuff helped found and develop a Leadership Program for the varsity captains at Brown. The group gets together to discuss and learn about the obstacles that each may face, the characteristics of a great leader and how to develop leaders around the captains. He has worked to expand the Student-Athlete Faculty Relationship Program, a program that his team uses, to the entire Athletic Department.
Among other community endeavors, McDuff volunteers at Project GOAL, an organization focused on developing Rhode Island's disadvantaged youth through after-school tutoring and soccer related programs, and he works with Team Impact, to match children facing life-threatening diseases with Brown athletic teams. McDuff has a dual concentration in Business Entrepreneurship and Organizations and Political Science.
Since 2010, Thalman has played virtually every minute of every game for the Bulldogs. He's been just as reliable in the classroom and the community as on the field, with 39 starts for his career including all six games this fall. Thalman leads the League this season with 35 saves. Last fall as a junior, he earned second-team All-Ivy recognition after leading the League in save percentage (.852) and saves (92). For his career, Thalman has posted eight shutouts, including three this season.
In the latest NCAA statistical rankings, Thalman is 11th in save percentage (0.875), 12th in saves per game (5.83), 17th in saves (35) and 45th in goals against average (0.804.
Thalman, a political science major, has volunteered with Soccer Without Borders in his native Colorado, working mainly with Somali and Burmese children, coaching them and providing education advice. In addition, he is part of the Yale Soccer outreach program, which mentors underprivileged New Haven area children. In 2009, he travelled to Peru on a community service trip to aid in the construction of schools.
The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select the winner. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the NCAA College Cup in early December in Hoover, Ala.