Ponies dominate 2023 AAC awards

No 2 SMU, 1st in the American Athletic Conference at 7-0-1 & 21-1-2 overall, dominated the conference awards this week taking all but one of the nods.

Mads Westergren was named Defensive Player of the Year. He was the third Mustang to win American Defensive Player of the Year. (Eddie Munjoma 2019, Jordan Cano 2017.)

Bailey Sparks was named Midfielder of the Year. He was third in the conference with 5 assists.

Cole Johnson was named Goalkeeper of the Year. He led the American in save percentage (.767) & goals-against average (0.68).

Niv Berkovitz was named Rookie of the Year. He had 5 goals and 1 assist.

The SMU coaching staff earned the coveted Coaching Staff of the Year.

The coaching staff consists of Head Coach Kevin Hudson, Associate Head Coach Ben Stoddard, Assistant Coach Michael King, and Assistant Coach (Goalkeeping) Zak Downes. Hudson has an overall record of 101-39-17(.697).

The only award the Ponies didn’t land was Offensive Player of the Year which went to Memphis’ Lineker Rodrigues dos Santos led the league with 12 goals and 28 points and led the nation with seven game-winning goals.

SMU also led the league with four first-team all-conference selections, including Westergren, Sparks, Johnson, and forward Jelldrik Dallmann (Unanimous). Sophomore Alex Salvo joined Berkovitz as an all-rookie selection.

SMU Soccer 2023. (Courtesy SMU)
SMU Soccer 2023.(Courtesy SMU)

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