Aug. 10, 2004
Tallahassee, FL –
Florida State soccer has not even begun to practice yet for the 2004 season but that hasn’t stopped the program from setting records already. Yesterday the team was picked second in the preseason ACC Coaches’ Poll, the highest ranking ever for the school. Just 24 hours later the Seminoles received another first when consensus All-American Leah Gallegos was named to the MAC Hermann Trophy watch list. The award is the Heisman Trophy of soccer and Gallegos is the first Seminole to ever be named to the prestigious list.
“This is an amazing honor but it is important to remember that the list is based on what I did last year,” said Gallegos. “It is such an impressive group of athletes and to be among them is a little surreal but it doesn’t mean anything if I don’t come out and continue to build upon what I did and what we did as a team in 2003.”
A consensus All-American in 2003, Gallegos is the first Seminole player in school history to garner first team All-American honors (Soccer Buzz). She was named FSU’s first CSTV All-American (2nd Team) and first Soccer Times All-American (2nd Team) as well. Gallegos was also the first Florida State player that ever received an All-American honor from the NCSAA (3rd Team) and the first Seminole to ever be named first team all-region by the coaches association. Gallegos also earned first team all-region honors from Soccer Buzz and last year she became just the third Seminole in school history to be named All-ACC first team.
Gallegos had a record-breaking season in 2003 as she led Florida State to its first College Cup. The Los Angeles native established new marks for goals (18), game-winning goals (7), multi-goal games in a season (5), shots (109) and shots on goal (60). Her 39 points were the second-most ever recorded by a Seminole player in a single season and 40% of Gallegos’ 25 career goals have been game-winners. Last year she tied an FSU record with four goals in a game and eight points in a contest versus FAU. Gallegos produced throughout the season as she recorded points in 12 of FSU’s 26 games and six of the games came against NCAA Tournament teams. In just two years at FSU Gallegos has scored more goals in her first two seasons than any player in FSU history and of the players who have more than one year at FSU, no player has averaged more points per game than Gallegos (1.25/game). Entering her third season, Gallegos is already second all-time in career game-winning goals (10) and is tied for first in career multi-goal games (6). She is also second all-time for shots, third all-time for goals and fourth all-time for points
“I think it is a great honor for Leah and she has worked extremely hard,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “She had arguably one of the best individual seasons in helping to lead her team to the final four. Coming back as a junior you hope people would look at what she was able to accomplish not only in the regular season but also in the postseason that allowed us to get to the College Cup. I think she was playing as well as anyone at the end of the season and it is great to see other people noticed that by putting her on a list with only the best players in the country.”
Gallegos is one of 13 underclassmen on the 25-player watch list. She is also one of six ACC players to be singled out by the MAC Hermann Committee. The ACC has more players on the watch list than any conference in America.
“It isn’t surprising that six ACC players are on the watch list,” said Baker. “It is the best conference with the toughest teams and the best players. With North Carolina you have the triple threat with three of the best attacking players not only in college but on the international level as well. From Virginia Becky Sauerbrunn is on the list and one of the most complete defenders in the nation and Kelly Hammond is also a terrific talent in our conference. We feel like Leah can be mentioned in the same breath with those players. Outside of Lindsay Tarpley, there was no better forward in our conference than Leah. Tarpley has set the bar and Leah isn’t that far behind.”
According to the National Soccer Coaches Association release, the 25 players on the MAC Hermann Trophy watch list are considered to be among the top players entering the 2004 college season and are the ones to watch for outstanding play this fall. A list of 15 semifinalists will be announced in November, with three finalists selected in early December. The winner will be announced at a dinner at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis, Mo., on Jan. 8, 2005.