Freshman De Sousa Named 1st-Team NSCAA All-American
Freshman Fabio De Sousa of the Rutgers University-Newark men's soccer team was named a first-team National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-American, it was announced Friday morning.
De Sousa is the second NSCAA All-American in the history of Rutgers-Newark men's soccer (Raphael Araujo, 2014), and he is the first-ever Scarlet Raider to receive a first-team All-American nod.
"I am extremely happy for Fabio," said Head Men's Soccer Coach Kevin East. "He had a great season and I am glad to see that he was acknowledged for all of his efforts. Being named All-American is a special honor in college, and to be named a first-team All-American as a freshman is extraordinary. He is also the only freshman to be recognized on the first team which adds to his quality."
A freshman from Long Branch, N.J., De Sousa led Rutgers-Newark to a spectacular 2016 season in which the team reached the 'Elite Eight' of the NCAA Tournament and compiled an overall record of 21-4-0. The Scarlet Raiders earned the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) regular-season title via an 8-1-0 league ledger, setting a new program wins record and playing deeper in the national tournament than ever before.
De Sousa was the 2016 NJAC Rookie of the Year and a first-team all-conference performer, pocketing weekly honors from the league on four different occasions. He was one of four Scarlet Raiders to earn NSCAA All-South Atlantic honors (Dylan Elias, Arek Szoldrowski and Breno Lustosa) and one of seven players to be named All-NJAC (Szoldrowski, Elias, Andres Medina, Lustosa, Carlos Castro, Isaiah Kuris).
An electric scorer and playmaker, De Sousa scored 14 goals and handed out eight assists for a total of 36 points. A superb eight of his goals went down as game-winners, four of which came against league opponents. He appeared in 24 matches overall, making 18 starts and putting 43 of his 91 shot attempts on target.
De Sousa scored goals in his first two games of the season and tallied in 11 different contests overall. He was credited with the game-winner against then nationally-ranked No. 3 Rowan University on October 15, also pocketing the difference-maker against NJAC foes Kean University, Stockton University and William Paterson University.
The only freshman to earn first-team All-America accolades, De Sousa had three matches in which he scored multiple goals and a staggering six contests where he had three or more points. In terms of conference stat ranks, he led the NJAC in game-winning goals, was second in both goals and points and fourth in total assists. Nationally, De Sousa sits second in the country in game-winners, 31st in total points and 40th in total goals with three matches left to be played.
De Sousa was one of just two NJAC student-athletes to achieve first-team All-America distinction (Shane Doherty, Rowan) and one of just 16 Division III men's soccer players to be named to the first team.
"Fabio was beat up for a good part of the second half of our season, but he always found a way to fight through and help the team," added East. "Throughout the year he always had a 'team first' attitude which I think speaks volumes towards his maturity level as a player and a person. He hasn't peaked by any means, and I am looking forward to watching his continued growth both on and off the field."
Just 92 Division III players – men's and women's – were honored by the NSCAA across the nation. Rutgers-Newark matched up with several other All-Americans throughout the 2016 season in addition to Rowan's Doherty. Senior Anthony Passiatore of SUNY Oneonta and sophomore Gilbert Waso of Elizabethtown College both were on the first team with De Sousa, and sophomore Will Sjaastad of Rowan was on the second team. Senior Josh Ocel of Brandeis University and senior Lucas Terci of Montclair State University were third-teamers.
Scarlet Raider men's soccer fans should continue to check www.rutgersnewarkathletics.com for more postseason honors and rankings over the next several weeks. Fans should also follow @ScarletRaiders and @RUN_Soc on twitter for the latest.