A pair of Fire Academy products are among 15 semifinalists for the men's 2017 MAC Hermann Trophy, given annually to the nation's top collegiate soccer player, as announced on Tuesday morning.
Indiana senior defender Grant Lillard and North Carolina sophomore midfielder Cam Lindley came through the Chicago Fire Academy and Indiana Fire Academy, respectively, and have since gone on to have collegiate careers worthy of national praise. Per MLSsoccer.com, the tandem -- whose teams would go head-to-head in the NCAA College Cup semifinals should they advance this week -- represent two of only four MLS Academy products to be shortlisted for college soccer's top individual honor.
Lillard was a First-Team All-Big Ten selection as well as being named the the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2017, and has helped lead the Hoosiers to an undefeated 17-0-5 record ahead of their 2017 NCAA Men's Soccer Championship quarterfinal matchup against Michigan State on Friday, Dec. 1. Lillard has scored and assisted twice across 22 appearances this season, and is part of a defensive unit that has allowed just five goals across Indiana's entire 2017 campaign.
Lindley, a First-Team All-ACC pick and the ACC Midfielder of the Year, leads the Tar Heels with 12 assists on the season -- the second-highest total in the conference. His UNC side are 16-3-1 in 2017 and are looking to book their ticket to the 2017 College Cup with a win over Fordham in the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship quarterfinals on Saturday, Dec. 2. Lindley has additionally chipped in seven goals this season as part of a Tar Heel attack that has outscored opponents 51-17 on the year.
The list of men's semifinalists will be narrowed to three on Dec. 8 in conjunction with the Men's College Cup semifinals in Philadelphia, Pa. The winner will then be announced at the 2017 MAC Hermann Trophy banquet on Jan. 5, 2018.
For more information about the history of the MAC Hermann Trophy, visit MACHermannTrophy.org.