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Daniel Maldonado named All-American

December 4, 2014

By CHRIS PRIDE – Bulletin Sports Writer

Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) sophomore men’s soccer player Daniel Maldonado made his presence known at the national level this season.

On Tuesday, Maldonado gave the junior college an accolade to go with their end-of-season national ranking. He was selected to the second team of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I All-America team.The 2008 Bassett High School graduate worked wonders attacking Region X opponents this season, helped PHCC beat conference power Spartanburg Methodist College (S.C.) for the first time and earned the conference’s player of the year award.First-year head coach Enda Crehan moved Maldonado up top as the team’s main forward this season after the sophomore was featured as a midfielder under former coach Scott Haywood’s system. The result was an astounding 19 goals and seven assists for a team-high 45 points.Crehan said he didn’t initially receive an e-mail from the NJCAA letting him know Maldonado was selected. Instead, the coach was notified through a friend at Yavapai College in Arizona, which recently hosted the men’s national soccer tournament.“In collegiate sports being an All-American is a huge honor. It’s huge not only for Daniel but also for his teammates,” Crehan said. “He was in the top 10 in goals scored in the nation, and to be an All-American as a goal scorer you have to have the ability to put the ball in the net. Anyone that saw Daniel play recognized that.”Always humble, Maldonado was quick to give Crehan and his great supporting cast of teammates credit for helping him achieve such an important accolade. Maldonado said it was a great feeling to know he was selected to be part of the best junior college soccer players in the country. What was even more gratifying, however, was the fact that other teams noticed the kind of impact the sophomore had on the Patriots’ success this fall.“It feels great because it shows that (the selection committee) recognized my efforts and hard work for the betterment of the team,” Maldonado said. “One of my goals was to be one of the top 10 forwards in the nation. I never imagined that I’d be included as an All-American.”Crehan said the majority of the players that are featured on the All-America team come from already established programs that have earned national respect. PHCC just finished up its third season as a soccer program.By winning a national player of the week award, a conference player of the year honor, and now an all-American selection, Maldonado’s accolades help boost the Patriots’ name, Crehan said.Maldonado’s natural ability to score goals and his impact on the overall success of the team were a few of the factors that helped him get chosen, the coach said. Maldonado almost always posed a threat in the attacking third of the field, forcing other teams to strategize around stopping the speedy forward.With a handful of game-winning goals this season, including the one against SMC, the sophomore did anything and everything he could to make the Patriots better.“I think I learned to be more patient. That all I needed was one chance to score and make a difference,” Maldonado said. “You don’t need 20 chances to be a good scorer. All you need is that one chance to pull the team up.”Crehan said his striker earned every bit of the honors handed to him. He mentioned that Maldonado worked hard during the offseason to increase muscle, speed and endurance knowing he would have to earn his spot on the field.Maldonado said the players’ ability to push each other helped get them stronger and more prepared in the big matches.The sophomore is looking to move on to a four-year school after the spring term. He is currently entertaining a few offers to continue his collegiate soccer career.As for the Patriots, they’re hoping a season like this last one will carry over into even more success in the fall of 2015.“It took something special to make waves,” said Crehan of his player and team earning the national recognition it did in 2014. “We were ranked nationally, among the top teams in nation in goals scored, and put ourselves in the spotlight as a team.”

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Filed under: Men's Soccer

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