Junior midfielder Joe Bell was named a finalist for the Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy — awarded annually since 1967 to the most outstanding collegiate soccer player. Bell has had an outstanding season for Virginia, tallying six goals and four assists while serving as a co-captain alongside senior defender Robin Afamefuna.
The New Zealand native has always been a force for the Cavaliers, starting all 58 matches of his career, but has had a true breakout year this season. Bell’s vision as a passer has catalyzed a potent Virginia attack that has scored eight goals in its three NCAA tournament games en route to the College Cup.
Furthermore, the midfielder has also shown his high work rate on defense, often helping a solid Cavalier back-line that has allowed an NCAA-leading 0.402 goals per game.
If Bell were to win the Hermann Trophy, he would be the fifth Virginia player to win the award and the first since forward Alecko Eskandarian in 2002. Along with Eskandarian, Tony Meola (1989), former United States captain Claudio Reyna (1993) and Mike Fisher (1995 and 1996) have also won the Hermann Trophy.
Clemson junior forward Robbie Robinson and Georgetown senior defender Dylan Nealis are the other two finalists for the award. Both have similarly led their squads to strong finishes this season, as Georgetown faces Stanford in the semifinals of the College Cup Friday, and Clemson reached the ACC finals and NCAA quarterfinals.
A Hermann Trophy would be the culmination of what has been an outstanding individual season for Bell, which has seen him earn ACC Midfielder of the Year and his first full international appearance for the New Zealand National Team.
However, before the Hermann Trophy is awarded Jan. 3, Bell and the Cavaliers have a date with No. 9 Wake Forest in the semifinals of the College Cup. Kick-off in Cary, N.C., is set for 8:30 p.m. Friday, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPNU.