The Eastern Mennonite University women's soccer team earned a Silver Team Ethics and Sportsmanship Award from United Soccer Coaches.
The Team Ethics and Sportsmanship Award recognizes teams that exhibit fair play, sporting behavior and adherence to the laws of the game, reflected by the number of yellow or red cards they receive. The Royals were given just three yellow cards over the course of their 18-game season. That 16.7% card percentage (total cards divided by total games) qualified them for the Silver Award.
This is the third straight year the Royals have been recognized by the coaches association (formerly the National Soccer Coaches Association of America), earning the Gold Award last year after a Silver in 2015.
Coach Ted Erickson said the style and expectations of the EMU women's soccer program feed into such awards.
"We expect our student-athletes to play physical within the rules of the game, play fast, and play smart," he explained. "Since all of these young women are academically driven in the classroom, they understand the expectations that we place on them in practice and then in turn transition that into our game play. This past season we improved in several statistical categories, including our conference record, and that is largely because of the team's characteristics that earn this type of award. These young women stayed composed, played within the rules, and continued to push the program forward. Our graduating seniors have set a tone over the past four years and I know our returning players will continue this path of success."
The award was open to all levels of collegiate soccer, both four-year and two-year institutions. The Royals were one of only two teams from the Old Dominion Athletic Conference recognized among the 76 total in the top three tiers of awards, joined by Hollins University.
Eastern Mennonite finished the 2017 season with a record of 7-9-2, including 5-5 in the ODAC. It was the first time since 2010 that the women finished at .500 in league play.