March 27, 2009
INDIANAPOLIS - Northern Illinois men's soccer player Aaron Zendejas has been selected to represent the Huskies at the 2009 NCAA National Student-Athlete Development Conference, May 24-27 in Orlando, Fla.
"We are so proud to have Aaron represent our team, university and athletics department at the NCAA Student-Athlete Development Conference" head men's soccer coach Steve Simmons said. "With so many deserving student-athletes at NIU, we are extremely pleased to have our second men's soccer player in so many years attend this prestigious event."
Zendejas is one of only 233 division-I student-athletes to be selected, and will travel to the Walt Disney World Coronado Spring Resort for the conference.
Zendejas, a junior corporate communication major with a 3.449 cumulative grade point average, earned a place at the conference after an essay he wrote impressed the selection committee.
"I had to write an essay about applications of leadership, not just in athletics, but in life in general," Zendejas said. "I broadened it, because I think leadership is important in everything you do. I wrote about key qualities leaders have that are important in different settings."
Zendejas' essay included what he considers to be the marks of a true leader.
"You've got to be bold, you've got to be humble, and you've got to be willing to serve before you can lead.," he said. "You have to build allegiances, because there's no point in leading if you don't have a following."
The selection of Zendejas marks the second straight year a member of the Northern Illinois men's soccer team has gotten the nod for the conference, as Kyle Knotek made the trip last year.
Zendejas and Knotek will be two members of the 2009 Huskie soccer senior class, a position Zendejas does not take lightly.
"It's important to use any leadership position you have," he said. "Being an athlete, you're held to a different standard. And you can use that for bad, or you can use it as a platform to be a good role model for people."
Huskie track and field team member Rachel Pinson will serve as the NIU alternate if Zendejas is unable to make the trip.