Nov. 19, 2008
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TOWSON, Md. - Junior midfielder Kyle Knotek of the Northern Illinois men's soccer team has earned a place on the 2008 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America® Second Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
"He has high spirit and energy on the field, and a high level of excellence off the field in one of the most demanding academic majors that we have," Simmons said.
Knotek (Geneva, Ill./Geneva) is the first Huskie men's soccer player to be honored since Andy Champion garnered second team accolades in 2003. Knotek is the fourth Huskie men's soccer player to ever earn the award, joining Champion, Jeff Stojak (1998, Second Team; 1999, First Team), and Sigurd Slaastad (1998, Second Team).
A business administration major, Knotek has maintained a 4.0 cumulative grade point average since arriving at Northern Illinois in 2006. The award is one of several academic honors Knotek has received in his Huskie career. The Mid-American Conference awarded Knotek with academic all-conference status in 2007, and he was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District team in late October.
"I'm very proud of him representing our program in that fashion," Simmons said. "He's helping us lead the way in the classroom and on the field."
Knotek played in all 21 matches this season, starting 20. He was a key part of the Huskie defense that recorded eight shutouts, and allowed less than a goal per match. The Huskies yielded just two goals in the last four matches of the season, including a pair of shutouts in the Mid-American Conference Tournament.
"He's played in a majority of the games from the get-go of his career," Simmons said. "He plays with a lot of energy, and he takes that same energy to the classroom."
Knotek will be the most seasoned of seven seniors on the men's soccer team next season, with 48 career starts, and 52 matches played.
Overall, Knotek is the 49th Northern Illinois student-athlete honored by CoSIDA as an Academic All-American on one of their three teams. Last year, gymnast Jody Yednock was honored as a first team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American.