Men's Soccer Receives Trio of Academic All-America Awards

Nov. 19, 2008

 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Seniors Tom Caldwell and Neil Zimmerman along with sophomore Christian Therkelsen were named to the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Men's Soccer First Team. The selections were the first for all three recipients and marked the second time in the Institute's history that three athletes were tabbed to the First Team, equaling the feat accomplished by the football team in 1997.

MIT became the first College Division program to place three individuals on the First Team, matching the University of New Mexico's mark established in 2005. The Engineers achieved this milestone while competing against NCAA Division II, Division III, NAIA, and junior colleges as the Lobos reached this mark within the Division I ranks. With its program-record three honors, the men's soccer team has collected 11 Academic All-America accolades and at least one nod in six out of the last seven years. MIT's institutional tally now stands at 148, maintaining its position as the leader among Division III programs.

"The accomplishments of these young men on and off the field are nothing short of astonishing," said head coach Milton Gooding. "The entire MIT community is very proud of Tom, Neil, and Christian."

Caldwell is MIT's first goalie to earn Academic All-America plaudits and he was named to the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) All-Conference Second Team. He finished first all-time in shutouts (19), second in goals against average (1.50), fourth in saves (345), fifth in fewest goals allowed (65), and ninth in save percentage (0.767). Caldwell also set the Institute standard for shutouts in a season with nine during the 2008 campaign. A three-time NEWMAC Academic All-Conference Team selection, he will graduate with a degree in Physics. Caldwell completed an internship with Voith Siemens Hydro Power Generation in research and development and he is also a member of the MIT Dark Matter Time Projection Chamber (DMTPC) research project. Caldwell's athletic exploits will continue this winter with the MIT men's gymnastics team.

Zimmerman finished his career ranking 10th all-time in assists (10) and tied for fifth in assists in a season with seven this year. He ranked third in scoring during the campaign, tallying 13 points with three goals, including two game-winning strikes. One of MIT's tri-captains and a Biological Engineering major, Zimmerman was a three-time NEWMAC Academic All-Conference Team honoree. He is a member of the Tau Beta Pi National Engineering Society, MIT Biomedical Engineering Society, and MIT Wind Ensemble. Zimmerman has served as a tutor in the Biological Engineering Department and a research assistant at the MIT Department of Chemical Engineering. He had a fellowship in the Cancer Immunobiology Center at the University of Texas Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and was the third author of a research article that was printed in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States of America (June 2008).

Therkelsen was tabbed to the NEWMAC All-Conference Team after leading MIT's attack with 16 goals and eight assists for 40 points. His performance set a new Institute standard for points in a season while ranking second in goals and tying for fourth in assists. Currently pursuing degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science along with Management, Therkelsen received his first NEWMAC Academic All-Conference Award. During the past year he was a research assistant at MIT's Intelligent Transportation Systems Lab. Therkelsen created a traffic simulation model to analyze and predict traffic congestion that is being used by the Beijing Transportation Research Center. He also developed and debugged a model of road network in Lower Westchester County, N.Y., which is being implemented by the New York State Department of Transportation to study morning traffic into New York City.

Sophomore Peter Bojo represented MIT on the Academic All-District Men's Soccer District I Team. A first-time NEWMAC Academic All-Conference Team selection, he tallied four goals, including one game-winner, and one assist for nine points this year. Majoring in Biological Engineering, Bojo currently has an internship with InVivo Therapeutics, working on a manufacturing process for spinal cord implants. He also had a stint at MIT's Langer Lab doing cell cultures, assays, and literature research primarily for an intracellular protein delivery project.

District I, comprised of NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA, and junior colleges from New England, New York, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Quebec, is the largest region in CoSIDA. Approximately 100 nominees from the area were narrowed down to 24 for the All-District Team as decided by member sports information directors. The 11 athletes voted to the First Team advanced to the national ballot with the CoSIDA national committee making the final selections.

MIT finished the 2008 campaign with a 16-4-2 ledger and its second appearance at the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Engineers registered an Institute-record 13-game unbeaten streak and a runner-up finish at the NEWMAC Championship Tournament. The Cardinal and Gray's forward tandem of Therkelsen and Zachary Kabelac combined for 68 points, individually ranking second and third, respectively in the NEWMAC. Under the direction of second-year head coach Milton Gooding, the Engineers have compiled a record of 25-9-4, including a 14-1-2 mark at home.