Sugihara named NJCAA Division I Men’s Soccer All-American
2013 ACCAC Player of the Year becomes first PC Men’s Soccer player to earn honor in 18 years
Phoenix, Arizona – December 6, 2013 -- Phoenix College is proud to announce that PC Men’s Soccer player Ryo Sugihara (REE-oh SOO-ghee-HAH-ruh) has been named as an NJCAA 1st Team All-American. Sugihara is the first Bears’ Men’s Soccer player to earn a spot on the NJCAA All-American squad since his current head coach, Bears’ Men’s Head Soccer David Cameron, took home the honor for the second straight year in 1995. Sugihara is also one of only three representatives of the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference to make the All-American list this year. The announcement comes just over a month after Sugihara led the Bears to host the Region I Championship Game for the first time in PC Men’s Soccer history.
When Sugihara was the name at the top of the list submitted by the ACCAC Men’s Soccer coaches as their main consideration for All-American status, it demonstrated how much they didn’t necessarily hold to the belief that the one with the gaudiest individual statistics should be the main focus. Was Sugihara the conference leader in goals scored? Not even close, since the sophomore midfielder scored a pair of goals in 2013, although that included a game-winning goal in mid-September at Paradise Valley. Was he the conference leader in assists? On paper, no, since his 11 assists on the season (including one game in which Sugihara recorded a ‘hat trick’ of 3 assists in early September) did lead the Bears but wound up 3rd in the ACCAC. However, the coaches all agreed that there wasn’t a single player in the conference that made more of a difference on every part of the field while he was on it than Sugihara. That’s why for the second straight season, Sugihara was named 1st Team All-Region I/All-ACCAC, and this season, the ACCAC coaches voted Ryo as the 2013 ACCAC Men’s Soccer Player of the Year.
His on-field command and awareness was amazing, and his ability to put his teammates in the perfect situation for success was something that Cameron marveled at throughout the season. It’s fitting that Sugihara’s unselfishness and awareness showed at the most important time, since the Bears’ last goal of the season-late in the 1st half of the Region I Finals November 2nd against Yavapai College-had Sugihara’s stamp on it: a beautiful assist pass for Anthony Tokpah’s team-leading 12th goal of the year. “Ryo is a tremendous athlete that prides himself on work rate. Ryo would work harder than any player I have seen in the off-season as well as during the season,” remarked Cameron. “It is fitting that he was named 1st Team All-American since our motto all year long has always been about work rate, and Ryo has work rate in all that he does, in the classroom & on the field of play.”
Sugihara now gets ready to concentrate on the fall semester finals, which will come up for him as well as the rest of the PC student contingent next week. The native of Tokyo, Japan will also be focusing on his choice to continue his four-year education. Sugihara has a good chance to be one of the Bears’ Men’s Soccer team’s 4-year signees when the NCAA’s signing period begins on February 5th.