THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2008
Ramak Niakan Safi and Stefan Runeman earn NSCAA/adidas All-South third team honors
Senior midfielder Ramak Niakan Safi and junior defender Stefan Runeman each had a standout year for the JU men’s soccer team as the Dolphins won the Atlantic Sun Tournament and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
On Thursday, the duo added another accolade to their resume as they both earned National Soccer Coaches Association of America/adidas All-South third team honors.
Niakan Safi and Runeman each represented the Dolphins on the NSCAA honor list for the fourth consecutive year. Tommy Krizanovic earned the honor for three straight years (2004-06), while Anton Axlesson took home first team honors last season.
“This is a well-deserved honor for the both of them,” said JU head coach Mike Johnson. “They were an integral part to our success in winning the A-Sun title and advancing in the NCAA Tournament. Team success allows for some individuals to do some good things and they took advantage of it. They each earned what they received.”
In his final season, Niakan Safi led the Dolphins in goals (10), game-winning goals (6) and points (22). He had six of his 10 goals in the final six games, which earned him first team all-conference honors.
Niakan Safi added two goals in the A-Sun Championship, including the game-winning score in the 89th minute, to help the Dolphins rally from a two-goal deficit for a 4-3 win over Campbell. For his efforts, he earned Tournament MVP and College Soccer News “National Team of the Week” honors.
The Jacksonville, Fla. native, also scored the first goal in the Dolphins’ 4-3 overtime win at Louisville in the NCAA Tournament on Nov. 21.
For his career, Niakan Safi finished with 15 goals, eight assists, 16 points and nine game-winning goals in 49 matches in three seasons.
“Remmy had his strongest season since joining us,” said Johnson. “He was impressive down the stretch, which helped us get on this run. He was a spark on offense that we used and could rely on.”
Runeman finished the season third on the team in scoring with five goals and 11 points in 21 matches. He earned first team all-conference honors after helping the backline to six shutouts. The rest of the Dolphins defense was recognized as well with second team all-conference honors.
Trailing 3-2 in the NCAA Tournament to Louisville, Runeman scored the game-tying goal with less than a minute remaining to help the Dolphins force overtime against the Cardinals.
“Stefan is a main stay for us who has been underrated by others,” Johnson said. “It’s hard to be recognized as a defender, but he made himself known this year. He is an engine that drives this team and I’m happy to see him get honored for it.”
2008 MEN'S SOCCER