ACCAC Player of the Year named to 1st Team
Yuma, Arizona – December 4, 2012 – Arizona Western College is proud to announce that AWC Soccer player Erik Luzanilla (LOOZ-uh-NEE-yuh) has been named as an NJCAA 1st Team All-American. Luzanilla is the first Matador Soccer player to earn a spot on the 1st Team list since Bello Alhassan (now a Matador assistant coach) earned the honor in 2009. Luzanilla is also one of only two representatives of the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference to make the All-American list this year. The announcement comes just over a month after Luzanilla led the Matadors to their third appearance in the Region I Finals in the last four seasons.
It hasn’t just been a whirlwind season for the sophomore midfielder but also a whirlwind postseason as well, since some might have expected those players in the ACCAC with gaudier stats than Luzanilla to get ranked higher on the postseason lists than he did. Ultimately, the San Luis, Arizona native was widely regarded as the dominant player in the conference at the postseason ACCAC Coaches’ Meeting in Phoenix, which is why he wound up named as the ACCAC Player of the Year and at the top of the nomination list for All-American consideration. Luzanilla finished 4th on the Matadors with 7 goals (including the Matadors’ first goal of the season back in late August, as well as the gamewinner in the Matadors’ Region I Semifinals win-both against Chandler-Gilbert), 4th in points with 18, and tied for 6th in assists with 4. However, Luzanilla’s command of the field, ability to direct traffic and guide his teammates throughout the entire field, and efficiency with and without the ball throughout the match showed that those stats were merely additions to the argument for his nomination.
Luzanilla now gets ready to concentrate on the fall semester finals, as well as on his decision down the road on where his four-year education will land him. His head coach knows what a large void he’ll have in trying to replace Luzanilla next year, but couldn’t be happier for his team leader. “Erik Luzanilla is a great player, the captain of our team, and now a first team All-American,” philosophized AWC Head Soccer Coach Kenny Dale. “To put that in perspective, apply the following numbers: there are 547 NJCAA colleges that sponsor men's soccer. Each team averages 20 players. That's over 10,000 soccer players at this level. Out of those 10,000, Erik Luzanilla is among the top 11. This is big news. We are all very proud of Erik's accomplishment and look forward to following his career as he moves beyond Yuma to greater achievements down the road.” Luzanilla has a good chance to be one of the Matador Soccer team’s 4-year signees when the NCAA’s signing period begins in early February.