Valparaiso University men’s soccer standout Kyle Zobeck (Coralville, Iowa/Iowa City West) has been named the male recipient of the Horizon League’s 2012-2013 Cecil N. Coleman Medal of Honor, the league office announced Thursday, June 27.
The Horizon League’s highest individual honor, the Coleman Award is presented annually to the League’s top male and female student-athletes who best exemplify the dignity and high purpose of the League and its membership. The individuals demonstrate outstanding achievement in academics, athletics and extracurricular activities. Candidates must be seniors who have exhausted their eligibility and were participants on the varsity level in a League-sponsored sport. In addition, nominees must have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.00 on a 4.00 scale, or its equivalent.
UIC's Coryn Schmit (softball) was the female recipient of this year's Coleman Medal of Honor.
“We are very proud of Kyle and his accomplishments both in the classroom and on the field,” said Valparaiso director of athletics Mark LaBarbera. “He exemplifies the Crusader championship spirit, as well as the Horizon League's values.”
Zobeck was a star on the pitch for the Crusader men's soccer program throughout his career in a Valparaiso uniform. The two-time Horizon League Goalkeeper of the Year helped Valpo to its first league regular season title as a junior in 2011, posting new Crusader single-season records for goals against average (0.66) and shutouts (11), and was named an NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region honoree that season as well.
He closed his career in 2012 with another First Team All-League campaign, posting a 0.81 GAA, and ended his time at Valpo as the program's all-time record holder for career GAA (0.91) and shutouts (23), ranking seventh in league history in both categories. Following his graduation in December, he was chosen in the MLS Supplemental Draft by FC Dallas and became the first Crusader men's soccer alumnus to sign an MLS contract.
In the classroom, Zobeck earned Valparaiso's Laurel Award, presented to the graduating student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA. He closed out his time at Valpo with a 3.970 cumulative GPA as a mechanical engineering major. A three-time Academic All-League recipient and Third Team NSCAA Scholar All-American as a junior, Zobeck was recognized by Tau Beta Pi (the national engineering honor society) as a Tau Beta Pi Laureate in the summer of 2012, one of just 83 TBP Laureates in the last 30 years.
Off the field, Zobeck served as a volunteer at numerous soccer camps, including taking the lead as goalkeeper coach for pre-teen youths at Valpo's summer camps. Zobeck also took part in a number of community service initiatives, assisting with the team's efforts to raise money for the St. Baldrick's Foundation and raise money and collect athletic equipment for They Often Cry Outreach. A two-year captain for the Crusaders, Zobeck went above and beyond with his team both on and off the field, as well as in the academic realm, running study sessions and serving as an active member of the Indiana Delta chapter of Tau Beta Pi.
“Congratulations to Kyle and his family on another award, especially one as prestigious as this latest honor,” said Crusader men's soccer head coach Mike Avery. “We always talk within our locker room about individual awards actually being team awards, and our team is very proud to have had Kyle represent us in such a positive light throughout his career.”
Zobeck becomes the second Valparaiso student-athlete to earn the league's highest distinction since Valpo joined the Horizon League, as women's soccer player Jackie Kondratko earned the award for the 2009-2010 academic year.