For the second consecutive week, the Northern Illinois men’s soccer team has had a student-athlete named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week as senior defender Francis Otira was named to this week’s team.
Last week, senior Pat Sloan was recognized as a member of the College Soccer News National Team of the Week. NIU is one of just three schools, along with Akron and Indiana, to have multiple players named to the National Team of the Week through the first three weeks of the season.
“There was no question that Francis was the MVP this past weekend,” NIU head coach Eric Luzzi said.
“He’s the best player, at that position, that I have ever coached. He leads our entire team from the back with his energy, communication and organization. When he has a good day we can compete with any team in the country because what he is able to do takes pressure off of other guys, it allows them the freedom to do more things in the attack.”
Otira won Most Valuable Player honors at the NIU/adidas Invitational this past weekend after helping the Huskies win the tournament with a 1-0 victory over Valparaiso on Friday and a 4-0 win over Portland on Sunday.
He played the full 90 minutes in both games, helping to anchor a defense that has now gone 344 minutes since last conceding a goal. The last goal scored against NIU came in the 16th minute at Oakland on Sept. 2.
This is the second time in his career that Otira has been named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week.
The London, England native also earned the accolade on Sept. 20, 2010, after earning MVP honors at the Northwestern Lakeside Classic. It is also the second consecutive week that Otira has earned all-tournament team honors. He was one of four Huskies to earn all-tournament recognition last week at the Michigan Invitational.
Otira and the Huskies will return to action in Evanston at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, when they begin play in this season’s Northwestern Lakeside Classic against Xavier.
For more information on NIU men’s soccer and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.