One day after being named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week, Northern Illinois senior defender Francis Otira added co-Mid-American Conference Player of the Week to his list of accolades from this past weekend.
Otira and Akron’s Scott Caldwell share Co-MAC Player of the Week honors.
Otira was named Monday to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week, one week after Huskie senior Pat Sloan was named to that team. 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 on Monday following Otira’s National Team of the Week honor.
“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.
Otira 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 and won MAC Player of the Week. The London, England native also earned both honors Sept. 20, 2010, after being named MVP 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 at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, when they begin play in this season’s Northwestern Lakeside Classic against Xavier at in Evanston.