Senior defender Francis Otira (London, England/Fitchley Catholic) and sophomore forward James Stevenson (Falkirk, Scotland/St. Mungo’s) were named to the All-Great Lakes Second Team while junior goalkeeper Jordan Godsey (Ocean Springs, Miss./Ocean Springs) and sophomore midfielder Karim Darbaki (Faribualt, Minn./Shattuck St. Mary’s) earned All-Great Lakes Third Team honors.
“I’m obviously pleased for Francis, James, Jordan and Karim for being recognized with NSCAA All-Region awards this year,” said NIU head coach Eric Luzzi. “Each one of them has worked very hard during their time at NIU, and each one is very deserving of such recognition. It has been an honor to coach Francis over the last four years, and I am very excited to have another year or two with Jordan, James and Karim in our program.
“We have not had an All-Region award winner since 2006. The fact that we had four selected this year, I think is a great statement for where our program is at and where he are headed. As our team continues to achieve the level of success on the field that we did this year, our expectation is that every year we are the kind of program that places multiple players on the All-Region teams.”
NIU tied with Indiana for the most players selected to the All-Great Lakes Region team.
Otira was one of three Huskies to start all 21 matches this season, anchoring the center of the NIU backline. Otira was recognized as both an All-MAC First Team honoree and a MAC All-Tournament team recipient. He also earned all-tournament honors at each of NIU’s three in-season tournaments and was named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week on Sept. 12.
Stevenson led the Huskies with six goals, including three game-winners, and 15 points in 17 matches this past season. Stevenson finished the season tied for third in the MAC in goals, helping him garner All-MAC First Team honors. Stevenson also finished sixth in the conference in points.
Godsey posted a 0.70 goals against average and a .800 save percentage, both tops in the MAC, while playing every minute of NIU’s 21 matches. Godsey also finished in the top-20 nationally in goals against average while earning All-MAC First Team and MAC All-Tournament team honors.
Darbaki appeared in all 21 matches for the Huskies, making 20 starts while recording two goals and nine points. The midfielder earned All-MAC Second Team honors while tying for seventh in the conference in assists with five.
The Huskies finished the season with a school record-tying 15 wins, advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
For more information on NIU men’s soccer and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.