Two former Apache soccer players have recently been selected to be inducted into the 2011 NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) soccer hall of fame. The NJCAA soccer hall of fame committee has 9 inductees this year; consisting of eight athletes and one coach.
The two former Apache soccer players to be inducted are Davide Somma and Mahlon Sullivan. Coach Sean Worley, and players Andre Luciano, Dane Richards, Roger Espinoza, Irving Garcia, Brendan Thomson, and Jesus Rodriguez will accompany them to the 2011 induction ceremony.
The NJCAA will officially honor the inductees in November at the NJCAA Division I soccer banquet in Phoenix, Arizona.
NJCAA hall of fame classes are nominated based on their athletic performance in junior college, as well as the rest of their careers. Any chairperson may nominate a player into the NJCAA hall of fame, but the committee must cast a vote and decided on which of the nominees will be inducted.
Sullivan was awarded NJCAA All-American honors while he boosted the Apaches to an 18-2-0 record, the Apaches highest ranking in school history up until that 2002 season. After TJC, Sullivan transferred to Barry University where he became the captain of the team. He later earned his degree from the Florida School of Finance.
David Somma was a striker for Tyler Junior College in 2003. During his time at TJC, Somma recorded 13 goals and 9 assists.
Somma led the TJC soccer team to many victories, including the 2003 regional championship. He now plays professionally for South Africa, and made his debut against the United States in November of 2010.
Soccer head coach Steve Clements stated that Somma was an outstanding soccer player.
“Good athlete, David could run, jump. Just a good athlete,” said Clements. “He was our leading score that year.”
Sullivan and Somma are not the only Apache players to have been inducted into the NJCAA soccer hall of fame. Other Apache hall-of-famers include former assistant coach Danny Perez (2010), assistant coach Andrew Mcleod (2010), Jesus Ledesma (2008), and current head coach Steve Clements, inducted in 2009, who won a national title for TJC his first year as head coach for the Apaches.
Athletic director Tim Drain is particularly proud of all the achievements that the soccer team has accomplished throughout the years. He states that there are many more to come, and this accomplishment has aided the recruiting for more talented players.
“One thing I have stressed to our athletic coaches is to first recruit the best players in East Texas, then best of Texas, and then the best of the international players,” said Drain, athletic director of TJC.
Clements stated that this would not be the first time this happens and that many other players will be inducted in the future.
Somma and Sullivan are not the only great talents to walk the campus of TJC; just last year we had an athlete awarded NJCAA Star Player of the Year.
As seen in the TJC athletic page, Dom Dwyer led the nation last year with 37 goals and a career 79 points total, rocketing the Apaches to capture their second straight national championship title.
For more information about the inductees to the NJCAA soccer hall of fame and schedule games for the men’s soccer team visit the Apache athletic website.