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Daktronics Honors Soccer Players' Academic Achievements

Three Berea College students were recognized by the KIAC and NAIA for their achievements both on and off the soccer field.

Members of the men's soccer huddle before a big game

Anthony Aros, Jonathan Hunt and Mzwandile Ginindza were all awarded the Daktronics Scholar Athlete Award for having a grade point average of 3.50 or higher.

Aros, an art major, has been playing since the third grade, and has played at Berea for 3 years. He is no stranger to awards; he was given the 2002 Sophomore of the Year award for his high school's district and was named to the All-District Team. During his junior year, he was again selected for the All-District Team, and received All-State Honorable Mention. In his senior year, he was presented with the Bruin Award, an award given to honor the best all-around player at his high school, in respect to academics, leadership and athletic performance.

"To me," said Aros, "being a scholar athlete means taking two priorities-your sport and your academics-and standing between them as a human scale, trying to keep them in balance. It's been hard sometimes, coming home late from an evening game and having to finish up a paper or do a reading that's due the next day. But, in a way it keeps me on track knowing I have these two big things I need to split my time between."

Jonathan Hunt is a Math and Computer Sciences major from Forest Grove, Ore. Hunt has been playing soccer for nearly 10 years. He started playing while living in China with parents, but did not have any experience playing on a high school team. Instead, he played with club teams in the International Friendship Football Club in Beijing, and continued to play for recreational teams for a few years after his return to the U.S. Hunt came to Berea and has been a member of the team here for three seasons.

Hunt sees his studies and his athleticism as two separate entities. "I try to study hard and learn enough to do well in my classes," he said. "I also work to improve my physical fitness and skills. I pursue these interests independently as a general rule, yet I think I would feel I was missing out on something if I were not encountering the variety of challenges presented by each of them."

Mzwandile "Muzi" Ginindza hails from Swaziland and is a senior Economics major. In addition to the Daktronics Scholar Athlete Award, Ginindza was also named to the 2006 KIAC All-Conference Team.

Ginindza started playing soccer on a team at the age of nine. His father put together a team of rural boys who played in bare feet. "It was his way of grooming us, keeping us out of trouble," said Ginindza. "Playing soccer was the most normal thing to do for an average Swazi boy." Ginindza was soon recruited by a city team that was more organized.

Traveling to the United States and playing for Berea College has pushed Ginindza in many ways. "I feel like playing here has shaped my personality more than my playing skills," he remarked. "I have learned to endure hardship, I have gotten to be more responsible and have become a better leader. There were times and games in which I felt like giving up, but somehow I knew that the coach and most of the players looked up to me, some of them found hope in me, hence I would reach out for the last element of my courage and strength and push on. It is partly for this reason I came back from injuries [two broken legs] to be a part of the team again."

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