Grant Neil

Hope senior Grant Neil has been recognized as one of the top men’s soccer players in NCAA Division III.

The back from Holland (West Ottawa HS) has been selected a National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/Continental Tire NCAA Division III Second Team All-American for the 2013 season.

It is the 15th time a Hope player has been honored as an All-American.

Hope coach Steven Smith said he is proud to see Neil recognized nationally.

“This is a kid who came in as a freshman never dreaming of being an All-American,” Smith said. “He did the work that it took to lead us to this point. In the process, he became a great soccer player and well recognized as that dangerous player on the field. He brought something special onto the field.”

Added Hope assistant coach Lee Schopp, “What a great honor for Grant and for our team this season. Clearly, Grant has worked very hard each season to improve his ability on the field. He worked incredibly hard this summer on the technical part of his game, yet it was probably the growth in his leadership (both with coaches and his teammates that had the biggest impact on his success and the success of our team this season. Grant is certainly worthy of this type of recognition.”

Neil was a key part of a Hope defense that yielded on average only one goal per game this season.

Neil also contributed offensively with a team-high 10 assists while chipping in two goals. Hope used Neil’s throw-in ability to set up scoring chances.

“People will remember Grant for his long throw. That’s opponents,” Smith said. “We will remember him for his team leadership and team spirit. He sees this already as a team award, not as an individual award.”

Neil helped the Flying Dutchmen match the school records for wins in a single season with a 17-5-2 mark. Hope reached the second round of the Division III Tournament and won the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) Tournament.

Earlier, Neil was chosen a First Team All-Region Player by NSCAA/Continental Tire in the Central Region and a First Team All-MIAA Selection for the 2013 season. Neil was all-region, second-team defender in 2012 as well as a First Team All-MIAA performer.