Fifteen players were announced Tuesday as men's semifinalists for the Missouri Athletic Club’s 47th annual Hermann Trophy, the award given to the nation's top player – and two of them starred for Wisconsin teams this fall.
University of Wisconsin defender AJ Cochran and UW-Milwaukee midfielder Laurie Bell are among the five juniors on the short list for the prestigious award.
The field, which includes last year's winner (Maryland striker Patrick Mullins) and runner-up (Georgetown forward Steve Neumann), will be trimmed to three finalists Dec. 12 and the winner will be presented the award at a banquet Jan. 10 in St. Louis.
Finalists will be determined by a weighted voting system including NCAA Division I coaches who are National Soccer Coaches Association of America members and fans, who can vote online at the MAC website from Thursday through Tuesday.
Cochran started all 21 matches for the Badgers (14-5-2), who earned their first NCAA tournament berth since 1995 and advanced to the second round before losing to Notre Dame 4-1. The 6-foot-3 center back from St. Louis anchored a backline that posted seven shutouts, and also scored three goals – two game-winners – as he became the first UW player to be named Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Bell was the Horizon League Co-Player of the Year and the league Offensive Player of the Year for the Panthers (15-3-2), who won the Horizon tournament title to claim their first NCAA bid since 2005 and lost to the Badgers 1-0 in a first-round match in Madison.
A native of Poynton, England, Bell finished the season with 13 goals and four assists in 20 games – he is tied for ninth in the nation in goals and 12th in goals per game (0.65). Last week, he was named to the first team of the Capital One Academic All-America team by the College Sports Information Directors of America.