Dec. 17, 2008
QUEENS, N.Y. - Junior defender Joel Gustafsson has been named a second team All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). Gustafsson was also named to the NSCAA All-Northeast Region first team. Midfielders Nelson Becerra and Tadeu Terra were named to the All-Northeast Region third team. Senior keeper Neal Kitson, meanwhile, was named a first team Soccer America MVP.
Gustafsson is the 14th St. John's player to earn All-America honors and the first since Matt Groenwald was named to the third team in 2005. The BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year and an All-BIG EAST first team selection, Gustafsson tallied a career-high three goals and also added one assist to finish the season with a career-high seven points. Gustafsson anchored a defensive unit that allowed just 13 goals in 25 games, yielding just a 0.50 goals against average.
The BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year and an All-BIG EAST first team selection, Becerra led the team in goals (8), assists (7), points (23) and game-winning goals (5). The junior also assisted on four game-winning goals, including wins against BU and UC Irvine in the NCAA Tournament. Becerra converted 3-of-3 penalty kicks on the season, all game-winners, including an overtime PK against Indiana to send St. John's to the College Cup.
Terra, an All-BIG EAST honorable mention, finished the season with three goals and three assists. Terra tallied his first career game-winning goal in a 1-0 overtime win against Providence in the BIG EAST Tournament Quarterfinals. The midfielder appeared in and started 24 games.
A 2008 College Cup All-Tournament selection, Kitson finished the season 19-3-2 and set a new school-record with 15 shutouts. The keeper finished the season ranked fifth in the nation with a 0.48 goals against average and fourth in the country with a .888 save percentage. An All-BIG EAST third team selection, Kitson recorded the second-best goals against average in St. John's history and also tied the school-record for wins by a keeper. Kitson also combined on one shutout to give St. John's a nation-leading 16 total shutouts.
Becerra and Gustafsson were also named to the College Soccer News first team All-America team.