Frequent contributor Jon Marthaler has written about virtually every sport in the Twin Cities, and fills in on Saturdays for the RandBall blog on StarTribune.com. He'll cover the professional soccer scene in the Twin Cities, whether at the Metrodome or at the National Sports Center.
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Florida State defender - and Woodbury native - Kassey Kallman is in the running for college soccer's highest award, the Hermann Trophy. The senior was named one of 15 semifinalists for the award last week, which will be given out at the Missouri Athletic Club's banquet in January.
The three finalists for the Hermann Trophy will be decided through a weighted vote that includes both voting by coaches and an online fan vote. (You can go here to cast your vote, should you wish to make your voice heard in the voting.)
Kallman and her FSU teammates came within a whisker of adding a national championship to their trophy case, as well. They beat Virginia Tech 3-2 in Friday's semifinals, but lost 1-0 in overtime against UCLA in Sunday's championship, a heartbreaking end to what was arguably the best season in school history.
For more on Kassey - and the rest of the Kallman soccer dynasty - the NCAA website had a good story on the family. According to that article, Kassey plans to enter the Women's Premier Soccer League draft; she could be following her brothers Brian and Brent into the pro soccer ranks.
In other local soccer news, NBC Sports ran a good online article about Maple Grove native Cody Cropper, who is perhaps the next great American goalkeeper. The 20-year-old is currently toiling at Southampton in the English Premier League, and hoping to become the latest in a long line of USA keepers who have made their mark in England, following greats like Brad Friedel, Kasey Keller, and Tim Howard.
It turned out the article was timed pretty well. Last week, Cropper made it into the match-day squad for Southampton for the first time ever, serving as the backup keeper on both Wednesday and Saturday. The Saints are down to their third choice in net at the moment, with two veterans out injured in front of him.
The article also mentions that Cropper commiserated with his interviewer about the Vikings' and Wild's struggles, and if that doesn't make him officially "One of Us," nothing will.
(My thanks to local soccer expert Brian Quarstad for sending over the above links, and keeping us all informed on the Minnesota soccer scene.)
Goalkeeper Cody Cropper has earned his first-ever call-up to the full national team, and is part of a 23-man squad for Wednesday's friendly with Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sarajevo. The 20-year-old Maple Grove native has long been a part of the Under-17 and Under-20 national teams, including a trip to the Under-20 World Cup this summer in which he started all three games, and he's impressed sufficiently to now be part of the senior men's national team.
Keepers Tim Howard and Brad Guzan, who have shared national team duty this year, are also in the squad, making it semi-unlikely that Cropper will see much in the way of playing time. Cropper, who plays for Southampton in England, had the advantage of being one of the few national-team keepers based in Europe, along with Howard and Guzan. Only five players in the 23-man squad are currently playing for North American clubs, most notably the Seattle Sounders duo of Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans.
Also making his debut in an American squad is Icelandic striker Aron Jóhannsson, who was born in Mobile, Alabama but had played for Iceland at various youth levels. Two weeks ago, the 22-year-old announced his intention to play for the USA rather than the country where he was raised, thus causing some rather hurt feelings in Iceland.
Wednesday's game will be the USA's final tuneup match before their final four 2014 World Cup qualifiers, the first of which is September 6 in Costa Rica.