Cleveland, Ohio – Sergio Manesio of the Cleveland State University men's soccer team was selected as one of 10 national finalists for the Senior CLASS Award in an announcement by Premier Sports Management Wednesday afternoon.
From all initial nominations, 30 men's soccer student-athletes were chosen for having notable achievements in four areas of excellence—community, classroom, character and competition. A selection committee then pared down those 30 semifinalists to the 10 finalists released Wednesday.
A ballot containing the 10 finalists will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one candidate who best exemplifies combined excellence in each of the categories. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately, and fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website through November 21. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches' votes to determine the winner, as the fan voting accounts for 1/3 of the voting process.
The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2016 NCAA Men's and Women's College Cup championships in December.
Manesio is the only Horizon League student-athlete to advance to this stage of the award process.
While Manesio's on-field contributions are impressive, he has put up noteworthy numbers away from the pitch as well.
Manesio has demonstrated an ability to excel in the classroom as he owns a 3.66 grade point average while majoring in finance. A five-time Dean's List honoree, Manesio was named the Horizon League Men's Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year after the 2015 season. He has also been named to the Horizon League Fall Academic All-League Team in each of the past two years. Manesio was partially drawn to the finance field to have the ability to use his degree to help others become more financially stable.
Manesio is wearing the captain's armband for the Vikings again in the 2016 season. He leads and helps organize the team from his central defense position, and he has also been willing to sacrifice his individual statistics for the betterment of the team.
Manesio has shown a willingness to get involved with the communities which he is a part of, both in Cleveland and his home country of England. Manesio and his teammates have volunteered at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, where they helped package bags and meals. He has also helped teach and coach soccer to children of various age groups, working with youth from the Mayfield Soccer Club and helping high school and middle school age groups during the summers in his hometown of London. Through the club team he competed on in England, Manesio would also take part in trips to local schools to help with reading exercises. Manesio also earned an Arthur Ashe Jr. Sport Scholar award earlier this year. In addition to a student-athlete's on field-performance, the award also factors in the individual's commitment to service and student leadership.
Manesio made an immediate impact upon arriving to the Cleveland State program and, in three years, he had developed into the top defender in the Horizon League. Manesio was named Horizon League Defender of the Year and All-League First Team for the 2015 season. After CSU allowed 11 goals in its first three games a year ago, Manesio was moved from a forward role into center defense with the hope of stabilizing that area of the field. He made sure the moved worked perfectly, as Cleveland State allowed only 12 goals in its final 16 games last season with the Vikings posting six shutouts in their final eight games, all of which Manesio started. Manesio would also earn All-Ohio accolades after the 2015 campaign. Manesio earned his first All-League honor in the 2014 season and had collected Horizon League All-Freshman honors in 2013. Thus far in the 2016 campaign, Manesio has helped Cleveland State to a League-leading 0.90 goals against average, the program's second-best mark in the past 15 years. To date in his career, Manesio has started all 68 games in which he has appeared and ranks among the top 10 at CSU in all-time starts. He owns 16 career goals and three assists despite seeing significant time in the defensive third of the field in his career.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. Sportscaster Dick Enberg first conceived of the idea of an award for seniors in 2001. The award was initially awarded in men's and women's basketball but has since expanded to numerous other NCAA sports, including men's and women's soccer in 2007.
Cleveland State resumes action Friday, Nov. 4, as it contests a Horizon League match at Milwaukee.