Sophomore Vanessa DiBernardo has received 23 individual awards as a result of her 2011 success, including NSCAA All-America honors.
Jan. 11, 2012
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois soccer sophomore midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo earned Soccer News Net Player of the Year laurels, the first Illini to receive the honor in the award's five-year history. DiBernardo was named Chicagoland Soccer News Player of the Year on Wednesday, Jan. 4, earning a spot among the finalists for player of the year in the process.
DiBernardo's 2011 output was one of the most productive campaigns in program history as the sophomore posted 17 goals and 39 points - both the second-most ever recorded by an Illini during a single season. DiBernardo provided goals when the Orange and Blue needed them most as well, tying for third-best across the nation with eight game-winners. As a result of the on-field success, DiBernardo earned All-America honors from the NSCAA as well as Big Ten Midfielder of the Year and First-Team All-Big Ten.
DiBernardo was chosen through polling of fans online as well as voting conducted among the staff members of the six Soccer News Net regional websites. The Naperville, Ill., native joins USC's Amy Rodriguez (2007), North Carolina's Casey Nogueira (2008), Stanford's Kelley O'Hara (2009) and Notre Dame's Melissa Henderson (2010) as a recipient of the year-end honor. DiBernardo was chosen to receive the award over five additional finalists, including Penn State's Maya Hayes, Long Island's Ariana Calderon, Boston College's Jessica Luscinski, UCLA's Sydney Leroux, and Henderson.
One day prior to earning Chicagoland Soccer News Player of the Year, DiBernardo was called upon by the U.S. U-20 National Team to join a two-week training camp in Chula Vista, Calif. The team is beginning preparations for the U-20 World Cup, including the upcoming CONCACAF qualification tournament, and DiBernardo is one of only 30 student-athletes from across the nation asked to participate.