Luis Mendoza Named Men's Soccer All-MAAC First Team Honoree
Wednesday Novermber 8th, 2017
Christopher Lawlor, Correspondent, NorthJersey.com
Call Luis Mendoza Jr. the ultimate student-athlete. Hey, if the tagline fits, why not?
Following a memorable four-year career for the Iona men’s soccer team, the DePaul Catholic alumnus (Class of 2014) pulled off the rare double, with accolades on the field and in the classroom from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).
Mendoza was a one of 84 student-athletes from the conference named to the All-Academic team for his scholarly side. Just to balance things out, he was tabbed first-team All-MAAC for his exceptional play on the pitch.
First, the academics for the Wayne resident, who majors in international business. Mendoza, who earned all-state and county honors as a senior for the Spartans and helped the program bag the Passaic County tournament championship in 2011 and move the it to unparalleled success under Hall of Fame coach Steve Beneventine, maintained at least a cumulative 3.2 GPA and was one of seven players from Iona to achieve it. Mendoza will graduate with a bachelor of science degree in May.
Mendoza also landed on the 13-man first team, and the lone member of the Gaels to earn postseasons honors from the first, second and rookie teams.
The Gaels (5-7-4 overall, 4-4-2 MAAC) ended their season Nov. 5 in a 1-0 setback to Canisius in the MAAC tournament first round at Buffalo, N.Y.
Mendoza is expected to chase a pro career overseas. Trials in Argentina and Italy are pending as is Major League Soccer, which will conduct combines to identify players for the 2018 MLS SuperDraft to be held in Philadelphia during the United Soccer Coaches convention from Jan. 17-21.
Last year goalkeeper Eric Klenofsky, a teammate of Mendoza at DePaul and on the club level while at TSF Academy, was selected by D.C. United in the second round.
Mendoza, the creative midfielder and captain, recorded 13 shots on target and four assists but the Gaels were hard-up for scoring with only 15 goals. He started every match, rarely leaving the pitch, and accrued a team-high 1,554 minutes this season. Mendoza, known as a free-kick specialist with inch-perfect accuracy, plied his craft in a 1-0 win over nationally ranked Connecticut, delivering a feed that resulted in the game-winner in overtime. He also added a helper when the Gaels stopped Niagara, 3-0.
Mendoza, who previously was a pool player in the Venezuelan national youth team, planted the seeds for a stellar senior campaign last summer with TSF FC. That's a local team from the ultra competitive National Professional Soccer League, which is a semi-pro fourth division sanctioned league stocked mostly with area college players looking to kick-start their collegiate seasons, that begin in late August.
TSF FC, which is coached by Luis Mendoza Sr., had a solid run advancing to the conference final before bowing out to Elm City Express of Connecticut, 2-0. The Express went on to win the NPSL national championship. The younger Mendoza acted as the set-up man for TSF, which concluded its inaugural season 8-4-2 with a 1-1 postseason mark.
“Luis is weighing his options and has chances to play professionally and earn his college degree,” Luis Mendoza Sr. said.