American University men's soccer coaches (Todd West, Kris Hazard, Ben Mortimer, and Nick Stames) had their heads shaved Wednesday, September 24th, in solidarity with Shawn Kuykendall '05 who was diagnosed with thymic cancer earlier this summer. Shawn was the 2004 Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year and was an AU assistant coach from 2011-2013.
"Yesterday turned out to be quite a special and emotional day for the men's soccer staff, team, Shawn and, me personally. The way that Shawn has taken up his fight with cancer and remained so positive throughout, has been and continues to be an inspiration to me and the American Soccer program," said West. "Watching the entire AU soccer staff come together in support of Shawn was very emotional for me and for Shawn. I am grateful to everyone that came out in support and ask everyone in our soccer community to come out Saturday at 1 p.m., to support Shawn and the American men's soccer program."
Kuykendall and the entire AU men's soccer team, as well as the administrative staff, watched as the AU coaching staff visited Hair City on AU's campus just before the start of their practice at 2:30 p.m.
"That was awesome today. It meant so much," said Kuykendall. "Truthfully I'm a bit fatigued of the chemotherapy process. The fifth one is weight on me. Today was a huge boost for tomorrow and the following days. Love you guys. I want to thank the coaching staff for doing this. I love them like my family."
Shawn Kuykendall's Full Bio:
The 2012 season was Shawn Kuykendall's third and final season on Head Coach Todd West's staff. In 2010, he joined the Eagles as a volunteer assistant, and in March 2011, he was promoted to an assistant coach.
In his three seasons on the coaching staff, the Eagles have reached three straight Patriot League Championship Games, posting an 13-4-4 conference record. AU captured the 2011 and 2012 Patriot League regular season titles.
A four-year star on AU's soccer squad from 2001-04, Kuykendall's 2005 graduating class is the only one in program history to earn three NCAA Tournament berths. After graduating from American, Kuykendall was selected in MLS Supplemental Draft in the fourth round (48th overall pick) by D.C. United. In 2006, he was traded to the New York Red Bulls.
Kuykendall's mark can be seen throughout the AU men's soccer record books, as he finished his career tied for second all-time in assists (29), fifth in points (75) and seventh in goals (23). He has two of the top five highest single-season assist outputs in American history, as he dished out 11 in 2002 (tied for second-most) and 10 in 2004 (fifth-highest).
As a senior in 2004, Kuykendall was named the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year, the only Eagle to ever earn that distinction. He was a three-time All-South Atlantic Region pick and an All-Patriot League selection in both 2002 and 2004. Kuykendall also earned PL Academic Honor Roll honors in 2003.
Prior to his days at American, Kuykendall was a member of the Braddock Road Warhawks. His squad won six state championships and captured the national title in 1999. He was also a member of the Under-16 national team while in high school.
Shawn is the son of Kurt Kuykendall, an AU alumnus in 1974 and former member of the men's soccer team. In 1973, Kurt was named an All-America selection, one of four American men's soccer student-athletes to earn All-America status in the program's rich history. He was inducted into American University's Stafford H. "Pop" Cassell Hall of Fame in 1996. Additionally, Shawn's brothers, Kristofer and Jason, both played collegiate soccer at American.
Update on AU Men's Soccer:
The Eagles have made four-straight Patriot League Championship games, were the preseason conference favorites and boast the reigning Patriot League Defensive & Goalkeeper of the Year (Senior co-captains Cristobal Soto & Billy Knutsen). Soto is also a MAC Hermann Trophy Finalist (one of top-30 returnees in college soccer) and was the preseason Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year. In addition, AU's offense is led by 2012 Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Colin Seigfeid, who was also a First-Team All-Patriot League selection last year, leading the conference with 17 points (five goals, seven assists). Seigfreid has also been honored as a Senior CLASS Award finalist.
Though American boasts an experienced team in 2013, (Seniors: Soto, Knutsen, Seigfreid, Patrick Mehlert, Chris Kuramoto, junior defenders Conor Osborne, Jordan Manley, Jake Weinreb, and midfielders Stephen Hauschild and Mark Plaisance, sophomores Charlie Hunter and Ed Gonzalez) youth is also on the side of the Eagles.
AU has started five freshmen in a game earlier this season (the "Fit 5"). Rookie Dale Ludwig leads American in points and ranks third in the Patriot League (two goals, five assists). Ludwig is joined in the recent starting lineup by fellow first-year student-athletes M Chris Fanet and D Jake Garcia, and rotationally by forwards Joe Iraola and Michael Cherry.
The Eagles open Patriot League play in their next match, hosting Lehigh on Saturday, September 28 at 1 p.m.