Vieira Earns NJCAA Academic Award

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 30, 2014) – Sophomore Sebastian Vieira (Whitby, Ontario) has garnered an Exemplary Academic Achievement award from the NJCAA, becoming the 18th member of the Lakeland Community College men's soccer program to receive an academic distinction. 

Formerly classified as Academic All-Americans, the NJCAA renamed the academic award program to recognize student-athletes' achievements in the classroom at three different levels.  The three awards and their respective cumulative GPA requirements are listed below:

NJCAA Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence (4.00 GPA)
NJCAA Award for Superior Academic Achievement (3.80 – 3.99 GPA)
NJCAA Award for Exemplary Academic Achievement (3.60 – 3.79 GPA)

In order to be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must have completed three full-time semesters and a minimum of 45 semester credit hours.

In addition to his accolades off the field, where he was a Dean's List student and graduated from Lakeland in just three semesters, Vieira was a First Team All-Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC) selection as a midfielder.  He also garnered All-Region XII honors from the NJCAA.

For a complete list of the 2013-14 academic award winners, click here

Where Are They Now? Michael Maiorano

CHICAGO, Ill. (June 5, 2014) – Michael Maiorano is still very much attached to the game of soccer.  After all, it was soccer that initially brought him from his hometown of Whitby, Ontario to Kirtland, Ohio to attend Lakeland.  That decision was a fairly straight forward one for Maiorano, whose older brother Aldo was a two-year starter for the Lakers from 2008-2010.  Younger brother followed in the footsteps of older brother and made the five hour journey to northeast Ohio to begin his collegiate soccer career in the fall of 2011.  He gained valuable experience as a two-year starter for the Lakers and recommends that any incoming freshmen take advantage of the opportunity from the onset.  "Don't waste any time coming in (as a freshman).  After your first year start looking at schools.  Don't wait until after your sophomore season because that's too late.  Come in and try to compete for a starting spot right away."

Maiorano made good on his own advice and decided to attend Holy Cross College.  Located next to the University of Notre Dame, Holy Cross College is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and competes in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC).  Maiorano, along with classmate Ryongmyeong Cho, were sold on the upstart program and the vision of head coach Omar Gallo.  "I chose Holy Cross because the coach had a real focus on school and having something to fall back on." said Maiorano.  "But he also said there is a future in soccer if you want after you are done with college."  The duo joined the Saints on the heels of the most promising season is program history, which included the team's first-ever appearance in the CCAC playoffs.

Despite a new location, new teammates, new system, and new school, Maiorano says he was prepared for the competition at the four-year level because of his experience at Lakeland.  "At Lakeland, our conference was extremely tough.  Transferring here was no different.  We play in one of the toughest conferences in the country where only two teams get to go to nationals." 

His junior season was a tremendously successful one by any standard.  Maiorano played in all 21 games and made 13 starts.  Holy Cross finished the year 14-7 overall (7-4 CCAC), setting the program record for wins in a season.  The junior midfielder scored 40 seconds into the CCAC semifinal game against the No. 1 seed Cardinal Stritch, helping the Saints upset the Wolves 4-2 and advance to the conference championship game. 

The Saints would ultimately fall in the title game to Olivet Nazarene University, finishing the season one win shy of the making the program's first NAIA National Tournament appearance.  But Maiorano has lofty goals for himself and the team as he prepares for his senior season.  "As an individual, my goal is to start every game and contribute to the team," he said.  "As a team we are hoping to go to nationals for the first time in school history.  I think we are very capable of doing that next year.  We were so close to making nationals and we have a good group of players coming in and only lost four seniors."

For most college kids the summer months are spent at home with family or on vacation.  Maiorano, on the other hand, will spend his offseason with the Chicago Inferno of the Premier Development League (PDL) along with two teammates.  The top-level men's amateur soccer competition in the United States, the PDL features 48 teams within four conferences located throughout the United States.  

"Chicago interested me the most because it was the closest to where I go to school," he said.  He went for a tryout in April and received a call back shortly thereafter with an offer to join the team.  Maiorano even paved the way for his older brother to join the team as well. "After I made the team, the coach mentioned a need for a center back and I thought my brother would be a great fit.  He came down for a tryout at the end of April and signed shortly after."

Chicago's season runs from the beginning of May until the end of July depending on how far the team advances in the playoffs.  For Maiorano, that leaves very little downtime before returning to Holy Cross on August 5.  He hopes to return home for a week or two before transitioning back to Indiana for his final collegiate season. 

When his career wraps up at Holy Cross, Maiorano will set his sights on the future.  "Ideally, I would love to sign a professional contact," he says.  "It is every kid's dream to make the pros."  Scheduled to graduate in May 2015, Maiorano continues to work towards achieving the lofty individual and team goals he has set. 

When he's not competing for the Inferno this summer he will have a close eye on the World Cup.  There is certainly no mistaking where his allegiance lies.  "I'm pulling for Italy. I'm Italian and my parents are from Italy so I want them to win and I think they are going to win," he says.  What does the Italian from Canada think of the United States' chances?  "They will be lucky to get out of that group."  

Former Student-Athletes: Where are they now?