Freshman defender Nick Kirby of the Sacred Heart University men’s soccer team was named Northeast Conference (NEC) Rookie of the Week.
In the third week of action for the Pioneers, Kirby notched two points and one goal in just two appearances. After scoring his first collegiate goal against Hartford University, the New Jersey native got the starting nod from Head Coach Joe Barroso against Quinnipiac University.
“Nick is a young man with tremendous grit and work ethic,” said Barroso. “He has earned his playing time through his attitude every day in training and has performed well when given the opportunity.”
According to Sacred Heart Athletics, Kirby is the first player to earn a weekly award since earlier in 2021 when Olliver Persson earned Player and Rookie of the Week on April 13.
“I am honored and happy to win this award, but none of it could have been possible without my teammates and the coaching staff supporting me,” said Kirby. “It really does mean a lot to me because Sacred Heart took a chance on me when no other Division I program did. It really does prove how with hard work and determination you will be rewarded.”
Kirby is the first of the Pioneers to achieve a weekly conference award this season according to the NEC website.
“This will motivate me because I know that I can get so much better as a player. I am still young and have a lot to learn from the coaches and other players,” said Kirby. “While it does feel good to be recognized, this is only the start and I can’t wait to improve as an individual and as a team.”
One of Kirby’s teammates noted that he brings talent to their team.
“Nick has brought not only younger talent, but a competitive attitude. Coming to every practice and game wanting to win is something that rubs off on a lot of the players,” said junior midfielder Rob Taylor. “One of the things a successful team needs.”
Taylor was happy to hear about Kirby receiving the award.
“He’s come into the program and earned his spot on the team. He’s one of the hardest working players I’ve seen, and I’m proud to call him my teammate,” said Taylor. “I feel the award is well deserved. It shows that his hard work is recognized.”
Kirby noted that Sacred Heart was one of the only schools that offered him a position on the team.
“This program believed in me when most programs did not,” said Kirby. “Everyone here welcomed me with open arms, and it is something I do not take for granted.”
The Pioneers will travel to Kirby’s home state of New Jersey on Sept. 26, where they will face off against Fairleigh Dickinson.