Best All Time SEC Soccer Player
The Southeastern Conference is exceptionally strong in a number of nationally competitive sports, and women's soccer is no exception to this rule.
While the SEC may not be the best conference in the nation when it comes to women's soccer (that honor probably goes to the Atlantic Coast Conference), it is most definitely in the top tier of conferences nationwide. And a conference that is so competitive, and has so many high level members, will likely have had a number of excellent all-time soccer players pass through. And, in the SEC, none have been better than the University of Florida's Danielle Fotopoulos.
Danielle Fotopoulos played soccer for the University of Florida for three seasons, from 1996 through 1998. Those happened to be her junior and senior seasons (she did not play in 1997 and as such played in 1998, her 5th year of eligibility). She played her freshman and sophomore seasons with Southern Methodist University before transferring to UF to complete her soccer career (and ultimately where she had her greatest impact).
Following 2 very good seasons with the SMU women's soccer team, DF wasted no time hitting the ground running upon transferring to the UF program prior to the 1996 season. In 22 games, she managed to amass 34 goals and 13 assists, and totaled 83 points on the season. Her outstanding accomplishments that season resulted in her being named the Southeastern Conference Soccer Player of the Year that season, and also resulted in her being named an All-American, and eventually, received the honor of being named the SEC Tournament MVP.
Because Danielle did not play in 1997, which would have been her 4th and final season of eligibility, she was granted permission to play in 1998, which ultimately represented her senior season of eligibility. And Lady Gator soccer fans all over the world are certainly glad she did.
While her numbers were down a hair from her all-time highs, 32 goals, 11 assists, and 75 points in 26 games, her leadership proved far more valuable on a team that was deep in talented players. DF led her team to the finest season in UF women's soccer history, eventually leading Lady Gators Soccer to the 1998 National Championship in women's soccer via a 1-0 win over women's soccer dynasty North Carolina (a program which had won, entering 1998, 17 of 19 women's soccer national championships since 1981).
Danielle Fotopoulos was named the ESPN National Player of the year in 1998, as well as the NSCAA National Player of the Year, the NCAA Final Four Offensive MVP, and, of course, the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year.
All told, DF holds the all-time NCAA Division 1 Women's Soccer records in goals scored as well as total points accrued, with 118 and 284 respectively. Following her stellar collegiate career, she was drafted by the Carolina Courage of the WUSA where she played 3 successful seasons. Fotopoulos also participated on the US Women's National Team sporadically from 1996 through 2005, winning the 1999 Women's FIFA World Cup along the way.
Whew...easy to see why we say Danielle Fotopoulos was the best all-time SEC soccer player. Maybe she's even the best women's college soccer player in history.
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