Leerman Honored as All-American

ORLANDO, Fla. – Junior Yanis Leerman has become the 9th All-American in UCF men's soccer history after an outstanding season on the Knights' back line. Leerman becomes the first defender in the Black and Gold's history to be named as an All-American, landing on the 2020-21 United Soccer Coaches Second Team All-America.

Leerman played a big part in helping to turn around the Knights' season after their 1-3 start. He missed the team's three matches following the season opener with an injury and was lights out on defense upon his return. The leader of UCF's solid defense assisted in leading the Knights to a nine-match unbeaten streak that found the team in the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16.

Leerman and the Knights' defense finished the regular season allowing just two goals following his return to the pitch and outscored opponents 14-2 to close out the scheduled slate. The American Athletic Conference Championship saw the Black and Gold allow just one goal through two matches as the Knights marched their way to their first conference tournament title as part of the league. Leerman scored in the penalty kick shootout in UCF's semifinal match with SMU, helping to send the Knights to their third straight championship match appearance.

Leerman excels in bringing the ball out of the back and breaking the opponent's press as he finds difficult passes and connects them, slicing open the opposition's defense. Although he registered just one shot attempt this season and was kept out of the scoring column, Leerman diffused multiple dangerous situations on the defensive side of the ball. Through the NCAA Tournamnet's Second Round, the Knights had gone 8-1-1 in the matches he was present in with a miniscule goals allowed average of 0.48.

The awards continue to roll in for Leerman. After earning back-to-back AAC Defensive Player of the Week honors to close out the regular season, the junior defender was named to the All-Conference First Team unanimously. He began the year on the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List.

UCF has had a Knight named as an All-American in each of the last three seasons. Cal Jennings and Louis Perez were named to the First and Third Teams respectively in 2018 before Jennings repeated as an All-American First Team member in 2019. In total, UCF's nine All-Americans have earned 14 nods. The Black and Gold's previous three All-Americans have all played professional soccer in the United States at some level, as Jennings is currently with LAFC of the MLS, Perez debuting in the USL Championship this season and Warren Creavalle putting together an impressive nine-year MLS career.

UCF's List of All-Americans
Winston Dubose, GK - 1974, 1975, 1976
Rick Bratincevic, GK - 1981, 1982, 1983
Rony Francois, F - 1982
Heikki Ritvanen, F - 1997
Eric Vasquez, M - 2003 (Second Team)
Warren Creavalle, M - 2010 (Third Team)
Louis Perez, M - 2018 (Third Team)
Cal Jennings, F - 2018 (First Team), 2019 (First Team)
Yanis Leerman, D - 2020-21 (Second Team)

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