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National champion, national standard: Onyi Echegini’s MAC Hermann Trophy win another honor in major year for FSU soccer

Recently-signed Juventus forward takes home top prize in college soccer

2023 Division I Women’s Soccer Championship - Portraits Photo by John Joyner/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

A fourth national title, first undefeated season in school history (and first NCAA women’s soccer champion since Stanford went 23-0 in 2011) and now, for the fourth time overall and the third time in the past four years, another MAC Hermann Trophy is on its way to Tallahassee, dutifully earned by Florida State forward Onyi Echegini.

In 21 games this season, Echegini scored 16 goals while adding five assists. Those 16 scores were the most by an FSU player since Denya Castellanos in 2017 and the fifth-most in the country in 2023.

The London native and recently-signed Juventus player won over Nebraska Cornhuskers senior forward Eleanor Dale (Billingham, England) and BYU Cougars senior forward Brecken Mozingo (Sandy, Utah) on Friday night in a ceremony hosted by the Missouri Athletic Club.

It’s been a whirlwind of a year for Echegini — along with her national title, MAC Hermann Trophy, ACC Offensive Player of the Year and Tournament MVP honors, being named the Honda Sport Award winner for college soccer (given to the “best of the best in collegiate athletics”) and signing to Juventus, she was part of the Nigerian National Team this past summer where she helped her squad reach the Round of 16 in the 2023 FIFA World Cup.

From the St. Louis Dispatch:

“I’d say this year has been an adventure,” Echegini said. “Just everything I’ve wanted in life from the soccer aspect has been fulfilled. It’s been a great year for me. I’ve been blessed.”

Though Echegini played for Nigeria in the Women’s World Cup, she’s never lived there. Her parents left Nigeria for Netherlands, where she was born, and then she moved to England when she was 11. She then came to America, playing first at Mississippi State and then transferring to Florida State.

That transfer, though, was instrumental in her playing for Nigeria. When her name was in the transfer portal, Pittsburgh coach Randy Waldrum saw it. Waldrum is also the coach of Nigeria’s national team and needed players to fill out his roster for a friendly match in Canada. He saw Echegini’s name, recognized it as being Nigerian, and asked her if she could join them.

“I was like, sure, why not?” she said. “So a couple days later I took a flight to Canada. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. There are players there playing for Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, and here I am, I’m in college. Ever since then I’ve been with them pretty much.”

If Echegini was afraid she didn’t fit in as a college student when she first joined the team, that was apparently a minority opinion as Waldrum regularly used her as a substitute. “I had such a good time,” she said. “Playing in front of 50,000 people was amazing. Seven years ago, I was playing before maybe 20 people, and that was people’s parents. If I had told myself I’m going to play in front of 50,000 people, I would have laughed at myself, even though that was a dream.”

And it helped when she came back to Florida State. “Being around an environment like the World Cup, makes you better. I had gotten better when I came back and I think that helped me, gave me an extra edge.”

Echegini joins Mami Yamaguchi (2007) and Jaelin Howell (2020 and 2021) as winners of the MAC Mermann — FSU has now won the third-most MAC Hermann Trophies behind North Carolina and Stanford.

The full release from FSU Sports Info:

ST. LOUIS, Mo. - For the third time in the past four years, women’s college soccer’s most prestigious individual award will make its home in Tallahassee as Florida State forward Onyi Echegini was named the MAC Hermann Trophy winner on Friday night solidifying her title as the best player in college soccer. Friday was the fourth time a Seminole has brought home the pristine trophy as Echegini joins Mami Yamaguchi who won the award in 2007 and Jaelin Howell who won the award in 2020 and 2021. FSU has now won the third-most MAC Hermann Trophies behind North Carolina and Stanford.

Echegini dominated every time she took the pitch this past season as the senior from London, England, made the most of her time in the Garnet and Gold. Echegini became the first Seminole to win ACC Offensive Player of the Year since Deyna Castellanos in 2019. Echegini did not stop there as she was named the ACC Tournament MVP after scoring two goals in the ACC Championship Game against Clemson to secure FSU’s fourth consecutive ACC Championship. Echegini continued her dominance in the NCAA Tournament scoring three goals including a goal and an assist to help the Seminoles to its fourth National Championship.

In 21 games, Echegini scored 16 goals while adding five assists. Echegini’s 16 goals led the ACC and was ranked fifth in the country and was the most goals scored by a Seminole since Castellanos in 2017. Echegini has had an amazing year in the international world of soccer as well. Echegini spent her summer with the Nigerian National Team where she helped them reach the Round of 16 in the 2023 FIFA World Cup. Just yesterday, Echegini signed her professional contract with the Juventus Women in Italy.

In just two seasons with FSU, Echegini scored 26 goals which is the 11th-most in school history. She helped lead the Seminoles to the 2023 National Championship, two ACC Championships and two College Cups.

Her full FSU bio:

  • 2023 National Champion
  • Honda Award Finalist (2023)
  • MAC Hermann Finalist (2023)
  • United Soccer Coaches First Team All-American (2023)
  • First Team Atlantic All-Region (2023)
  • ACC Tournament MVP (2023)
  • ACC All-Tournament Team (2023)
  • ACC Offensive Player of the Year (2023)
  • All-ACC First Team (2023)
  • ACC Offensive Player of the Week (10/17/23)
  • TopDrawer Soccer Midseason Top 100 - No. 23
  • TopDrawer Soccer Preseason Top 100 - No. 81 (2023)
  • FIFA Women’s World Cup Player - Nigeria (2023)
  • College Soccer News Team of the Week (11/21/22)
  • ACC All-Tournament Team (2022)
  • All-ACC Second Team (2022)
  • ACC Co-Offensive Player of the Week (11/1/22)
  • ACC Offensive Player of the Week (9/20/22)
  • College Soccer News Team of the Week (9/20/22)

2023 HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Finished the season with 16 goals - tied for the eighth most in school history - five assists and 37 points.
  • The first Seminole since Deyna Castellanos (2017-18) to record back-to-back seasons with 10+ goals.
  • Led the ACC in goals and points.
  • Tallied a goal and an assist in a 5-1 win over Stanford in the National Championship Game (12/4).
  • Slid her fifteenth goal of the season past No. 11 Pitt in the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals (11/24).
  • Scored her third postseason goal as a Seminole in the rout over Texas in the Third Round (11/19).
  • Scored a brace in the ACC Championship game over No. 7 Clemson (11/5).
  • Gave her fifth multi-goal performance as a Seminole at Duke with a brace (10/22).
  • Scored the game winning goal against No. 18 Pitt (10/19).
  • Scored two goals in the first half against No. 11 Notre Dame to earn ACC Offensive Player of the Week (10/12).
  • Tallied an assist against both Miami (9/29) and Boston College (10/8).
  • Scored the game-winning goal with a resounding shot from outside the box at Syracuse (9/21).
  • Scored her fifth goal of the season and the final goal at eighth-ranked Clemson (9/15).
  • Recorded her third multi-goal game for FSU with a brace and an assist at North Florida (9/7).
  • Scored her second goal of the season against USF (9/3)
  • Scored her first goal of the season against ninth-ranked TCU (8/20) and 30th point as a Seminole.

2022 HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Had a career year in her first season in the Garnet and Gold with a career-high 11 goals, six assists and 28 points.
  • Recorded her first career start for Florida State during a scoreless draw at No. 12 South Carolina (8/18).
  • Scored her first goal for FSU at Georgia during the Seminole’s 3-1 win on 8/21.
  • Earned her second goal of the season for Florida State in a 5-0 victory against Rice (9/11).
  • Scored a hat trick with three goals against Boston College (9/16). It was the 20th hat trick in school history and the first since 2017.
  • Scored her sixth goal of the season in FSU’s 5-1 win over Louisville (9/22).
  • Grabbed her first assist on the season in FSU’s 3-1 win over No. 14 Clemson (9/25).
  • Had her second assist of the season in a 5-1 win over No. 12 Duke (10/13).
  • Recorded her seventh goal of the season in FSU’s 2-1 loss to No. 2 North Carolina (10/20).
  • Scored her team-leading, eighth and ninth goals of the season in a 4-1 win over Virginia Tech (10/27). It was her second multi-goal game of the season.
  • Assisted on the Seminoles’ first of three goals against No. 4 Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament Semifinals (11/3).
  • Tallied four points in the second and third rounds of the NCAA Tournament, scoring a goal against LSU (11/18) and recording two assists against No. 19 Pitt (11/20).
  • Scored the Seminoles’ first goal and assisted on their second in a 3-2 loss to North Carolina in the College Cup semifinals (12/2).