"It's truly an honor," Bono said of being named a finalist. "Not many goalies are fortunate enough to be in the conversation for player of the year. The credit goes to my coaches and the guys playing defense in front of me. I'm grateful to them because it's their hard work that has helped put me in this position and allowed me to have the success that I've had."
Bono is the first goalkeeper to be selected as a Hermann finalist since the NSCAA began narrowing the top candidates down to three in 2003. Joining him as finalists are UCLA midfielder Leo Stolz and North Carolina forward Andy Craven. The winner will be announced Friday, Jan. 9, 2015 at this year's trophy presentation and banquet at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.
"Everyone associated with our Syracuse soccer family is very proud of Alex and this wonderful achievement," Orange head coach Ian McIntyre
said. "His hard work, commitment and drive have allowed him to grow and evolve into a dominant college goalkeeper. Alex was fantastic this season and a special player on a special Syracuse team."
The 2014 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Bono set the school single-season records for goals-against average (0.55), shutouts (12) and minutes played (1,949) to help lead the Orange to a share of the ACC Atlantic Division title and an appearance in the NCAA's Round of 16 for the second time in three years.
Bono finished the campaign with a 16-4-1 overall record and currently ranks seventh nationally in both goals-against average and save percentage (.848). In the process, he recorded two streaks of more than 400 consecutive scoreless minutes, including a school-record stretch of 537:34 from Sept. 13 to Oct. 7 without conceding a goal.
While Bono exploded on the national scene in 2014, he has been a fixture on the Orange defense since his rookie season of 2012. Bono has started 59 games over the past three years and ranks in the top 10 in every career goalkeeping category at Syracuse, including goals-against average (1st - 0.80), shutouts (2nd - 30) and wins (2nd - 39).
Named in honor of Robert Hermann, the former president of the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL), the Hermann Trophy has been presented to the national player of the year every season since 1967. In 1986, the Missouri Athletic Club (MAC) began naming an annual player of the year as well. Those two awards, along with the NSCAA's own national player of the year award, were unified into the MAC Hermann Trophy in 2002 to recognize the nation's top overall collegiate soccer player.
Only two male goalkeepers have ever won the Hermann Trophy. Virginia's Tony Meola captured the award in 1989 and UCLA's Brad Friedel won it in 1992. Both went on to star in multiple FIFA World Cups as members of Team USA.