UK Soccer's Justin Laird Named National Player of the Week

By Jacob Most Oct. 21, 2014 -

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky men’s soccer forward Justin Laird was named Disney Soccer/ National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) National Player of the Week on Tuesday.

Laird scored two goals in as many matches last week, to help take the now-No. 22 Wildcats into first place in Conference USA.

He scored the game-winner against ninth-ranked New Mexico – Kentucky’s third top-25 win of the season.
   
Laird also earned a spot on the Top Drawer Soccer and collegesoccernews.com National Teams of the Week.

Laird’s goal vs. New Mexico was an excellent strike across goal on the half-volley. He also scored the opener in a 5-1 win over Evansville and also assisted another to holding midfielder Paul Sime.

Laird’s two goals last week took his team-leading goal total to five this season, and he has three assists on the year for 13 points, which is also the most on UK.

Laird’s winner vs. New Mexico was his second game-winning goal of the year (vs. Xavier), which ranks tied for fourth in the league

The Milwaukee, Wisconsin native is tied for third in the league in shots (38), and ranks fourth in C-USA in shots per game (2.71). His 13 points this year ranks sixth in the league.

Laird’s honor on Tuesday marked the second time this year that a Wildcat was named NSCAA Player of the Week, as goalkeeper Callum Irving earned the award on Sept. 23.

Four times since 2007 the Wildcats have earned a NSCAA National Player of the Week, with Tyler Riggs earning the honor in 2011 after leading UK to game-winning goals in two games on opening weekend. UK great Tim Crone was honored as the NSCAA National Player of the Week after scoring both goals off the bench in a 2-1 comeback win over No. 1 SMU in 2007.

UK will return to action on Saturday, Oct. 25 with a trip to South Carolina in a C-USA matchup colloquially referred to as the Southeastern Conference Men’s Soccer Championship. The Wildcats and Gamecocks are the only two SEC schools that sponsor men’s soccer.