Cal's Birnbaum and UCLA's Hollingshead named candidates for Senior CLASS Award

By the Pac-12 Conference

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - CALIFORNIA senior defender Steven Birnbaum and UCLA senior midfielder/forward Ryan Hollingshead have been named candidates for the men's soccer Senior CLASS Award, announced on Tuesday.

The Senior CLASS Award is given to student-athletes who excel both on and off the field. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence- community, classroom, character and competition.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

Named a preseason All-American by College Soccer News, Birnbaum, has played in 53 games for the Golden Bears tallying nine points on five assists and two goals during his career. He was named captain for both his junior and senior seasons. Birnbaum was named an Academic All-Pac-12 honorable mention his sophomore and junior years, and earned a spot on the first team All-Pac-12 team in 2011. In the classroom, Birnbaum is majoring in social welfare with a GPA of 3.0 and is on track to an early graduation in December 2012. He is an active member in the Irvine, Calif., community with dedication to the youth soccer programs as a coach and mentor, and is a representative of the "Kids in Irvine." Birnbaum is also continually supporting the Northwood area philanthropies and the Orange County community.

Hollingshead, having played in 62 games for UCLA, has helped lead the team to three-consecutive NCAA quarterfinal appearances, Pac-12 team titles in both 2009 and 2011, and the 2011 College Cup. He earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors his sophomore year and was a second team All-Pac-12 his junior year. Last year during the NCAA Tournament Hollingshead registered two assists in the third round and a goal in the College Cup semifinals, and was named to the 2011 NCAA All-Tournament Team. Hollingshead is on track to graduate in just over three years with a degree in Psychology and has maintained a 3.532 GPA. He has twice earned Academic All-Pac-12 honors and has been on the UCLA Athletic Director's Honor roll every quarter as a Bruin. He was also named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team in 2011. Hollingshead was a two-time recipient of the Coaches' Award at UCLA is and the team's representative on UCLA's Bruin Athletic Council. He has been active in the community performing over 30 hours of community service each year in projects such as UCLA's I'm Going to College program, Adopt-A-Classroom and Marathon Kids.

The 30 candidate class for men's soccer will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one male candidate who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2012 NCAA Men's College Cup, which will take place Dec. 7-9 in Hoover, Ala.

To see the complete list of candidates, visit seniorCLASSaward.com .

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