Birnbaum and Hollingshead named finalists for Senior CLASS Award

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By the Pac-12 Conference

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

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 a 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 54 games for the Golden Bears tallying ten points on six 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 75 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 has had a strong senior season thus far putting up 13 points off of three goals and seven assists. He earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors his sophomore year and was 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 10 finalists for men's soccer were chosen by a media committee from the list of 30 men's candidates announced in September. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website, through November 19. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches' votes to determine the winner. 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 view the complete list of candidates and finalists, visit

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