Natalia Kuikka, a senior defender from Florida State University, was named the Honda Sport Award winner for Soccer as announced today by Chris Voelz, Executive Director of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA).
The Honda Sport Award has been presented annually by the CWSA for the past 43 years to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies “the best of the best in collegiate athletics”. With this honor, Kuikka becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious Class of 2019 Honda Cup which will be presented on a live telecast on CBS Sports Network on June 24, 2019, in downtown Los Angeles.
Kuikka was chosen by a vote of administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Finalists included Julia Ashley (UNC), Jordan DiBiasi (Stanford) and Caitlin Farrell (Georgetown).
“It is a big honor to be selected as the Honda Sport Award winner for soccer,” stated Kuikka. “It means even more to win this award because it is not only chosen by the skill, talent and achievements on the soccer field but also the work and dedication we put in the classroom, locker room, and in the community. This award values those parts of the student-athlete that sometimes are left unappreciated. We are not just soccer players, we have other aspiration and interests and there is so much more to us than just the sport.”
Kuikka, hailing from Kemi, Finland, led her team to the 2018 NCAA Championship title and was named to the College Cup All-Tournament team. The defender led her team to 16 shutouts on the season, including two en route to the NCAA title in the College Cup, and allowed just 13 goals in 27 matches. She registered two goals and an assist as center back.
She is a United Soccer Coaches (USC) All-American for the second time in her career and was named to the 2018 TopDrawerSoccer second-team. The two-time team captain has also been named to the All-ACC squad three straight years and is a two-time ACC All-Tournament team honoree.
A member of the Finland National team, she missed two contests this season due to call-ups and was named the 2017 Finland Female National Player of the Year.
“I think it is a fantastic honor that Natalia has earned, and she is a great representation of our program,” said FSU head coach Mark Krikorian. “She had an outstanding career here in all areas – on the field, in the classroom and in the community, and it is great to see her recognized for being such a well-rounded person.”
Honda Sport Award winners will be presented with the honor during on-campus presentations throughout the year.
The CWSA, in its 43rd year, honors the nation’s top NCAA women athletes recognizing superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service. Since commencing its sponsorship in 1986, Honda has provided more than $3.1 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions.
Honda seeks to be a company that society wants to exist, creating products and technologies that improve the lives of people while minimizing the environmental impacts of its products and business operations to ensure a sustainable future.
Honda also is committed to making positive contributions to the communities where it does business, conducting socially responsible business practices and promoting diversity in its workforce. From Honda’s involvement in STEM education and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) to its support of pediatric brain tumor research and volunteer efforts by Honda associates, including environmental clean-up activities, Honda believes in giving back to the communities where its associates live and work.
Learn more at http://csr.honda.com/