Two players pegged to fill key roles for the nationally ranked University of Maryland men’s soccer team will miss the season.
Sophomore forward Christiano Francois will redshirt for academic reasons and fifth-year senior defender Jordan Cyrus was ruled ineligible by the NCAA.
Francois, an exciting attacker from Haiti who moved to the United States after the devastating 2010 earthquake, was fourth on the team in points last year with five goals and four assists. He is enrolled in Maryland’s English Institute, an intensive program designed for students whose first language is not English.
Despite making considerable progress last school year and through the summer, “he needs to catch up,” Coach Sasho Cirovski said. As a redshirt athlete, Francois will retain three years of eligibility.
Haiti named Francois to the senior national team’s preliminary roster for the CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer. However, in part because of academic demands, he did not join the squad.
Slated to start at right back, Cyrus learned today that the NCAA had rejected his appeal to play this year.
The issue dated back to 2010, when, as a sophomore, he played 71 minutes before sitting out the remainder of the season with an undisclosed injury. Athletes are allowed to compete early in the year and then claim a medical hardship in order to save eligibility. But because he had appeared in two games during the second half of the season, he lost the redshirt option.
Maryland officials did not recognize the problem until this summer.
Cyrus will remain on scholarship and practice with the team while serving as an undergraduate assistant coach. Cirovski hopes to arrange pro tryouts for him this winter.
“We are extremely disappointed,” Cirovski said. “He is a tireless worker and a tremendous leader on and off the field for us.”
Cyrus appeared in 23 of 24 matches last season, starting 15 and posting two goals and three assists.
Maryland, which lost to Georgetown in the College Cup semifinals in December, is ranked No. 2 behind reigning champion Indiana in the NSCAA preseason poll.
Led by 2012 Hermann Trophy winner Patrick Mullins, the Terrapins will open the season on Labor Day weekend at Stanford and California, then make their home debut Sept. 6 against archrival Duke.