At this time last year, Andi Sullivan’s soaring soccer career was on hold as she recovered from major knee surgery.
On Friday, the Lorton, Va., native culminated a triumphant return by adding the Hermann Trophy, college soccer’s ultimate individual prize, to the NCAA championship she won with Stanford last month. The senior midfielder is likely to join the Washington Spirit, either through national team allocation or as the No. 1 pick in the National Women’s Soccer League draft on Jan. 18 in Philadelphia.
She is the first woman from the D.C. area to win the award since Mia Hamm (Lake Braddock High School, University of North Carolina) in 1992 and ’93. Last year, Wake Forest’s Ian Harkes, a Gonzaga High grad from Fairfax, won the men’s honor.
Sullivan — a central midfielder who attended South County High School and excelled at the club level for McLean Youth Soccer — has already made seven appearances for the U.S. senior national team after representing youth teams for many years. She was invited to Jill Ellis’s winter training camp starting Saturday in Carson, Calif., keeping her on track for a place on the 2019 Women’s World Cup squad.
Sullivan tore an ACL during the 2016 NCAA tournament but returned this year to captain the Cardinal to its second College Cup title. She was a first-team all-American three times and Hermann Trophy finalist the last two seasons. In last month’s national championship match, she scored in the 3-2 victory over UCLA in Orlando.
The other Hermann finalists this year were UCLA sophomore midfielder Jessie Fleming (London, Ontario) and South Carolina senior forward Savannah McCaskill (Chapin, S.C.).
Wake Forest forward Jon Bakero, son of former Spanish national team forward Jose Mari Bakero, won the men’s award, beating out Stanford senior defender Tomas Hilliard-Arce (Matthews, N.C.) and Indiana defender Grant Lillard (Hinsdale, Ill.) Bakero had 16 goals and 14 assists for a national-best 46 points. He has signed with MLS and will be available in the Jan. 19 draft in Philadelphia.