Drover midfielder named SAC Player of the Year

Drover midfielder David Otieno has been playing soccer his whole life, so it may not be a surprise that he’s pretty good at it.

One of the best in the conference, if you ask SAC officials.

Otieno, a junior, was named Sooner Athletic Conference Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year this weekend.

“It feels good. All the credit should be given to the team,” Otieno said. “It’s my teammates who helped me get this award.”

Otieno, from Nairobi, Kenya, led the team with 24 goals during the season with another nine assists. Both Dusan Rasovic and Nikola Cakarevic netted 10 balls during the season.

“In our conference, that speaks for itself, I guess,” Head Coach Jimmy Hampton said. “I think he’s deserving of it.”

The Drover, however, credits his teammates for his success.

“All these achievements would not be made possible without (my teammates),” Otieno said. “I think ever since I came here, they’ve received me very well.”

Otieno was responsible for USAO’s second goal against Oklahoma City University during the SAC Championship game, solidifying the team’s win.

“He’s come through for us,” Hampton said. “He’s very talented.”

The midfielder is ranked No. 1 in the division for shots per game (6.84); No. 2 in total game winning goals (7); No. 3 in shots on goal per game (3.58); No. 4 in total points (57) and total goals (24); and No. 5 in goals per game (1.26), game winning goals per game (.37) and points per game (3).

Otieno hails to the university from Mid-Continent University, where he was named TSAC First Team All Conference and helped his team win third place in the National Tournament.

The Drovers ended the season as SAC Champions No. 11 in the nation at 17-1-1, and will compete in the national tournament, which begins Saturday against Hastings College in Nebraska.

All-SAC Second Team includes senior defender Aiden Ashmore and sophomore midfielder Niall Crick.

Otieno plays under Hampton, who was also recognized with a SAC award.

COACH JIMMY HAMPTON With one team heading to the national tournament and the other finishing with a great 13-6 record, it’s no wonder Hampton was named Sooner Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.

In the 11 years heading the soccer program at the USAO, this is the first time Hampton has received the honor.

“It’s a good staff,” Hampton said. “More than anything, it’s a testament to the staff we have, and the team(s).”

Hampton has been the head coach to both the men’s and the women’s soccer teams at USAO since the programs started in 1998. Hampton has an overall record for both teams of 262-191-26.

He is backed by assistant coaches Alexis Vizarelis, Eric Clopton, Tony Orsi and Tommy Hubbard.

Otieno, one of Hampton’s newer players, said Hampton is a good coach not only because he helps the team and the program improve, but also because he helps instill good character into his players.

In addition to his commitment to the university, Hampton coaches at the recreational level in surrounding Oklahoma City metro communities and has been the director of girl’s coaching for seven years and the director of boys coaching for four years with the Oklahoma Football Club.

USAO Freshman Calli Cooper has been playing soccer under Hampton since she started playing and said his recruiting really made a difference in the teams’ successes this year. Cooper was named SAC Newcomer of the Year as well.

“He deserves (the honor) more than anyone I can think of,” she said. “He honestly taught me everything I know.”

Hampton will leave with the Drover men’s soccer team Thursday afternoon for Hastings College in Nebraska, where the team will compete in the first round of the National Tournament at 5 p.m. Saturday.