Jackson, Tenn. - 11/25/2002 - Union University’s Joe Phiri has been named the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Men's Soccer Player of the Year for 2002. Phiri, a senior for the Bulldogs, caps off his stellar career with the Bulldogs by leading the Bulldogs to their third NCCAA National Tournament in his four years.
Phiri, is a forward from Lusaka, Zambia, that has been at Union now for four years. He has set all of Union’s scoring records including goals in a game (4), goals in a season (24), goals in a career (66), goals per game average season (1.46), career (1.11), shots in a game (9), shots in a season (91), shots in a career (256), points in a season (58), and points in a career (159). His best season as a Bulldog was in 2000 when he set all of the season records. In 2002, Phiri played in 22 games and scored 17 goals, dished out eight assists, and tallied 42 total points.
In his career, Phiri has been selected to the All-Conference team, NCCAA All-Region team, and has been named as player of the week by the TranSouth and NCCAA on numerous occasions. Phiri has been featured in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ Victory Magazine March 2001 issue and has been the highlight of local feature stories.
Phiri came to the United States with the desire to earn a college degree and playing soccer was going to be the way for him to achieve his goal. He joined Union’s young program in 1999 in only its second season of varsity competition. During his time, he has been a major contributor to Union’s growth. In the four years that Phiri has worn the red and white, Union has posted three NCCAA National Tournament appearances, three NCCAA MidEast Region Championships, and a runner-up finish in the 2001 TranSouth Conference Tournament. His four year record at Union is 55-35-1.
Union finished the 2002 season with a 13-10-1 record and a 7th place finished in the NCCAA National Tournament. This marks the fourth straight season that the Bulldogs have finished above .500 and the fourth time in their brief five-year history.
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