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Sam Charles
Sam Charles, a three-time All-American at Montana State Billings, led the nation in goals this past season, with 24.

Sam Charles holds every scoring record for the Montana State Billings men’s soccer team.

Twice, he has been selected the Great Northwest Athletic Conference player of the year and was chosen the Daktronics West Region player of the year for this season.

Now his honors have gone national.

Charles has been selected as the Ron Lenz Daktronics NCAA Division II Player of the Year.

He is the first student-athlete in MSUB history to be chosen a national player of the year for any sport.

“I am very proud of this award, and I thank everyone who voted for me,’’ said Charles, who concluded his stellar Yellowjackets career this fall. “When I arrived at MSUB, I had every intention of leaving my mark and I have worked hard throughout my career to do this. Obviously, I am very thankful to everyone associated with MSUB for helping me improve as a player and individual.’’

Charles is a three-time All-American for MSUB.

Called a “once-in-a-lifetime player’’ by Yellowjackets head coach Dan McNally, Charles led the nation with a school- and GNAC-record 24 goals this season. He finished second nationally for goals per game (1.33) and second for points per game (3.06).

During the season, Charles scored goals in a record nine consecutive games and a point in 15 consecutive games, also a GNAC and MSUB record. He holds career scoring records for points and goals for MSUB and the GNAC, despite playing only three seasons in the conference. The Yellowjackets were members of the Heartland Conference during Charles’ freshman season.

The senior forward from Chiswell, England, finished his MSUB career with 69 goals, 18 assists and 156 points.

Charles was part of a Yellowjackets program that posted three consecutive winning seasons and won 11 games this year, the second-highest total in school history.

“I have been very fortunate to have some great teammates and coaches and without them I would not have achieved this,’’ Charles said. “I would like to thank my parents for everything and giving me the opportunity to come to the United States and supporting me and giving me the belief in myself.’’

Charles is the first Daktronics national player of the year in GNAC history and the fourth overall. Bobby McAlister of Seattle Pacific was the NSCAA national player of the year in 2004, while SPU’s Shannon Lovejoy (2005) and Meredith Teague (2008) won the NSCAA award for women’s soccer.

“This is a great achievement for Sam and our men’s soccer program,’’ McNally said. “I am very proud of all of Sam’s accomplishments during his career, but this award is special.

“When I recruited Sam, I had high expectations for him, but during his career, he exceeded them. This award demonstrates that MSUB men’s soccer has started to make an impact in our region and on a national level. It’s a great honor for our team.’’

Sports information directors from NCAA Division II schools and conferences sponsoring men’s soccer selected the Daktronics All-America teams. The process begins at the regional level, with all first-team All-Region selections advancing to the national ballot.

Charles has also twice earned CoSIDA/ESPN academic All-America honors. He carries a 3.6 grade-point average and is scheduled to graduate this month with a degree in health and human performance. Charles has been selected the GNAC male student athlete of the year for 2008-09 and has earned back-to-back MSUB male student-athlete of the year honors.

After graduation, he hopes to play professionally.

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