Stevo Bednarsky, a senior on the Lehigh men's soccer team, is just one of 30 Division I men's soccer players to be up for the Senior CLASS Award. The winner will be announced at the men's College Cup Championship in May. (Courtesy of Lehigh Sports)

Lehigh men’s soccer star Stevo Bednarsky up for prestigious Senior CLASS Award

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Lehigh men’s soccer captain Stevo Bednarsky is just one of 30 candidates in Division I men’s soccer to be considered for the Senior CLASS Award

The Senior CLASS Award stands for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School. It is given annually to an NCAA Division I senior who has not only achieved academic excellence, but also displayed strong character and has become a leader in their community.

This marks the third consecutive year a Lehigh men’s soccer player has been considered for the prestigious award.Bednarsky was nominated for the 2020-2021 season after Will Smith in 2019 and Mark Forrest in 2018.

Bednarsky is one of two candidates to be selected in the Patriot League along with Bucknell midfielder Matt Thorsheim. 

The sociology and anthropology double-major from Hackettstown, New Jersey is a key player for the Mountain Hawks. He was named First Team All-Patriot League and Second Team All-Atlantic Region selection in his junior season. 

Bednarsky mirrored his success from last season and was named First Team All-Patriot League in the shortened season for the second year in a row. 

Even with his previous accolades, Bednarsky still says that being named a candidate for the award took him by surprise.  

“I actually found out I was nominated because my mom sent me a text about it,” Bednarsky said. “I was honored and humbled by the nomination, and it’s just really exciting that I get to represent Lehigh.”

Assistant coach Chris Tadley said that Bednarsky is a solid candidate for the award due to his contagious enthusiasm. 

“His energy and the atmosphere he creates around him makes the other players want to be more like him,” Tadley said. “Even I want to be more like Stevo, and I am a coach and ten years older than him.”

Junior forward Josh Luchini agreed with Tadley and said Bednarky deserves the nomination because of his drive to improve not only in soccer, but also in his day-to-day life. 

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone work harder than he does,” Luchini said. “It’s pretty amazing to watch him put everything he has into every game.”

Tadley went on to say that Stevo’s willingness to take on mistakes on and off the field shows his strong character and ability to make the Lehigh community a better place. 

“There are not many people out there that can look at a situation and say, ‘I messed this up, and I am going to own it and fix it,’ and that is what Stevo does every single day,” Tadley said.

Tadley said that despite strict team protocols this season, Bednarsky stepped up to maintain team morale.

He explained that with Bednarky’s leadership, there has not been one positive COVID-19 case or team contract violation this season. 

“Being out and socializing with other groups of people was not an option for our players this season with COVID,”  Tadley said. “It was not easy, but being our captain, Stevo has managed it perfectly.”

Although Bednarsky has officially rounded out his senior season, he will be returning to the field for a fifth year in the fall. 

“I am a soccer junkie, and it just didn’t feel right that this was going to be my last season playing Lehigh soccer, so taking a fifth year next year to continue playing was an easy decision”, Bednarsky said. 

The Senior CLASS Award winner will be named at the 2021 men’s College Cup Championship in May. 

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