Soccer giant Kendall Ham ’18 scores women’s All-American honors

Tommy Brett, Contributing Writer

Bison soccer standout Kendall Ham ’18 was formally named to the NSCAA Division I Women’s Scholar All-America First Team alongside 11 other elite student athletes on Jan. 14 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in California. The same day, she was also named to the NSCAA Division I Women’s All-America Third Team roster. For Ham, these honors are just the icing on a cake of many coveted accolades.

When her name echoed throughout the Los Angeles Convention Center to a resounding roar of applause, Ham stood up, gave a polite smile, and took the stage to receive her award for being named an All-American First Team Scholar. What members of the audience did not see behind her coy grin was the history of cold-blooded determination and relentlessness that has been palpable on the field to anyone who plays with or against her.

Ham is one of the most decorated and distinguished scorers in the country, and it’s not by accident. She has a passion for the game that inspires and excites her teammates, which might be what pushed the Bison over the edge in many of their clutch late game victories in the 2016 season. This fall, Ham’s offensive contributions led the team to a Patriot League championship and a berth in the NCAA playoffs.

Bison head coach Kelly Cook calls Ham “the most dangerous scorer in the league,” and she amounts Ham’s success to “her work rate and passion” as well as her “willingness to do whatever the team needs to succeed.” This selflessness and aggressive passion is what Ham carries with her every time she steps onto the pitch. Her success lives within her personality and is decorated in moments of awe, like scoring back-to-back road game winners at Colgate and Navy this past season.

But leading the Patriot League with 35 points, 15 goals, and five clutch game winners isn’t enough in itself to merit being chosen as an All-American First Team Scholar. It’s Ham’s passion and drive both on and off the field that demands such national attention. Ham holds a seemingly unobtainable 3.84 GPA as a biology major, and seamlessly balances her time between athletics and academics. She admits being in season can become very hectic at times, but nonetheless believes in the motto that you can make time for everything.

“On most away trips, we spend downtime in the hotel and bus rides doing homework … time management plays a huge role in finding success in the classroom,” Ham said.

She is surrounded by a group of women who value the same dedication to academics as well. As a team, the Bison women’s soccer team recorded an average GPA of 3.51 this year.

“This shows just how important being a true student-athlete is to us,” Ham said. It’s a value that the Bison athletics program overall stresses and supports for all of its teams.

Being named an All-American First Team Scholar is just one of many notable awards that Ham has piled up while wearing the Orange and Blue. In addition to her national awards, this season alone, Ham was recognized as a two-time Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week. She was also named the 2016 Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

“I feel like being named an All-American reflects very highly on my teammates, coaches, and the program as a whole,” Ham said when asked how she felt about all this recognition. To Ham, both on and off the field, success comes with teamwork.

Ham will return for her senior season in Fall 2017, and it remains to be seen how many other accolades she’ll garner in her final year as a Bison women’s soccer player.

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