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U of M soccer player named Arthur Ashe Scholar semifinalist

<p>Sessen Stevens advances the ball upfield. S<span>tevens played all four years for the Tigers, participating in 72 matches.</span></p>
Sessen Stevens advances the ball upfield. Stevens played all four years for the Tigers, participating in 72 matches.

University of Memphis women’s soccer senior defender Sessen Stevens has been named an Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar semifinalist. Diverse: Issues In Higher Education magazine published the information last Thursday.

The senior is one of five student-athletes to be selected from the American Athletic Conference. She is one of only two NCAA women’s soccer players nominated.

Stevens is the second Memphis student-athlete to be nominated in the last two years. Memphis basketball forward Cheyenne Creighton won the scholarship in 2017.

The students are nominated by institutions from across the United States and chosen from 1,000 minority student-athletes. In order to be nominated, Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars must maintain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.2, be at least a sophomore academically and be active on their campuses or communities.

Past winners include Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, NFL Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk, former WNBA player Kara Lawson and former NBA player Jacque Vaughn.

“Sessen is the epitome of a class student-athlete,” assistant coach Lizzy Simonin said. “She embodies what we preach to these girls — what it means to be a complete student athlete. She put in the time with us and has been a true Tiger on and off the field.”

Stevens played all four years at the U of M, participating in 72 matches. She made an immediate impact on the team, scoring two goals as a freshman defender. She became a regular starter her junior year and was a part of the Tiger team that allowed 18 goals in the 2016 season. Stevens appeared in all 20 matches in the 2017 season and was one of the leaders of a back line that accumulated eight total shutouts.

Prior to her collegiate career, Stevens gained experience on the Canadian U-20 national team and on the Vancouver Whitecaps at the club level. She also was a member of the British Columbia Provincial Team in 2011-13 in the Canadian National Tournament.

The British Columbia native earned as much success off the field as she did on the pitch. She made the Tiger 3.0 club and the Dean’s List seven times from 2014 to 2017. Stevens was named to the AAC All-Academic team in 2016. Stevens carries a 3.82 GPA and is majors in biology.

She was heavily involved in community service at the local level, but she also did community service projects at an international level. She volunteered in the Dominican Republic for weeks with the International Children’s Heart Foundation.

Stevens’ goal is to pursue medical school after graduation. She hopes to one day travel overseas and work in or open a clinic to treat those people in underdeveloped countries who do not have adequate access to medicine and healthcare.

“We try to teach these kids and prepare kids for life after soccer,” Simonin said. “She took big steps in her four years at Memphis, and I wish her the best going forward.”

Sessen Stevens advances the ball upfield. Stevens played all four years for the Tigers, participating in 72 matches.

 Memphis Head Coach Brooks Monoghan shouts instructions to his players. Monoghan announced that the Tiger women's soccer team will have 10 newcomers in the fall.

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