Candid Camara: SFU Standout Is GNAC Male Athlete Of Year
One of a number of stars on a loaded Simon Fraser team in 2018, Camara was the GNAC Player of the Year and a First Team All-American.
One of a number of stars on a loaded Simon Fraser team in 2018, Camara was the GNAC Player of the Year and a First Team All-American.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

PORTLAND, Ore. – In what proved to be one of the best men’s soccer seasons in Simon Fraser history since making the jump to NCAA Division II, midfielder Mamadi Camara proved the heartbeat of the squad.

With a unique ability to not only score, but distribute and put his teammates in position to score, Camara’s star shined brightest in a galaxy of stars that made up the Clan’s 2018 roster. That ability is being further recognized by Camara’s selection as the 2018-19 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Male Athlete of the Year.

The 2018 GNAC Player of the Year and a First Team All-America selection by both the Division II Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) and the United Soccer Coaches as well as a First Team All-West Region selection by both organizations, Camara also received Simon Fraser’s Lorne Davies Male Athlete of the Year award as the school’s top player in a team sport.

Camara became just the second player in both GNAC and Simon Fraser history to be picked in the MLS SuperDraft. The Montreal native was taken in the second round with the 46th pick by the San Jose Earthquakes. He joins Jovan Blagojevic, who was taken in the third round of the 2015 SuperDraft by the Vancouver Whitecaps.

With nine goals and a GNAC-leading 13 assists that ranked him No. 7 among Division II players, Camara helped lead Simon Fraser to its third consecutive GNAC championship and its sixth in eight years as a conference member. The Clan opened the season by winning its first 16 matches of the season. During that stretch, Simon Fraser outscored opponents 58-5 while scoring five or more goals in four matches.

That earned the Clan a No. 1 ranking from the United Soccer Coaches for a six-week stretch beginning Sept. 25. The Clan would eventually finish No. 14 in the final Division II poll after a second-round playoff loss to Cal Poly Pomona.

While ranking No. 7 in Division II in assists, Camara was also ranked sixth in Division II with 0.72 assists per match, 29th with 31 total points and 31st with 1.72 points per match. In the GNAC statistics, Camara was tied for third in points and game-winning goals (3) and ranked fifth with 0.50 goals per match.

In four years with the Clan, Camara never lost a home match. The team went 25-0-3 during that stretch on Terry Fox Field and was 52-9-11 overall in his four years.

Camara was consistently productive throughout the season. His nine goals were spread out across eight matches. His only two-goal performance included the game-winner in a 4-0 blanking of Northwest Nazarene on October 27. His 13 assists came in 10 different matches. He had assists in each of the first five matches of the season and registered three assists in a 6-1 win at Seattle Pacific on October 6.

“Mamadi was a very special player for us,” said Simon Fraser head men’s soccer coach Clint Schneider. “When people asked me what his best attribute was, I would always say his ability to defend from the front, close down players and make teams predictable. That ability enabled us to be a dominant team on the pitch most nights.

“Throughout his four years at Simon Fraser we saw tremendous growth as a player and we saw an individual grow into a leader of our group. He is a very good footballer, no doubt, but we know him as an even better person.”

While the MLS dream is on hold, Camara was cut from the Earthquakes in March, he continues to try to make a go at the professional ranks. He is currently on trial with a professional club in France.

Camara becomes the first Simon Fraser male athlete to be selected as the GNAC Athlete of the Year and is just the second men’s soccer player to receive the honor.

Other nominees for the 2018-19 GNAC Male Athlete of the Year awarded included Wesley Kirui of Alaska Anchorage (cross country/track and field), Aaron Berry of Azusa Pacific (football), James Moore of Central Washington (football), Giovanni Brown of Concordia (track and field), Daniel Cipriano of Montana State Billings (baseball), Adonis Arms of Northwest Nazarene (basketball), Luke Chavez of Saint Martin’s (basketball), Alex Roth of Western Oregon (baseball) and Cordell Cummings of Western Washington (track and field).

2018-19: Mamadi Camara, Simon Fraser (Soccer)
 David Ribich, Western Oregon (Cross Country/Track and Field)
David Ribich, Western Oregon (Cross Country/Track and Field)
Andy Avgi, Western Oregon (Football/Basketball)
2014-15: Brody Miller, Montana State Billings (Baseball)
2013-14: David Downs, Seattle Pacific (Basketball)
2012-13: John Allen, Western Washington (Basketball)
                Micah Chelimo, Alaska Anchorage (Track and Field)
2011-12: Grady Wood, Western Oregon (Baseball)
2010-11: Ryan Brown, Western Washington (Track and Field)
2009-10: Johnny Spevak, Central Washington (Football)
2008-09: Mike Reilly, Central Washington (Football)
2007-08: David Registe, Alaska Anchorage (Track and Field)
2006-07: Dustin Bremerman, Seattle Pacific (Basketball)
2005-06: Chris Randolph, Seattle Pacific (Track and Field)
                Grant Dykstra, Western Washington (Basketball)
2004-05: Chris Randolph, Seattle Pacific (Track and Field)
                Bobby McAlister, Seattle (Soccer)
2003-04: Austin Nichols, Humboldt State (Basketball)
2002-03: Fred Hooks, Humboldt State (Basketball)
2001-02: Mike Hinshaw, Western Oregon (Football/Track and Field)