Scoring the crucial goal against Bridgeport University which admitted the last ranked, 2011 Queens College men’s soccer team to the playoffs is a memory that will forever resonate within senior standout Daniel Stoker.
However, Stoker, a starter and second-year captain, remembers this day for the result it left the underrated team, not for his personal glory. This highlight is just one of Stoker’s many impressive achievements on the soccer field.
Stoker, 22, London, England, began racking up notable awards as a freshman. In 2009, he was voted East Coast Conference Men’s Soccer Rookie of the Year and was awarded with the recognition of ECC Second Team All-Conference. In 2010, Stoker received ECC First Team All-Conference and last season received ECC First Team All-Conference and First Team All-Region. Last season, Stoker was also awarded with All-American Honorable Mention, the most prestigious of his awards.
In 2011, Carl Christian, Queens College women’s soccer head coach, took on the head coaching role of the men’s team as well.
“I was disappointed to see Joe Misso go because he was a fantastic guy, but Carl has done a great job and I respect him a lot. He has done very well so far,” Stoker said.
Christian, in his first year as men’s head coach, recognized Stoker’s leadership abilities from the get-go and dubbed him captain. Christian came in with a certain impression of Stoker from his experience during winter training with the men’s team before the official fall season. Christian, an England-native as well, even helped to recruit Stoker four years ago for Misso.
“He has respect for the players on and off the field. He has the leadership quality. He carries himself the right way. He has the respect, not only of his teammates, but of the department,” Christian said.
Last year, Stoker was able to embrace this role from a new position when Christian moved him from forward to defense. This move, a successful attempt to solidify the back line, according to Christian, also allowed Stoker to do what he does best; lead by example.
“I feel more involved in the play and I feel like I can lead in the back,” Stoker said.
The advantage of using Stoker in both positions also allowed Christian and the team to keep other competitors guessing.
“Other coaches will prepare specifically to address what he brings,” said Christian.
While Stoker finds it easier to lead from the back, you can’t blame him for keeping his eye on the back of the net.
“I scored 29 goals in three years. I hope to get to 40 if I can,” Stoker said.
With 13 new team members this season, Stoker describes the team as more “well-rounded” than the previous year. The expectations have risen for the men’s team coming off what Stoker considers the most successful season he has experienced as a QC Knight.
“I think it’s going to be a tougher year. People will be more ready for us,” said Christian.
Stoker hopes the team will be as successful this year as they were last.
“It is my last year here and I want to finish my college career on a positive note,” he said.