Men's, women's soccer players recognized with All-American honors

Contact: Kristin Keirns
Photo of Bronco men's soccer player Zack Bock on a socccer field about to kick a ball.


KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University men's soccer players Zach Bock, a defender, and Brandon Bye, a midfielder, and forward Alex Ruffer, of the women's soccer team, all were named Academic All-Americans by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Bock and Bye become the first ever Academic All-Americans in WMU men's soccer history, and Ruffer is the just the second student-athlete in program history to earn Academic All-American Honors, the last time in 2011.

Bock, a senior from Novi, was a Second Team All-American after maintaining a 3.98 grade-point average in sales and business marketing. Bye, a senior from Portage, was selected to the Third Team and carries a 3.74 GPA as a double major in food and consumer marketing and supply chain management.

Ruffer, a senior from Lombard, Illinois, also was voted Third Team Academic All-American by CoSIDA. Ruffer boasts a perfect 4.0 GPA in finance and was also named CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District. She played in and started all 19 games this season, scoring a goal and adding two assists. She helped the Broncos to 10 wins on the season, also helping her class become just the second in program history to experience double-digit wins all four seasons.

Bock, Bye and Shepherd also were named Scholar All-Americans by the United Soccer Coaches. Both Bye and Shepherd were named First Team Scholar All-Americans, while Bock was chosen to the Second Team. The three senior captains also were named Academic All-MAC selections.

A historic season for men's soccer

Photo of Bronco women's soccer player Alex Ruffer running down a field kicking a soccer ball followed by other players.


History continued to be made for the men's soccer program as Bye and goalkeeper Drew Shephard, a redshirted senior from Ann Arbor, were recognized as All-Americans for the United Soccer Coaches' 2017 NCAA Division I Men's All-America Teams, the first time ever for WMU.

Bye became the school's first ever First Team All-American; Shephard is WMU's first ever Second Team All-American. Bye also was named a First Team All-American by College Soccer News.

Team captains Bock and Bye led WMU to unprecedented success in 2017. The Broncos won their first ever Mid-American Conference regular season championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament, where the team was given a first round bye. WMU went on to defeat the University Albany in the second round for the school's first ever NCAA Tournament win and advanced to the Sweet 16 before eventually falling to Michigan State University.

Photo of  Bronco men's soccer player Brandon Bye kicking a soccer ball on a field with other players running behind him.


The Broncos had a 17-4-1 overall record and went undefeated during the MAC season. They finished the year ranked at No. 9 in the United Soccer Coaches poll, after being in the top 25 for 11 consecutive weeks. The team reached as high as No. 4, and spent seven weeks ranked inside the top 10. WMU set program records for most wins and shutouts in a season.

A Hermann Trophy semifinalist, Bye became the first Bronco ever to earn MAC Player of the Year honors after leading the conference with 12 goals and seven assists for 31 points. He scored five game-winning goals which ranks sixth most in the nation. He set a new WMU record for shots in a season with 91 and ranked fifth in the nation for shots per game and shots on goal per game.

Shepherd had a 16-3-1 record in goal for the Broncos and was responsible for 13 of the 14 shutouts. The 14 shutouts ranks second most in Division I this season. He set a new WMU record for goalkeeper wins, single-season shutouts and career shutouts. His career 0.75 goals-against average will also go down as best in school history.

Learn more about WMU men's soccer at

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