Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

Downs Selected As Candidate For Senior Class Award

Nicky Downs was named to first team (Steve Musco photo)
Nicky Downs was named to first team (Steve Musco photo)

Two-Time All-Ivy Selection For Bulldogs

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Nicky Downs, a two-time All-Ivy selection who also shines in the classroom and the community, has been selected as one of 30 men's candidates for the for the 2018 Senior CLASS Award® in collegiate soccer.

In his playing career at Yale, Downs has appeared in 54 games, including starting 45, while scoring eight goals and adding 11 assists. This fall, he has started all five games and leads the team with three goals. As a junior, he tied for the team lead with three assists and was one of five players to appear in all 16 games. In his sophomore season, he was a second team All-Ivy selection after leading the team in assists (5) and points (11). As a rookie in 2015 he earned honorable mention recognition when he tied for team lead with six points.

In the classroom, Downs maintains a 3.83 grade point average as an economics major. In his sophomore season, he was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District first team.

Since high school Downs has been involved with a program in Ghana called the Right to Dream Academy, which is a residential soccer academy that identifies talented children throughout West Africa and provides them with an education and character development training using soccer as the vehicle. Many Right to Dream graduates attend elite boarding schools across the United States, which is how he first became involved with the program. At the Hotchkiss School, he got to know and played soccer with several of them. He spent three of his four summers prior to attending Yale at the Right to Dream Academy in Ghana where he assisted in the classroom, editing papers or helping boys work through math problems, etc) as well as training with them on the field.

Downs also has been involved in a number of community service projects with his teammates at Yale. He has helped run several youth clinics for local soccer clubs, volunteered at a New Haven food pantry, and spent time with after school programs at Wexler-Grant Middle School in New Haven.

"This might be the most encompassing award for a student-athlete in college sports as it truly reflects the excellence in each student-athlete when it comes to academic and athletic achievement, as well as engagement in the campus and community," said Kylie Stannard, the 5K Corral Head Coach of the Bulldogs. "I think every single one of our seniors could be included in this from an institution like Yale, but I'm especially happy and excited for Nicky to be in this nationally recognized group.  His performance on and off the field has been remarkable during his time at Yale.  He epitomizes what it means to be a high achieving student-athlete, and he does this at the most prestigious and demanding academic institution in the nation.  What amazes me about Nicky more than his very high GPA, is his incredible time-management skills, and his discipline and prioritizing of his academics, his passion for the game, and making sure he's taking care of his body.  He's never missed a single practice or video session during any fall season.  I'm very proud of him and I hope he has the opportunity to be in the final group of 10 for this national recognition."

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. 

Each of the 60 men's and women's candidates has displayed a strong work ethic in the classroom and on the pitch with 34 returning after earning first-team conference honors, 30 having grade-point averages of 3.5 or higher, nine being on the MAC Hermann Watch List for 2018 and seven returning All-Americans. Outside of academics and athletics, all candidates also have been consistently involved in community service on their campus or in their communities.

Each of the two candidate classes will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one male candidate and one female candidate who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition. 

The Senior CLASS Award winners will be announced during the 2018 NCAA Men's and Women's College Cup® championships in December.

Report filed by Tim Bennett (, Yale Sports Publicity