Soza graduated from A.C. Jones High School in 2009 as class salutatorian. He was instrumental in leading his Trojan football team to a regional semifinalist appearance in 2007 and an area championship in 2008.
Eric, a two-year team captain as a Roadrunner, has started under center 20 times in UTSA’s first two seasons. The Beeville native has led the Roadrunners to 12 wins during that time as they have made the transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision and the Western Athletic Conference. In November, he was named one of 10 finalists for the 2012 Awards and Recognition Association Sportsmanship Award.
Soza has been just as impressive away from the playing field. He is an active member of UTSA’s community service program in addition to serving as the president of the school’s student-athlete advisory committee. Eric also maintains a near-perfect grade-point average (3.95) in kinesiology.
Recently, he was named one of five finalists for the Ninth Annual Coach John Wooden Citizenship Cup Award; the winner will be announced on Tuesday night in a ceremony in Atlanta, Ga.
The 2013 Collegiate Wooden Cup recipient, which is presented annually to the student-athlete who is the most outstanding role model that has made the greatest positive influence in the lives of others, is presented by Athletes for a Better World (ABW). With Mia Hamm, John Lynch, Peyton Manning, Dikembe Mutombo, Cal Ripken, Jr., John Smoltz, Pat Summitt and Andrea Yaeger as previous recipients, the Wooden Cup is becoming one of the most prestigious awards in all of sports. Recipients are considered role models and athletes of excellence both on and off the field.
“It’s an honor to be a finalist for such a prestigious award and to be mentioned in the same breath as John Wooden is amazing,” Soza said. “He is the greatest coach in the history of collegiate athletics, and I try to emulate everything he stood for in my life, both on and off the field. I’m looking forward to an exciting two days in Atlanta, and I want to thank Athletes for a Better World and the award committee for giving me the opportunity to experience it with the other four finalists.”
Recipients of the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup are chosen by a committee chaired by former Georgia Athletics Director Vincent Dooley and other distinguished individuals involved in athletics across the country.