East Central College sophomores Matt Hampton and Zeke Little were named to the 2015 Academic All-America second team for NJCAA Division I men’s soccer.

 Impressively enough, Hampton and Little were the only players in Region 16 to receive All-American honors.

Goalkeeper Little played in 16 games and tallied 79 saves throughout the season. The Quincy, Illinois native spoke with The Cornerstone about finding a healthy balance between the field and the classroom.

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“I think the hardest part about being a collegiate athlete is finding the time to get all of your studies and schoolwork done in such a short amount of time. Some people do not realize how much time and effort athletes have to give in order to keep their grades up,” Little said.

Little has gained more than just notable athleticism from his two seasons at ECC.

“The most valuable thing I have learned through sports that I have carried with me to the classroom is my work ethic. Playing a sport is a huge commitment and can teach you valuable life lessons that can help prepare you to be successful in the future,” Little said “Having a good work ethic is just one of many things that have helped me be successful on and off the field.”

Midfielder Matt Hampton contributed to the Falcons’ successful season with seven goals in seventeen games.

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“It’s kind of difficult at some points,” Hampton said. “But most of the time soccer games and practices are set in stone so I’m able to plan out my week according to the upcoming events for both soccer and school and from that I’m able to set aside time where I can get my assignments and studying done.”

The Falcons ended the season with a 16-4-1 record. With their honorable contributions, Little and Hampton will be missed by the athletic department and school alike.

“You really have to work hard to succeed. No one really heard about East Central College soccer until this year. This year we worked hard enough to end up top 20 in the nation and I think that’s the same as in the classroom. You can’t become an All-American scholar without working hard,” Hampton said. “Even if it is difficult, you have to find that drive.”

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