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Hat Trick Hero: Lenhart Named MLS Player of the Week

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June 14, 2011
Bobbi Salcido

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Former Azusa Pacific soccer player Steven Lenhart, a fourth-year MLS forward in his first season with the San Jose Earthquakes, was named MLS Player of the Week for the first time in his career and also made the Team of the Week for the second time this year.

Lenhart was honored after scoring a hat trick and assisting another goal in the Earthquakes’ 4-2 victory over D.C. United on Saturday, June 11. Lenhart, a 24-year old striker acquired by San Jose in January from Columbus, tied the game at 1-1 in the 15th minute and pounced on a loose ball inside the area in the 22nd minute. To start the second half, Lenhart set up teammate Simon Dawkins to overtake United for good, before finishing his career night with his third goal on a 60th-minute header.

The hat trick gave Lenhart four goals in his last two games, and his four-goal season total ranks ninth in the MLS. He ranks seventh in goals per 90 minutes among players who have appeared in at least eight games this season, and Saturday’s hat trick was the fifth in San Jose’s club history. Another product of Lenhart’s three-goal, one-assist outburst was a $1,000 donation to local youth soccer programs as part of the Wells Fargo Goals for Education program. For each goal San Jose scores in 2011, Wells Fargo will donate $250 to Bay Area soccer programs.

Lenhart, a three-year standout for Azusa Pacific with 38 goals and 12 assists in 61 games in his career, helped lead the Cougars to the program’s only NAIA National Championship in 2007. That year, he was named GSAC Player of the Year and NAIA All-American first team, and he was drafted that winter by the Columbus Crew. Lenhart scored 13 goals over three seasons in Columbus before the January 13 trade that sent him to San Jose in exchange for a first-round draft pick.

The MLS Player of the Week is selected each week by the North American Soccer Reporters.