UHV men’s soccer defender Uriel Garcia was named a 2020 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar first runner-up on Thursday during a virtual awards ceremony in New York.
Garcia, a graduate of UHV with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, was one of three finalist selected for the award. He was recognized from the more than 790 student-athletes from some 42 sports that were nominated for the award.
“We are excited and proud of Uriel to receive this recognition,” said UHV soccer coach Adrian Rigby. “It’s equally exciting for UHV’s student-athletes to be recognized with some of the biggest universities in the country. Uriel has been an exemplary student-athlete during his time here at UHV and we are proud to have his hard work recognized for the impact he hade in the Victoria community.”
Garcia, a 2015 graduate of Pharr-San Juan-Alamo High School, twice has been named a semifinalist for the award. He was also recognized in 2018 in men’s soccer. He was one of 10 semifinalists that includes all collegiate divisions from NAIA to NCAA Division I.
As the name denotes, this edition is a part of a quarter-century legacy of recognizing outstanding minority young men and women who have distinguished themselves in their academic and athletic pursuits.
In addition to their athletic ability, students named Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars must maintain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.5, be at least a sophomore academically, and be active on their campuses or in their communities.
“This is a tremendous honor for me and the UHV soccer program,” said Garcia. “I appreciate the consideration for the award and it shows how important the involvement is with the community, helping others out and being a role model. In the end, it’s a mutual relationship as we help each other out to develop a better community.”
Garcia, who was a four-year member of the UHV soccer team, has been very active in his community, school and team during his time with the Jaguars.
He was recently named the Red River Athletic Conference Character Athlete of the Week in recognition of his service to his school and community.
He has been involved in the Movember cancer awareness program for the past five years, has assisted with Tacos and Beer Run for Wounded Warriors, contribute many hours of his time to Samaritan’s Purse to support Hurricane Harvey recovery and helped decorate a senior citizens home during Christmas.