Since he was a senior at Davis High School in 2008-09, Blue Devil soccer fans — and people from the academic world — have known that Andisheh Bagheri was special.
His four years at UC San Diego have featured similar success on and off the field, and now, he has been awarded an NCAA postgraduate scholarship.
The prestigious honor caps a particularly impressive 2013-14 academic year for Bagheri.
A central midfielder for the Tritons in the fall, he was named a second-team All-American by both the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and Daktronics, as well as earning a spot on the Capital One Academic All-America First Team.
Returning to the program to play his fourth season as a graduate student, Bagheri put together a career year in 2013, entering with two career goals and producing a team-best 10 goals and two assists for 22 total points. Six of those 10 goals were game-winners, a total that leads all players in the California Collegiate Athletic Association.
The big year helped UCSD to its most successful season since moving up to NCAA Division II in 2000. The Tritons, who were ranked as high as sixth in the nation and finished ninth, went 14-3-5 overall, and went 11-2-3 in the CCAA to make their first conference title match since 2005. They also reached the NCAA West Regional final.
Off the field, Bagheri maintained a 3.57 cumulative grade-point average in attaining his undergraduate degree in physiology and neuroscience in June of 2013 as a student at Marshall College. He is already pursuing his graduate degree within the parameters of the contiguous bachelor’s/master’s program in UCSD’s division of biological sciences.
“Andi’s been a massive part of this program,” said Tritons head coach Jon Pascale. “He had an amazing career, capped off with a great final season during which he was doing his graduate schoolwork. He’s one of the best guys you will ever meet, and he’s a committed student, and has been for the duration of the time that he was here.”
The NCAA postgraduate scholarship will go toward his master’s degree in biology, which he hopes to complete this July. Bagheri plans on then applying to medical school, possibly after attempting still to continue his soccer playing career.
“I am very honored to have received this scholarship,” Bagheri said. “It means a lot to me, and speaks for all of the hard work I have put in at UCSD these past few years, both athletically and academically. The university and the soccer team have been a couple of the most important parts of my life, and I could not have received this scholarship without their support. It’s a great way to end my collegiate career.”
The NCAA awards up to 174 postgraduate scholarships annually, with 87 going to men and 87 to women.