Hungarian from Grand View University becomes 4th Ocean City defender to win the honor
The Premier Development League (PDL) announced the All-Conference teams for the 2017 season and for the third year in a row, and the fifth time in the last six years, the Ocean City Nor'easters had a player on the list. Ocean City defender Daniel Kozma (Budapest, Hungary / Grand View) was one of the four Eastern Conference defenders to be singled out as the best at the position this season.
Kozma was a regular on the backline for the Nor'easters this season, playing 12 games, with four of those games ending in a shutout. He was a major part of a defense that finished the campaign with a team 1.00 goals against average, which breaks the Nor'easters' PDL club record for a 14-game season. And while it's just a regular season award, it's worth noting that Kozma also played 120 minutes without allowing a goal in the club's Lamar Hunt US Open Cup match against professional side Harrisburg City Islanders (USL). The game finished scoreless and Ocean City fell in penalty kicks. It was Ocean City's sixth clean sheet against a pro team. No amateur team in the country has more.
Kozma also scored a pair of goals in the opening weekend of the PDL season. He produced an 83rd minute goal to put the Nor'easters' season opener out of reach with a 4-1 home win over Evergreen FC on May 19. When they took on the same Hammers two days later at the Beach House, he scored an 89th minute equalizer. Fellow defender Fraser Colmer scored the game-winner two minutes later in stoppage time to complete the biggest comback in club history with a 3-2 win.
"This is a well-deserved post-season award for Daniel," said Nor'easters head coach John Thompson. "He was our most consistent player throughout the season. He was cool, calm and collected both in the attack and in defense. He was a pleasure to watch."
Kozma is the first Ocean City defender since John Fletcher in 2010 to be named to the All-Conference team, and the fourth overall, joining Fletcher, Chris Williams (2004), and current Nor'easters head coach John Thompson (2004, 2005).
Kozma will return to Des Moines, Iowa this fall where he will continue his college career at Grand View University. Last season, as a freshman, he started 21 of the team's 23 games, scored one goal and helped the Vikings reach the NAIA national semifinals. Now, entering just his sophomore season, Kozma has a bright future ahead of him.