Berkshire's Harrison is Gatorade National Player of the Year

Gatorade/Susan Goldman

In its 30th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Jack Harrison of Berkshire School (Sheffield, Mass.) as its 2014-15 Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year. Harrison was surprised with the news at school by former MLS MVP and two-time Gatorade Missouri Boys Soccer Player of the Year Taylor Twellman.

(Video courtesy of One Tree Forest Films)

“Jack really deserves to be this year’s Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year because he embodies everything the award stands for,” Twellman said. “Not only has Jack excelled on the field, but he’s also a stellar student and is a positive influence in the community. I’m excited to follow his career and watch all the things he will accomplish in the future.”

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Harrison as the nation’s best high school boys soccer player. A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Harrison from more than 400,000 high school boys soccer players nationwide. Harrison is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year award, to be presented at a special ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.

The state’s returning Gatorade Boys Soccer Player of the Year, the 5-foot-10, 155-pound senior midfielder led the Bears to a 19-2-1 record and a third straight New England Prep School Athletic Council Class A championship this past season. Harrison scored 16 goals and passed for 27 assists. One of two players nationally to be chosen as an All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America for both high school and club soccer play, Harrison was also the 2014 Boston Globe All-Scholastic Prep School Offensive Player of the Year. He concluded his prep soccer career with 44 goals and 65 assists.

Harrison has maintained a B average in the classroom. A school ambassador and tour guide, the native of England has volunteered locally as a youth soccer coach and as part of multiple community-service initiatives in association with Berkshire’s Helping Hands organization.

“Jack has great vision and the ability to direct a game, or even take over a game from his midfield role,” said Sheldon Shealer, High School Senior Editor for TopDrawerSoccer.com. “His technical skills are exceptional and he plays well with both feet. He has a knack for delivering key passes, tackles and shots, and he's proven to be a winner. He is a complete player who certainly has the attributes to be a professional some day.”

Harrison has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on an athletic scholarship at Wake Forest University beginning this fall.

“Jack is an exceptional student-athlete who has earned recognition as the nation’s best high school boys soccer player while also excelling in the classroom and making a difference in his community,” said Gatorade Chief Marketing Officer Morgan Flatley. “Jack’s statistics on the field speak for themselves, but even more impressive is the impact he has had on his teammates and the example he sets for younger student-athletes. Jack represents everything we look to celebrate in a Gatorade Player of the Year recipient.”

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.