The fall soccer season may have concluded, but the search for Gatorade State Boys Soccer Players of the Year is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.
Senior defender/midfielder, Greensboro Day School (Greensboro, N.C.)
2011 Team record: 21-3 (North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association)
2011 Team standing: Lost NCISAA Class 3A state championship game
2011 Goals: 19
2011 Assists: 26
2011 Points per game: 1.88
Career goals: 53
Career assists: 64
Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: University of North Carolina
How he’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Led a defense that allowed 14 goals in 24 games with 16 shutouts. Directly responsible for 45 of the Bengals' 91 goals (49.5 percent). Scored the lone goal for Greensboro Day School in its 2-1 penalty-kick loss to Wesleyan Christian (High Point, N.C.) in the state championship game. Added a goal and two assists in the Bengals’ first two postseason games. 2011 U.S. Soccer Under-18 Men's National Team player pool. 2011 North Carolina Soccer Coaches Association State Player of the Year. 2011 NSCAA All-American selection. Three-time Piedmont Athletic Conference of Independent Schools Player of the Year. Two-time Guilford County All-Area Player of the Year. No. 21 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNHS.
Junior midfielder, West Forsyth (Clemmons, N.C.)
2011 Team record: 20-3-2 (Class 4A)
2011 Team standing: Lost Class 4A district round
2011 Goals: 31
2011 Assists: 21
2011 Points per game: 2.08
Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: University of North Carolina (verbal)
How he’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Directly responsible for 52 of West Forsyth’s 62 goals this past season (83.9 percent). Notched two goals and an assist as West Forsyth edged South Mecklenburg, 3-2, in the first round of the state tournament. 2011 Central Piedmont Conference Player of the Year. 2011 North Carolina Soccer Coaches Association Class 4A First Team All-State selection. No. 119 ranked recruit in Class of 2013 as rated by ESPNHS.
Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Boys Soccer Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are some more of many who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2011-12 campaign.
Kellen Foster: Junior midfielder, Green Hope (Cary, N.C.)
Roland Minogue: Junior midfielder, Charlotte Catholic (Charlotte, N.C.)
Eric O’Brien: Junior forward, Hunt (Wilson, N.C.)
Marco Sunol: Junior midfielder, Greensboro Country Day School (Greensboro, N.C.)
Nick Williams: Senior midfielder, Sanderson (Raleigh, N.C.)
Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Player of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.