Eye on POY: North Dakota boys soccer

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.

Patrick Fernandez

Senior Forward, Bismarck High (Bismarck, ND)

2011 Team record: 13-4-0

2011 Team standing: Lost in state title game

2011 Goals: 25

2011 Assists: 10

2011 Points per game: 2.06

Career goals: 54

Career assists: 26

Academics: B average

Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Three-time First Team All-State; All-State Tournament team; led state in goals scored.

Jacob Weiler

Junior Midfielder, Fargo South High (Fargo, ND)

2011 Team record: 8-10-2

2011 Team standing: Finished fifth in state tournament

2011 Goals: 11

2011 Assists: 13

2011 Points per game: 1.2

Career goals: 20

Career assists: 26

Academics: A average

Collegiate destination: HS Junior

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: First Team All-State; All-State Tournament Team; All-Conference.

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.

Kevin Keller: St. Mary's High (Bismarck, ND) Senior midfielder

Papa-Kwesi Annan: Minot High (Minot, ND) Junior forward

Brad Kelly: Century High (Bismarck, ND) Sophomore midfielder

Cam Hager: Shanley High (Fargo, ND) Senior forward

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.