The window on the Gatorade State Boys Soccer Player of the Year race is closing, and the search for elite student-athletes 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 forward, Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.)
2012 Team record: 24-3
2012 Team standing: Division I state champions
2012 Goals: 41
2012 Assists: 14
Career goals: 72
Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: Colorado's Metropolitan State College
How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: 2012 East Valley Tribune Player of the Year. 2012 All-Arizona selection as named by the Arizona Republic. Netted four goals (state playoff record) in a 5-0 win over Chaparral (Scottsdale, Ariz.) in the Division I state semifinals.
Junior forward, Brophy Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.)
2012 Team record: 21-3-1
2012 Team standing: Lost Division I state championship match
2012 Goals: 50
2012 Assists: 9
Career goals: 87
Career assists: 14
Academics: A-minus average
Collegiate destination: University of Virginia (verbal)
How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: 2010-11 Gatorade Arizona Boys Soccer Player of the Year. Member of the U.S. Soccer Under-17 Men's National Team player pool. Two-time Arizona Republic Big Schools Player of the Year. Two-time First Team All-State selection.
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.
Eric Carbajal: Sophomore forward, Apollo (Glendale, Ariz.)
Vladislav Kalinteev: Senior midfielder, Saguaro (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
Kiyan Pirgheybi: Senior goalie, Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.)
Cody Schultz: Junior forward, Gilbert (Ariz.)
Michael Truty: Senior defender, Notre Dame Prep (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
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.