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.
Junior Forward/Midfielder, Juneau-Douglas High (Juneau, AK)
2012 Team record: 13-2-2
2012 Team standing: Next regular season game vs. Ketchikan, May 11
2012 Goals: 17
2012 Assists: 8
2012 Points per game: 1.47
Career goals: 25
Career assists: 20
Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: HS Junior
How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: MVP of 2011 state title game; Crimson Bears' leading scorer; Won back-to-back state titles.
Senior Midfielder, A.J. Dimond High (Anchorage, AK)
2012 Team record: 11-1
2012 Team standing: Next regular season game vs. Eagle River, May 9
2012 Goals: 7
2012 Assists: 6
2012 Points per game: 1.30
Career goals: 10
Career assists: 11
Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Gonzaga
How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Team has outscored opponents, 61-6. Second Team All-Cook Inlet Conference in 2011; AP Scholar Award; All-State Tournament Team in 2011.
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 2012-12 campaign.
Zak Naylor: Senior Forward, South High (Anchorage, AK)
Austin Portch: Senior Midfielder, Dimond High (Anchorage, AK)
Travis Merritt: Senior Forward, Dimond High (Anchorage, AK)
Kyler Perry: Junior Midfielder, Wasilla High (Wasilla, AK)
Hayden Western: Junior Midfielder, South High (Anchorage, AK)
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.