A dedicated ESPNHS team managed this spring's Gatorade Boys Soccer Player of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.
For his 19 fellow Gatorade State Spring Boys Soccer Player of the Year winners, click here.
For the 30 Gatorade State Fall Boys Soccer Player of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Cristian Mata
School: Union (Tulsa, Okla.)
Athletic achievement: Mata scored 22 goals and passed for eight assists this past season, leading the Redskins (13-2-1) to the Class 6A state championship game and a No. 11 national ranking in the ESPNHS Fab 50. He is a three-time All-District selection and a two-time member of the Tulsa All-Metro Team.
Academic excellence: Mata has maintained a 3.10 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: He has volunteered locally on behalf of youth soccer programs and camps.
“Mata is phenomenal,” said Craig Liddell, head coach at Enid (Okla.). “He’s so clever with the ball, and he’s a great finisher. He’s a real difference-maker.”
THE FUTURE: Mata has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on scholarship at Tulsa University this fall.