Eye on POY: Colorado 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.

Mark Dotseth

Senior defender, Air Academy (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

2011 Team record: 15-3 (Class 4A)

2011 Team standing: Lost Class 4A state quarterfinals

2011 Goals: 7

2011 Assists: 11

2011 Points per game: 1.00

Career goals: 36

Career assists: 44

Academics: A average

Collegiate destination: Loyola Marymount University

How he’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Had a direct hand in 18 of Air Academy’s 75 goals (24 percent). Led a defense that allowed one goal in three postseason games. Named Most Valuable Player of the 2010 Class 4A state championship match as the Kadets won the state title. Two-time Denver Post Class 4A State Player of the Year. 2011 NSCAA All-American. 2011 Colorado Springs Gazette Boys Soccer Athlete of the Year. Two-time Class 4A First Team All-State selection.

Shane O’Neill

Senior forward/midfielder, Fairview (Boulder, Colo.)

2011 Team record: 13-3-3 (Class 5A)

2011 Team standing: Lost Class 5A second round

2011 Goals: 19

2011 Assists: 6

2011 Points per game: 1.32

Career goals: 48

Career assists: 27

Academics: B average

Collegiate destination: University of Virginia

How he’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Had a direct hand in 25 of Fairview’s 55 goals (45.5 percent). 2011 High School All-American Game West Most Valuable Player. 2011 Denver Post First Team All-Colorado selection. 2011 Front Range Conference Player of the Year. No. 123 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 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.

Ashi Geberkidane: Junior forward, East (Denver, Colo.)

Karsten Hanlin: Senior midfielder, Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village, Colo.)

Mitchell Heinzeroth: Senior defender, East (Denver, Colo.)

Ethan Horvath: Junior goalkeeper, Arapahoe (Centennial, Colo.)

Jesus Martinez: Senior forward, Fort Collins (Colo.)

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.