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, Brookwood (Snellville, Ga.)
2012 Team record: 17-3
2012 Team standing: Class AAAAA state quarterfinal vs. Lassiter (Marietta, Ga.) on Friday
2012 Goals: 15
2012 Assists: 14
Career goals: 43
Career assists: 25
Academics: A-plus average
Collegiate destination: Stanford University
How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Averaging 1.93 points per game this season. 2011 Region 8-AAAAA Forward of the Year. 2011 Gwinnett County Scholar Athlete of the Year. No. 57 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNHS.
Senior midfielder, Walton (Marietta, Ga.)
2012 Team record: 12-5-1
2012 Team standing: Class AAAAA state quarterfinal vs. Parkview (Gwinnett, Ga.) on Friday
2012 Goals: 9
2012 Assists: 11
Career goals: 21
Career assists: 30
Academics: A-minus average
Collegiate destination: UCLA
How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Averaging 1.18 points per game this season. U.S. Soccer Under-17 Men’s National Team member. 2011 NSCAA Youth All-American. 2011 Class AAAAA First Team All-State selection. No. 44 ranked recruit in Class of 0212 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.
Shaban Abousaud: Junior defender, Lassiter (Marietta, Ga.)
Preston Gayton: Senior midfielder/forward, Starr’s Mill (Fayetteville, Ga.)
Nyambi Jabang: Senior forward, South Paulding (Douglasville, Ga.)
Reed Norton: Senior defender, Greenbrier (Evans, Ga.)
Jeremy Rector: Junior forward, Peachtree Ridge (Suwanee, Ga.)
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.