Eye on POY: Massachusetts 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.

Mike O’Brien

Senior midfielder, Concord-Carlisle (Concord, Mass.)

2011 Team record: 15-3-1 (Division 2)

2011 Team standing: Lost Division 2 state championship game

2011 Goals: 20

2011 Assists: 3

2011 Points per game: 1.00

Career goals: 46

Career assists: 11

Academics: A average

Collegiate destination: University of Pennsylvania

How he’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Tallied four goals and one assist in Concord-Carlisle’s seven-game run to the Division 2 state championship match. Directly responsible for 23 of the Patriots' 63 goals (36.5 percent). 2011 Boston Globe Division 2 Player of the Year. 2011 NSCAA State Player of the Year. 2011 NSCAA Scholar Athlete All-American selection. Three-time Dual County League All-Star.

Oliver White

Senior forward, Noble & Greenough School (Dedham, Mass.)

2011 Team record: 13-3-1 (Independent School League)

2011 Team standing: Lost in New England Prep School Athletic Council Class A quarterfinals

2011 Goals: 15

2011 Assists: 6

2011 Points per game: 1.24

Career goals: 41

Career assists: 16

Academics: B average

Collegiate destination: School Name (commitment)

How he’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Directly responsible for 21 of the Bulldogs’ 45 goals (46.7 percent). Two-time ISL Offensive Player of the Year. Two-time Boston Globe All-Scholastic 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.

Devin Devoy: Senior forward, Bishop Feehan (Attleboro, Mass.)

Zachary Herivaux: Freshman midfielder, Beaver Country Day School (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)

Jack Hilger: Senior midfielder, Hopkinton (Mass.)

Jonathan Mendoza: Senior midfielder, Northfield Mount Hermon School (Gill, Mass.)

Chris Murray: Senior midfielder, Canton (Mass.)

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.