New Mexico Girls Soccer POY: Erika Nelson

A dedicated ESPNHS team managed this past fall's Gatorade State Girls 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 her 21 fellow Gatorade State Fall Girls Soccer Player of the Year winners, click here.

THE WINNER: Erika Nelson


School: Hope Christian (Albuquerque, N.M.)

Grade: Senior

Position: Midfielder

Height: 5-foot-9


Athletic achievement: Nelson scored 15 goals and passed for 22 assists this past season, leading the Huskies (17-5) to the Class A-AAA state semifinals. The 2011 Class A-AAA State Player of the Year, she is a two-time Class A-AAA District 4 Player of the Year. In her final two years of prep soccer, Nelson recorded 30 goals and 40 assists.

Academic excellence: Nelson has maintained a 4.23 unweighted GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: A member of the Hope Christian School student council, she has volunteered locally at an animal shelter and as part of multiple community service initiatives in association with her church youth group.


“Erika Nelson is a complete package,” said Chris Brennan, Nelson’s coach with the Rio Vista club team. “She’s the best athlete I’ve ever coached. She’s quick and can run further than anyone else on the team. She’s got a little bit of everything.”

THE FUTURE: Nelson has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on an athletic scholarship at the University of Maryland beginning this fall.