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: Eric Williams
School: Valley (West Des Moines, Iowa)
Weight: 185 pounds
Athletic achievement: Williams has led the Tigers to a 12-5 record entering this week’s regular-season finale against Mason City (Iowa), scheduled to be played on Monday. He scored 10 goals and passed for 10 assists during the team’s first 17 games. A 2011 Second Team All-State selection and a two-time First Team All-Central Iowa Metropolitan Conference honoree, Williams entered the final game of the regular season with 37 goals and 22 assists in his prep soccer career.
Academic excellence: Williams has maintained a 3.31 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: He has volunteered locally at an area homeless shelter, as a youth academic tutor and as a youth soccer coach.
“We played against Eric Williams and he had the game-winning goal -- basically out of nothing,” said Steve Robertson, head coach of rival Kennedy (Cedar Rapids, Iowa). “He is strong, fast and a finisher. Last year in the state quarterfinals, he scored two goals on us in the first 10 minutes and took our defense apart all game long.”
THE FUTURE: Williams has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on an athletic scholarship at Drake University this fall.