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.
THE WINNER: Nelson Landaverde
School: Springdale (Ark.)
Weight: 150 pounds
Athletic achievement: Landaverde has led the Bulldogs to an 18-1 record and a berth in the Class 7A state final against Catholic (Little Rock, Ark.), scheduled for Friday. He scored six goals and passed for 13 assists through 19 games. The 7A West Conference Most Valuable Player, Landaverde is a two-time Class 7A First Team All-State selection and a four-year starter.
Academic excellence: Landaverde has maintained a B average in the classroom.
Exemplary character: He has volunteered locally as part of a fundraising campaign to benefit ALS research and has served as a youth soccer coach and mentor.
“Nelson Landaverde is the leader of their team,” said Ryan Lawrence, head coach of rival Catholic. “He dictates the game for Springdale. It sounds funny, but it’s like he has a remote control. He takes the game from left to right, speeds things up and slows it down, and the other players follow his lead.”
THE FUTURE: Landaverde remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.