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Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Kentucky Boys Soccer POY: Neil Henley

By Ben Rohrbach

A dedicated ESPNHS team managed this past fall'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 29 fellow Gatorade State Fall Boys Soccer Player of the Year winners, click here.

THE WINNER: Neil Henley

THE BASICS

School: St. Xavier (Louisville, Ky.)
Grade: Senior
Position: Forward
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 170 pounds

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Henley led the Tigers to a 27-1-1 record and the state championship this past season. He scored 29 goals and passed for 18 assists, including eight goals and eight assists in eight postseason games. A two-time First Team All-State selection and a 2011 All-Tournament honoree, Henley was an All-South Region pick by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. He concluded his prep soccer career with 49 goals and 32 assists.

Academic excellence: Henley has maintained an A average in the classroom.

Exemplary character: He has volunteered locally at the Louisville Zoo, as a youth soccer coach and on behalf of fundraising campaigns to benefit cancer research and the hungry.

THE PRAISE

“Neil Henley isn’t a flashy player, but he is fast, can score from anywhere, has great size for balls in the air and also plays physical without playing dirty,” said Brian Durbin, head coach of Oldham County (Buckner, Ky.). “He works off the ball to get open and creates offense for his team.”

THE FUTURE: Henley has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on an athletic scholarship at Xavier University this fall.