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Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Eye on POY: Arkansas boys soccer

By Eric Snyder

The window on the Gatorade State Boys Soccer Player of the Year race is closing, and the search for elite student-athletes 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.

Nelson Landaverde
Senior midfielder, Springdale (Ark.)

2012 Team record: 17-1
2012 Team standing: Class 7A state tournament begins on Thursday

2012 Goals: 6
2012 Assists: 13
Career goals: 23
Career assists: 25

Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Two-time Class 7A First Team All-State selection. 2011 Class 7A All-State Tournament Team selection. Four-year starter.

Jack O'Connor
Senior midfielder, Bentonville (Ark.)

2012 Team record: 7-4-2
2012 Team standing: Class 7A state tournament begins on Thursday

2012 Goals: 1
2012 Assists: 3
Career goals: 11
Career assists: 12

Academics: A-minus average
Collegiate destination: Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: 2011 Class 7A First Team All-State selection. 2011 Class 7A All-State Tournament Team 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.

Wes Carson: Junior midfielder, Southside (Fort Smith, Ark.)
David Cortes: Senior midfielder/forward, Clarksville (Ark.)
Logan Hampton: Junior forward/midfielder, Conway (Ark.)
Hayden Heverling: Senior midfielder, Little Rock Central (Little Rock, Ark.)
Hunter Weber: Senior goalkeeper, Little Rock Central (Little Rock, Ark.)

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.