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: Zach Zurita
School: Bunnell (Stratford, Conn.)
Weight: 155 pounds
Athletic achievement: Zurita led the Bulldogs to a 20-2-2 record and the Class L state championship this past season. He scored 43 goals and passed for 14 assists, including 11 goals and three assists in the state tournament. The 2011 Connecticut Soccer Coaches Association Player of the Year and an All-American selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Zurita had a goal and two assists in Bunnell’s 3-0 win over Avon (Conn.) for the state title. He concluded his prep soccer career with 96 goals and 42 assists.
Academic excellence: Zurita has maintained a B-plus average in the classroom.
Exemplary character: He has volunteered locally as a youth soccer coach and has worked at Soccer & Rugby Imports in Southport.
“Zach Zurita has got real savvy,” said Brian Quinn, Zurita’s club coach with South Central Premier. “He’s very, very skillful, he’s got great instincts in front of the goal and his work rate is very good. He’s one of the best players the state has produced in a long time.”
THE FUTURE: Zurita has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on an athletic scholarship at Monmouth University in New Jersey this fall.