The fall soccer season may have concluded, but the search for Gatorade State Boys Soccer Players of the Year 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.
Senior midfielder/defender, Grand Blanc (Mich.)
2011 Team record: 17-5 (Division 1)
2011 Team standing: Lost Division 1, Regional 4 semifinals
2011 Goals: 8
2011 Assists: 7
2011 Points per game: 0.68
Career goals: 33
Career assists: 30
Academics: A-minus average
Collegiate destination: University of Virginia
How he’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Led a defense that allowed 21 goals in 22 games despite graduating its entire 2010 corps, including the goalie. 2011 National Soccer Coaches Association of America National High School Player of the Year. U.S. Men's Soccer Under-17 Men's National Team member. 2011 Michigan Soccer Coaches Association Mr. Soccer. Two-time Dream Team selection. Four-time First Team All-Kensington Lakes Athletic Association selection. No. 7 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNHS.
Senior defender, Canton (Plymouth, Mich.)
2011 Team record: 24-1-2 (Division 1)
2011 Team standing: Division 1 state champions
2011 Goals: 17
2011 Assists: 6
2011 Points per game: 0.85
Career goals: 33
Career assists: 20
Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: Western Michigan University
How he’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Led a defense that allowed 15 goals in 27 games. 2011 Dream Team selection; NSCAA All-American. 2010 Division 1 Second Team All-State selection. Three-time First Team All-Kensington Lakes Athletic Association 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.
Sean Conerty: Senior midfielder, Forest Hills Central (Forest Hills, Mich.)
Jerome Cristobal: Senior midfielder, Stevenson (Sterling Heights, Mich.)
Tyler Jugon: Junior midfielder, Clawson (Mich.)
Matt Smolinski: Junior goalkeeper, Troy (Mich.)
Jason Stacy: Senior forward, Forest Hills Central (Forest Hills, Mich.)
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.