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.
Junior goalkeeper, Downingtown West (Downingtown, Pa.)
2011 Team record: 12-7-1 (Class AAA)
2011 Team standing: Lost Class AAA, District One quarterfinals
2011 Goals allowed (AVG.): 12 (0.75)
2011 Saves (%): 121 (91.0)
2011 Shutouts: 8
Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: University of Maryland (verbal)
How he’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Recorded 11 saves in Downingtown West's 1-0 loss to North Penn in the District One quarterfinals. 2011 U.S. Soccer Under-18 Men's National Team member. 2009 U14 National Team captain. 2011 First Team All-Ches-Mont League selection. 2010 First Team All-Inter-Ac League selection. No. 11 recruit in Class of 2013 as rated by ESPNHS.
Junior forward, Haverford School (Haverford, Pa.)
2011 Team record: 18-2-1 (Pennsylvania Independent Schools)
2011 Team standing: PIS state champions
2011 Goals: 39
2011 Assists: 8
2011 Points per game: 2.24
Career goals: 63
Career assists: 18
Academics: A-minus average
Collegiate destination: Georgetown University (verbal)
How he’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Scored both goals for the Haverford School in its 2-1 win over Episcopal Academy in the PIS state final. Netted the game-winning goal in 13 of the Fords' 18 wins. Directly involved in 47 of his team's 82 goals (57.3 percent). Tallied at least one goal in all but three of Haverford's games, including three four-goal games, two hat tricks and eight two-goal games. 2011 First Team All-Inter-Ac League selection. 2011 Southeastern Pennsylvania Coaches Association All-Star. No. 17 ranked recruit in Class of 2013 as rated by ESPNHS.
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.
Danny Gonzalez: Junior midfielder, Conestoga (Berwyn, Pa.)
Drew Klingenberg: Senior midfielder, Pine-Richland (Gibsonia, Pa.)
Jared Martinelli: Senior forward, Cumberland Valley (Mechanicsburg, Pa.)
Melvin Snoh: Senior forward, Malvern Prep (Malvern, Pa.)
Colt Storm: Junior midfielder, Cumberland Valley (Mechanicsburg, Pa.)
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.