A dedicated ESPNHS team managed this spring's Gatorade Girls Soccer Player of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2012 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.
THE WINNER: Jaden DeGracie
School: Highland (Gilbert, Ariz.)
Athletic achievement: DeGracie led the Hawks to a 22-3 record and the Division I state title this past season. She scored three goals and passed for 41 assists, including five assists in Highland’s four-game run in the state tournament. The Division I, Section 2 Player of the Year and an Arizona Republic All-Arizona First Team selection, DeGracie concluded her junior year with five goals and 56 assists in her prep career.
Academic excellence: DeGracie has maintained a 4.36 weighted GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: The vice president and treasurer of the Highland High student council, she was the co-founder of J&J Pianist, which performs recitals at retirement homes, and has volunteered locally with the Special Olympics, a local literacy-outreach program and as a youth soccer coach.
“If I could put any kid in the state on my team it would be Jaden DeGracie,” said Matt Smith, head coach of rival Corona del Sol (Tempe, Ariz.). “She is the Energizer Bunny out there. She goes hard if they are winning, harder if they are losing. I have focused on her every time I have played them for the last three years.”
THE FUTURE: DeGracie will begin her senior year of high school this fall.