Texas Boys' Soccer Player of the Year

Updated: August 25, 2008, 5:19 PM ET
ESPNRISE.com

In its third decade of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, Gatorade joined with RISE Magazine to name senior midfielder SAM GARZA of MARCUS HIGH in Flower Mound as its 2007-08 Texas Boys' Soccer Player of the Year.

The 5-foot-11, 165-pound senior midfielder scored 14 goals and passed for 10 assists this season, leading the Marauders (26-3-3) to the Class 5A state championship. An All-American selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Garza netted a goal in a 2-0 regional semifinal victory against Franklin and recorded the lone tally in a 1-0 regional final win over Jesuit Prep, earning State Tournament Most Valuable Player honors. The All-Area Player of the Year as named by the Dallas Morning News and an All-State selection by the Texas Association of Soccer Coaches, he concluded his career with 58 points and 34 assists.

Garza has maintained an A-minus average in the classroom. He participates in multiple community-service initiatives, organizing a soccer clinic for special needs children on behalf of the Greater Lawrence Family YMCA, playing bingo with the elderly at the Golden Acres nursing home in Dallas, mentoring underprivileged children at K.B. Polk Elementary School and volunteering as part of Christian Community Action, a faith-based organization dedicated to ministering to the poor.

"If you take an eye off him, he's gone," said Kevin Smith, Garza's club coach with Solar SC. "He's got that different gear. They have to watch Sammy Garza, or he's going to catch them with their knickers down."

Garza has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer at the University of Denver this fall.