For a list of the other Gatorade State Boys Soccer POYs, click here.
THE WINNER: Nick Downs
School: CMR (Great Falls, Mont.)
Weight: 155 pounds
Athletic achievement: The returning Gatorade Player of the Year, Downs scored 12 goals and passed for eight assists this past season, leading the Rustlers (8-5-2) to the Class AA state semifinals. A three-time All-State selection and the 2012 National Soccer Coaches Association of America State Player of the Year, he is already a member of the CMR Hall of Fame. Downs concluded his prep soccer career with 44 goals and 23 assists.
Academic excellence: Downs has maintained a 3.54 GPA.
Exemplary character: He has volunteered locally with the Wounded Warrior project, serving the needs of wounded veterans. He also founded the Kick for Nick program, offering his skills as a soccer coach in exchange for donated soccer balls sent to children in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“Nick Downs is by far the best all-around player in the state,” said Eric Zahler, head coach of Butte (Mont.). “This year he expanded his talent as a distributor, not just as a goal scorer. He is very dangerous from any position on the field.”
THE FUTURE: Downs will attend North Carolina-Greensboro.