From many, there will be one. While there’s still no guarantee contending athletes will win their own state at this point in the season, a number of elite performers are making a case for Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year consideration. Here’s the scoop on the latest top candidate.
Senior forward, Oak Mountain (Birmingham, Ala.)
Greatness Present: With two weeks remaining in the regular season, Payne has elevated her game, putting on a magic act for the Eagles.
The 5-foot-3 forward recorded back-to-back hat tricks in wins over Pelham (Ala.) and Gardendale (Ala.) last week. Oak Mountain improved to 14-2-2 in preparation of their Class 5A state title defense.
Payne has recorded 12 goals and four assists in her last five games. For the season, she has amassed 24 goals and 12 assists.
Greatness Past: The state’s returning Player of the Year as named by The Birmingham News, Payne scored 34 goals as a junior in 2012 despite missing Oak Mountain’s entire postseason run in order to compete with the U.S. Soccer Under-17 Women’s National Team.
Greatness Future: Payne has signed with Duke.
Make no mistake: The Gatorade State Girls Soccer Player of the Year races aren’t over, and the National POY race is now heating up. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list.Check back for daily updates on the top contenders making their case.