POY WATCH: Florida Girls Soccer

POY WATCH: Florida Girls Soccer

Gatorade Player of the Year

POY WATCH: Florida Girls Soccer

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The window on the Gatorade State Girls Soccer Player of the Year race is open, and the search for elite student-athletes 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 USA TODAY team that administers the program’s selection process.

Jessica Hoyt
Senior forward, St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

2012-13 Team record: 22-1-1
2012-13 Team standing: Class 5A state quarterfinals vs. Palm Beach Central (Jan. 29)
2012-13 Goals: 27

Collegiate destination: Undecided

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: The 2012 Class 5A Player of the Year, Hoyt scored 22 goals and passed for 17 assists to lead the Raiders to the 2012 Class 5A state title as a junior. Hoyt has STA three wins away from a repeat championship.

Yulie Lopez
Senior forward, Palm Beach Central (Wellington, Fla.)

2012-13 Team record: 20-1
2012-13 Team standing: Class 5A state quarterfinals vs. Palm Beach Central (Jan. 29)
2012-13 Goals: 47

Collegiate destination: Florida State (verbal)

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Lopez transferred to Palm Beach Central from American Heritage School (Plantation, Fla.) for her senior year and has led the Broncos to a school-record 20 wins and the state quarterfinals. Her 45 goals are also a school record. Lopez, a member of the U.S. Soccer Under-18 Women’s National Team player pool, scored 52 goals last year, leading American Heritage to the Class 2A state title.

Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Girls Soccer Player of the Year race isn’t over. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are others who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2012-13 campaign.

Miranda Freeman: Senior midfielder, Atlantic Community (Delray Beach, Fla.)
Lauren Green: Junior forward, Apopka (Fla.)
Brooke Sharp: Senior forward, Ponte Vedra (Fla.)
Jackie Stengel: Senior forward, Viera (Fla.)

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POY WATCH: Florida Girls Soccer
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