Campbell named Gatorade Arkansas Girls Soccer Player of the Year

File photo by Rick Nation

CHICAGO — In its 31st year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Caroline Campbell of Bryant High School as its 2015-16 Gatorade Arkansas Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Campbell is the first Gatorade Arkansas Girls Soccer Player of the Year to be chosen from Bryant High School.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Campbell as Arkansas’s best high school girls soccer player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year award to be announced in May, Campbell joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy, N.Y.), Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, Mich.), Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central HS, Ill.), Alexi Lalas (1987-88, Cranbrook HS, Mich.), Heather O’Reilly (2001-02, East Brunswick HS, N.J.) and Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.).

The 5-foot-4 junior forward scored 24 goals and passed for 12 assists this past season, leading the Lady Hornets (20-1-1) to the Class 7A state tournament semifinals. A two-time Class 7A First Team All-State selection, Campbell led Bryant to the 2015 7A state title. A member of the U.S. Youth Soccer Region III Olympic Development Program team, she concluded her junior year with 105 goals and 36 assists in her prep soccer career.

Campbell has maintained a weighted 4.16 GPA in the classroom. She has volunteered locally at a food pantry as well as on behalf of the Special Olympics and as a youth soccer coach.

“Caroline Campbell is a complete player,” said Michael Klucher, head coach of North Little Rock High. “We have had no answer for her. Her soccer IQ is the best I have seen in a young player. When she isn’t scoring, she is setting up the next goal through her ability to pass in tight spaces.”

Campbell has made a verbal commitment to play soccer on an athletic scholarship at the University of Arkansas beginning in the fall of 2017.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

Campbell joins recent Gatorade Arkansas Girls Soccer Players of the Year McKenzie Dixon (2014-15 & 2013-14, Bentonville High School), Tayler Estrada (2012-13, 2011-12 & 2010–11, Bentonville High School), Anne Mitchell (2009-10, Fayetteville High School), April Miller (2008–09, Bentonville High School), Mary Pat Hardin (2007-08, Mount St. Mary Academy), and Alyvia Rogers (2006-07, Rogers High School) among the state’s list of former award winners.

For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of past winners and the announcement of the Gatorade National Player of the Year, visit www.gatorade.com/poy.

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