Gatorade® National Boys Soccer Player Of The Year: Abu Danladi Former MLS Cup MVP and Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year Alecko Eskandarian Surprises Standout with Elite Honor

LOS OLIVOS, Calif., May 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In its 29th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Abu Danladi of Dunn School (Los Olivos, Calif.) as its 2013-14 Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year. Danladi was surprised with the news at school by former MLS All-Star Alecko Eskandarian, who earned Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year honors in 1999-00.

"Abu really deserves to be this year's Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year because he embodies everything the award stands for," said Eskandarian. "Not only has Abu excelled on the field, but he's also a stellar student and is a positive influence in the community. I'm excited to follow his career and watch all the things he will accomplish in the future."

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes Danladi as the nation's best high school boys soccer player.  A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Danladi from more than 400,000 high school boys soccer players nationwide. Danladi is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year award, to be presented at a special ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.

The 5-foot-10, 175-pound senior forward scored 25 goals and passed for 15 assists this past season, leading the Earwigs (9-3-2) to the Southern Section Division VI Tournament. A three-time team MVP, Danladi is a two-time Southern Section Division VI First Team selection and is ranked as the nation's No. 22 recruit in the Class of 2014 by College Soccer News.

Danladi has maintained a 3.13 GPA in the classroom. He has volunteered locally at a nature reserve, as a youth soccer coach and as a summer camp counselor.

"Abu has great first touch and an explosive first step to beat defenders and create space," said Sheldon Shealer, National Editor for "He is very effective on the left wing and shows the ability to finish, as well as set up opponents."

Danladi has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on an athletic scholarship at UCLA this fall.

"Without question, Abu is deserving of recognition as the nation's best high school boys soccer player based on his statistics on the field and the impact his accomplishments have had on Dunn's success," said Gatorade Vice President, Brand Marketing Morgan Flatley. "But he is also a shining example to peers and aspiring young athletes of what a leader and a student-athlete should be. He represents everything we hope for in a Gatorade Player of the Year recipient."

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.

Former notable Gatorade National Players of the Year include:

  • Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning
  • WNBA all-time leading scorer and rebounder Lisa Leslie
  • NFL all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith
  • Two-time beach volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh
  • Three-time 200-meter World Champion Allyson Felix

For more information on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of former winners, and future announcement dates, visit the Gatorade Player of the Year Web site at, on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at













Abu Danladi

Cristian Roldan

Ema Boateng

Luis Rendon

Soony Saad

Dillon Powers

Chris Agorsor

Dunn/Los Olivos, CA

El Rancho/Pico Rivera, CA

Cate School/Carpinteria, CA

Cosby High School/Midlothian, VA

Dearborn High School/Dearborn, MI

Plano Senior/Plano, TX

McDonough School/Owings Mills, MD

High School Senior

University of Washington

UC Santa Barbara


Sporting Kansas City

Colorado Rapids

Richmond Kickers


Brayan Martinez

West Orange HS/West Orange, NJ

Puebla FC


Eric Alexander

Portage Central/Portage, MI

New York Red Bulls


Lee Nguyen

Plano East Senior/Plano, TX

New England Revolution


Patrick Phelan

Wilbraham & Monson Acad./Wilbraham, MA

San Antonio Scorpions


Greg Dalby

Poway/Poway, CA

Univ. of Notre Dame (Coach)


Jordan Harvey

Capistrano Valley/Mission Viejo, CA

Vancouver Whitecaps


Ned Grabavoy

Lincoln Way/New Lenox, IL

Real Salt Lake


Alecko Eskandarian

Bergen Catholic/Oradell, NJ

Retired from MLS


Kyle Martino

Staples, Westport/CT

Retired from MLS


Nick Downing

Eastlake/Redmond, WA

Retired from MLS


Nick Garcia

Bishop Lynch/Dallas, TX

Semi-Retired from MLS


Andy Kirk

Marquette University/Milwaukee, WI

Retired from MLS


Pierre Venditti

Jonathon Law/Milford, CT

U. of Maryland Grad


Andriy Shapowal

Kenston High/Chagrin Falls, OH

U. of Virginia Grad


Mike Fisher

Batavia/Batavia, IL

U. of Virginia Grad


Matt McKeon

De Smet Jesuit/St. Louis, MO

Saint Louis U. Grad


Claudio Reyna

St. Benedict's Prep/Newark, NJ

Retired from MLS


Todd Haskins

Howard/Ellicott City, MD

U. of N. Carolina Grad


Chris Henderson

Cascade/Everett, WA

Retired from MLS


Lyle Yorks

E.O. Smith/Storrs, CT

U. of Virginia Grad


John Gwin

Boise/Boise, ID

Duke U. Grad


Kevin Hundelt

Aquinas-Mercy/Hazelwood, MO

So. Illinois U. Grad

SOURCE Gatorade


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