Gatorade® National Boys Soccer Player Of The Year: Cristian Roldan

Former U.S. National Team Star and 1988 Gatorade Michigan Boys Soccer Player of the Year Alexi Lalas Surprises Standout with Elite Honor

May 20, 2013, 15:35 ET from Gatorade

PICO RIVERA, Calif., May 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In its 28th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Cristian Roldan of El Rancho High School (Pico Rivera, Calif.) as its 2012-13 Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year.  Roldan was surprised with the news in class by former U.S. National Team and MLS standout Alexi Lalas.

"When I received the state award for Michigan in 1988, it was such a special moment for me as an athlete.  I'm grateful to be a part of this moment for Cristian, who is truly a phenomenal student-athlete on and off the pitch," said Lalas. "Gatorade has been on the sidelines fueling athletic performance for years, so to be recognized by a brand that understands the game and truly helps athletes perform is a huge honor for these kids."

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 Roldan as the nation's best high school boys soccer player.  A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Roldan from nearly 400,000 boys soccer players nationwide. Roldan 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-7, 165-pound senior midfielder and forward led the Dons to a 29-2-1 record and the CIF-Southern Section Division III crown this past season. Roldan scored 54 goals and passed for 31 assists as El Rancho also captured the Division I title at the CIF Southern California Regional Soccer Championships. He was named the Southern Section Division III Most Valuable Player. Roldan concluded his prep career with 94 goals and 71 assists despite missing all but two games of his freshman year with an arm injury. He also earned Southern Section Division IV MVP honors as a sophomore in 2011 when he led El Rancho to the first of two sectional titles in a three-year span. The Dons are 78-6-3 since 2010.

Also three-year varsity volleyball starter, Roldan has maintained a 3.74 weighted GPA as a senior. He has volunteered locally as an American Youth Soccer Organization coach and as part of El Rancho's Blue Pride service project for which students coordinate and execute annual refurbishment and beautification initiatives on campus. A member of the California Scholarship Federation for maintaining a B+ average and serving as a peer mentor, Roldan is a four-year participant in the Dons College Bound Athletes committee, which serves as a guidance and support group for aspiring college athletes in addition to assisting with school athletic department activities. 

"Cristian has a midfielder's mentality, but a finisher's foot," said Sheldon Shealer, Editor of "Despite his small stature, he can be a physical player. He's best suited as a midfielder, distributing and making runs off the ball. But his 54 high school goals against some of the best competition in the state this past season show he's an effective goal-scorer. Cristian had opportunities to play for higher-profile clubs and even transfer to prominent private schools, but declined in order to stay with his El Rancho teammates, leading them to a sectional and regional title in 2013."

Roldan has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on an athletic scholarship at the University of Washington this fall.

"Without question, Cristian is deserving of recognition as the nation's best high school boys soccer player based on his statistics on the pitch and the impact his accomplishments have had on El Rancho High School's success," said Gatorade Vice President, Global & Sports Marketing Andrea Fairchild.  "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














Cristian Roldan

Ema Boateng

Luis Rendon

Soony Saad

Dillon Powers

Chris Agorsor


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

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