DURHAM, N.C., May 26 /PRNewswire/ -- In its 25th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPN RISE, today announced Mollie Pathman of Durham Academy (Durham, N.C.) as its 2009-10 Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Pathman was surprised with the news during a morning class at Durham Academy by Washington Freedom (Women's Professional Soccer) and U.S. Women's National Team Defender Cat Reddick Whitehill, also a two-time Gatorade State Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
"It felt great to surprise Mollie with the Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year award and welcome her into one of the most prestigious legacy programs in high school sports," said 2004 Gold Medalist Cat Reddick Whitehill. "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."
Of the 218 National Player of the Year trophies to be awarded during the program's 25-year history, Pathman joins two-time NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship MVP Megan Hodge (2005-06, Riverside, Durham) as the only high school athletes from the state of North Carolina to earn Gatorade National Player of the Year recognition in any sport.
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 Pathman as the nation's best high school girls soccer player. A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Pathman from more than 344,000 high school girls soccer players nationwide. Pathman is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year award, to be presented at a special afternoon ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.
The 5-foot-3 senior forward and midfielder led the Cavaliers (12-4-1) to the North Carolina Independent Schools Class 3A state quarterfinals this season, recording 29 goals and 10 assists despite missing four games due to U.S. Soccer Federation Women's National Team commitments and injury. A two-time Gatorade North Carolina Girls Soccer Player of the Year, Pathman is a member of the U.S. Soccer Federation Under-18 Women's National Team, with whom she competed for at the Ten Nations Tournament in Spain this past winter.
A four-time National Soccer Coaches Association of America Youth All-American and a 2009 NSCAA High School All-American, she is the nation's No. 20 recruit in the Class of 2010 as rated by TopDrawerSoccer.com. An invitee at this month's U.S. Soccer Federation Under-20 Women's National Team training camp, Pathman concluded her prep career 135 goals and 61 assists, both school records.
Pathman has maintained a 3.97 GPA in the classroom. The 2009 NSCAA Scholar Athlete of the Year, she has volunteered at a genetics lab at Duke Medical Center, as a youth soccer coach, and as a tutor for Spanish-speaking children in the local school district. Pathman also served as a year-long teaching assistant in Durham Academy's demanding Peer Educator Program.
"What makes Mollie so great is she's the most humble of players," said Pete Sadin, Pathman's coach with the Triangle FC club program. "Knowing her status with the national teams, she doesn't take anything for granted. She keeps working on her game and it translates on the field. She is nonstop as a worker."
Pathman has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on scholarship at Duke University this fall.
"Without question, Mollie is deserving of recognition as the nation's best high school girls soccer player based on her statistics on the field and the impact her accomplishments have had on Durham Academy's success," said Gatorade Senior Vice President of Sports Marketing Jennifer Storms. "But she is also a shining example to peers and aspiring young players of what a leader and a student-athlete should be. She 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 ESPN RISE and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, 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.
To celebrate the award's 25th anniversary, Gatorade wants you to vote for the All-Time Greatest Girls Soccer Player of the Year at www.gatorade.com/POY25. 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 http://playeroftheyear.gatorade.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.
ALL-TIME GATORADE NATIONAL GIRLS SOCCER PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
Durham Academy/Durham, NC
High School Senior
Lake Forest/Lake Forest, IL
Palo Alto/Palo Alto, CA
University of Notre Dame
Ben Davis/Indianapolis, IN
Bos. Breakers/U.S. National Team
Santa Margarita/Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Phil. Ind./U.S. National Team
Satellite/Satellite Beach, FL
University of North Carolina
East Brunswick/East Brunswick, NJ
Sky Blue FC/U.S. National Team
Harvard Westlake/North Hollywood, CA
Chicago Red Stars
Wheat Ridge/Wheat Ridge, CO
Green Mountain/Lakewood, CO
Former U.S. National Team
Presentation/San Jose, CA
U.S. National Team
SOURCE The Gatorade Company