ATHERTON, Calif., June 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- In its 34th year of honoring the nation's most elite high school athletes, The Gatorade Company today announced Sophie Jones of Menlo School in Atherton, California as the 2018-19 Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Jones won the award for her accomplishments on and off the field, joining a group of Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year awardees that have gone on to have incredible success – in fact, they've combined for 11 gold medals and six National Championships.
Jones was surprised at her school surrounded by teammates, friends, family and coaches. Check out a video of the announcement here.
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 Jones as the nation's best high school girls soccer player. A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Jones from nearly 400,000 high school girls soccer players nationwide. Jones is now a finalist for the most prestigious award in high school sports, the Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year award, which is announced at a special ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.
"Sophie winning this award is really an incredible accomplishment, especially in light of the players she was going up against for the honor," said Mark Carr, head coach of the U.S. Soccer Under-20 Women's National Team. "I know how much work Sophie has put in on this journey, and my hope is that this is just the starting point. Sophie's personal qualities, her selflessness as a teammate, and her soccer intelligence—that ability to read the game and see things before they happen—make her a truly worthy winner of this award."
The 5-foot-6 senior midfielder led the Knights to a 20-2-2 record and the Central Coast Section Division I sectional tournament championship this past season. Jones recorded 18 goals and 16 assists despite missing the final two games of the season while training with the U.S. Soccer Under-20 Women's National Team. She was also the 2018 United Soccer Coaches Youth Girls National Player of the Year for her performance with her club team and played in the 2018 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Uruguay.
Jones has volunteered locally with the Special Olympics and as a youth soccer coach. "Sophie is a leader and leads by example," said Henry Arredondo, head coach of Woodside Priory School. "She is technically gifted and makes the game easy for everyone on her team. She is a magician with the ball at her feet, and her excellent soccer IQ makes her that much more dangerous."
Jones has maintained a 3.65 GPA in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on scholarship at Duke University this fall.
"Sophie Jones was selected for her outstanding accomplishments on and off the field," said Gatorade Senior Vice President and General Manager Brett O'Brien. "Like past Gatorade National Player of the Year recipients, we look forward to seeing Sophie Jones have continued success in sports and in life."
Through Gatorade's cause marketing platform "Play it Forward," Jones has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of her choosing. She is also eligible to submit an essay to win one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year.
Each year a selection committee evaluates the nation's top talent in the District of Columbia and all 50 states, choosing national winners in 12 different sports: football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball, boys and girls soccer, and boys and girls track & field. From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year.
Since the program's inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators. Previous winners include a distinguished list of athletes, such as Peyton Manning, Abby Wambach, Karl-Anthony Towns, Derek Jeter and many other sports icons. To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit www.Gatorade.com/POY, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.
SOURCE The Gatorade Company