In its 33rd year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, has announced Omar Hernandez of CFC Academy's 01 Premier team as its 2017-18 Gatorade Georgia Boys Soccer Player of the Year. Hernandez also plays for Dalton 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 Hernandez as Georgia’s best high school boys soccer player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year award to be announced in June, Hernandez joins an elite alumni association of past state soccer award-winners, including Alexi Lalas (1987-88, Cranbrook HS, Mich.), Steve Cherundolo (1996-97, Mt. Carmel HS, Calif.), Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy,N.Y.), Heather O’Reilly (2001-02, 2002-03, East Brunswick HS, N.J.), Matt Besler (2004-04, Blue Valley West HS, Kans.), Jack Harrison (2013-14, Berkshire HS, Mass.), Mallory Pugh (2014-15, Mountain Vista HS, Colo.).
The 5-foot-10, 142-pound junior forward scored 28 goals and passed for 20 assists this past season, leading the Catamounts (16-3-1) to the second round of the Class AAAAAA state tournament. Hernandez recorded eight multi-goal games, including five hat tricks. He concluded his junior year with 62 goals and 47 assists in his prep soccer career.
Hernandez has volunteered locally as a youth soccer coach.
His CFCA coach is Danny McBride, who also serves as the club's college recruiting coordinator.
"Omar is fully deserving of this award," McBride said.
"He is one of the most gifted soccer players we have had in the club but is also one of the hardest working and always willing to learn. It does not surprise me that Gatorade and the state of Georgia have nominated him as the player of the year. “
Hernandez has maintained a weighted 3.36 GPA in the classroom. He has made a verbal commitment to play soccer on scholarship at Wake Forest University beginning in the fall of 2019.
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 Player of the Year Selection Committee, 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.
As a Gatorade Player of the Year, Hernandez will be able to select a national or local youth sports organization to receive a $1,000 grant as part of the Gatorade Play It Forward program.
Omar texted his coach within minutes of hearing about the award.
"Coach... I want to give the $1000 grand back to CFC (Academy) for everything they have done for me.”
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