May 20, 2010
Watch Alecko Eskandarian of the Los Angeles Galaxy present Soony Saad with the award
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan men's soccer team incoming freshman Soony Saad was named Gatorade National Player of the Year on Thursday (May 20). Saad will become the first Gatorade National Player of the Year to play for the Wolverines and is one of only three players from the state of Michigan to earn the prestigious honor in its 25 years of existence.
"This was a great selection by the folks at Gatorade," said Michigan head coach Steve Burns. "Soony is a legitimate goal scorer; the most prolific to ever come out of the state of Michigan, and the best in the nation. We expect him to have a dynamic career wearing the Maize and Blue."
Saad, who is a member of U-M's six-member freshman class, set a state single-season record with 76 goals -- in addition to 15 assists -- to lead the Pioneers to the Division 1 state tournament round of 16. An All-America first team selection by ESPN RISE and a National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-American in 2009, Saad was also the 2008 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Player of the Year. The Michigan Soccer Coaches Association's Mr. Soccer this past fall, Saad concluded his high school career with a state-record 172 goals to go along with 51 assists.
Saad, who has maintained a 3.44 grade-point average, is a member of the Youth Muslim Association and the Muslim American Society. He has volunteered at multiple charity events in conjunction with those organizations. He has also donated his time revamping, updating and redeveloping audio-visual initiatives at his Islamic Center of America mosque and as part of a local literacy-outreach program for elementary school students.
"Without question, Soony 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 Dearborn's success," said Gatorade Senior Vice President of Sports Marketing Jennifer Storms. "But he is also a shining example to peers and aspiring young players 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 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 Saad as the nation's best high school boys soccer player. A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Saad from more than 383,000 high school boys soccer players nationwide. Saad is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year award, to be presented at a special afternoon ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.
Contact: Jessica Poole (734) 763-4423