In its third decade of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in partnership with ESPN RISE, today announced senior midfielder and defender Rachel Quon of Lake Forest High School (Lake Forest, Ill.) as its 2008-09 Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
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 Quon as the nation’s best high school girls soccer player. A national advisory board comprised of sportswriters and sport-specific experts from around the country helped select Quon from more than 346,000 high school girls soccer players nationwide. Quon 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 midfielder and defender had recorded 15 goals and 10 assists for Lake Forest at the time of her selection as the Scouts (17-2-1) advanced to the Lake Forest Regional final against Deerfield High, scheduled for May 22. An experienced international player, Quon was a starting defender last fall on the U.S. Soccer Federation Under-17 Women’s National Team, which won the silver medal at the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup in New Zealand. A current member of the U.S. Soccer Federation U-20 Women’s National Team player pool, she is also a two-time Youth All-American selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Quon missed her junior season after suffering a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament and a meniscal cartilage tear in her right knee, along with a right collarbone fracture during training in July 2007. She has led her Eclipse Select club team to three U.S. Youth Soccer State Cup titles and a pair of USYSA Midwest Regional championships.
Quon has maintained an A average in the classroom. A member of the National Honor Society and the Student Council Executive Board at Lake Forest High School, she has volunteered on behalf of the Church of St. Mary’s Camp Hope and the Max Schewitz Foundation. Quon has also donated her time to community service initiatives benefiting the Chicago Botanic Garden, her local Boys & Girls and Rotary clubs, as well as the Openlands nature conservation project. She has served as a Sunday School Assistant at Christ Church, a counselor for the United States Youth Soccer Illinois Olympic Development Program camp, and as a youth soccer coach for the Lake Forest Soccer Association and the Lake Bluff recreation program.
“The thing about Rachel is that she never makes it look that hard,” says Mike Dickey, a National Staff Coach for the United States Soccer Federation. “She doesn’t give the ball away. She’s a very smart player. She has great feet. She reads plays before they happen and gets there before anyone else. She gives the ball to the right person in the right moment every time. She’s so elusive and her brain is so fast. She’s so intelligent. In a game of ‘keep the ball,’ you’d pick her first every time. We can’t put 11 players together like her right now. If we could, we would have won the Under-17 World Cup.”
Quon has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on scholarship at Stanford University this fall, where she will team up with 2007-08 Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year Teresa Noyola. Quon becomes the 20th Gatorade National Player of the Year across all sports to attend Stanford University.
“Without question, Rachel 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 play had on Lake Forest’s success,” said Gatorade Senior Vice President of Sports Marketing Jeff Urban. “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, which works 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:
• U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Aly Wagner
• NFL all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith
• WNBA all-time leading scorer and rebounder Lisa Leslie
• Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning
• Reigning 200-meter world champion Allyson Felix
• Beach volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh
For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information and lists of past winners and future announcement dates, visit gatorade.com/playeroftheyear.