CHICAGO — In its 30th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Brianna Pinto of Jordan High School in Durham as its 2014-15 Gatorade North Carolina Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
Pinto is the first Gatorade North Carolina Girls Soccer Player of the Year to be chosen from Jordan 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 Pinto as North Carolina’s best high school girls soccer player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year award to be announced in May, Pinto joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy, N.Y.), Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, Mich.), Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central HS, Ill.), Alexi Lalas (1987-88, Cranbrook HS, Mich.), Heather O’Reilly (2001-02, East Brunswick HS, N.J.) and Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.).
The 5-foot-5 freshman midfielder scored 21 goals and passed for nine assists this past season, leading the Falcons (14-4-1) to the Class 4A state tournament. Pinto missed five games due to multiple commitments with the U.S. Soccer Under-17 Women’s National Team. She is rated as the No. 5 recruit in the nation for the Class of 2018 by TopDrawerSoccer.com.
Pinto has maintained an A average in the classroom. A member of the John Hope Franklin Young Scholars program, she has volunteered locally with Habitat for Humanity and on behalf of her local chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“It’s hard not to notice Brianna Pinto—she’s a fantastic player,” said Michele Miller, head coach of Cardinal Gibbons High. “What makes Brianna so dangerous is that she has speed but she also has tactical awareness. She knows how to utilize her assets to create goals for herself and her teammates.”
Pinto has made a verbal commitment to play soccer on an athletic scholarship at the University of North Carolina beginning in the fall of 2018.
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 high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, 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.
Pinto joins recent Gatorade North Carolina Girls Soccer Players of the Year Morgan Reid (2013-14, Cardinal Gibbons High School), Alexis Shaffer (2012-13 & 2011-12, Green Hope High School), Caroline Lindquist (2010–11, Ravenscroft School), Mollie Pathman (2009-10 & 2008–09, Durham Academy), Nicole Danford (2007-08, Green Hope High School), and Nicole Panek (2006-07, Mount Tabor High School) among the state’s list of former award winners.
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