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Defender Patrick Phelan Named 2003 Gatorade National High School Boys Player of the Year

CHICAGO (March 1, 2004) – U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team defender Patrick Phelan has been named the 2003 Gatorade National High School Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

Phelan, of Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Wilbraham, Mass., has spent time with both the U.S. U-18 and U-20 MNTs over the past two years.  During 2002, while a mainstay with the U-18s, Phelan earned the Most Valuable Player award during the Talence International Tournament in France, as he led the U.S. defense that allowed just two goals in six games en route to the tournament title.

In 2003, the central defender played and started in eight games with the U-18s, including every minute of three international matches during the Northern Ireland Milk Cup, helping the U.S. finish third. He also took his skills to the U-20s, where he started three of four international matches during the teams third place finish in the L’Alcudia International Tournament in L’Alcudia, Spain.

In addition to his national team honors, Phelan is a three-time NSCAA All-America and a PARADE All-America.

During his senior year, Patrick recorded six goals and five assists as a central defender for Wilbraham & Monson Academy, leading the team to a 13-2-2 overall record and a division championship in the Western New England Prep School Soccer Association.  He anchored a defense that established a school record by posting 11 shutouts.

“For a high school coach like me, Patrick is a once-in-a-lifetime player,” said Wilbraham & Monson Academy head coach Gary Cook.  “He wants to train hard every day and he’s a tremendous team player. Patrick does so many of the important things that don’t show up in a box score. Physically, he’s a dominating presence yet he’s a very technical player.  He makes the game look easy because he reads everything so well, and he has the ability to dictate the flow of a game as a defender.”

Phelan’s leadership is not only seen on the field as the high school senior is a member of the Spanish Club, is the computer aid at Here Wee Grow Preschool and has volunteered at TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer) clinics for disabled children, all while maintaining a 3.74 GPA. Phelan has committed to play soccer next season at Wake Forest University and plans to study International Business.

“Patrick’s accomplishments on the field this season certainly place him among the nation’s elite high school athletes,” said Gatorade Senior Vice President of Sports Marketing Tom Fox. “But his excellence in the classroom and contributions to his school make him a true champion and someone we are proud to call a Gatorade National Player of the Year.”

The annual Gatorade National High School Player of the Year honors are awarded by Gatorade® Thirst Quencher in partnership with Scholastic Coach & Athletic Director Magazine. The award, which recognizes athletic achievement as well as the academic performance and overall character of its recipient, distinguishes Phelan as the nation's best high school boys soccer player. The Gatorade National Advisory Board, a group of sportswriters and sport-specific experts from around the country, selected Phelan from the more than 300,000 high school boys soccer players nationwide.  

The Gatorade High School Player of the Year program recognizes one winner in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and awards one National Player of the Year in football, baseball, softball, volleyball, and boys' and girls' basketball, soccer, and track & field. Previous national winners in boys soccer include Notre Dame’s Greg Dalby (2002), UCLA’s Jordan Harvey (2001), former Indiana and U-20 midfielder Ned Grabavoy (2000), 2003 MLS SuperDraft first overall pick Alecko Eskandarian (1999) and Columbus Crew’s Kyle Martino (1998).