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U.S. Youth National Team Forward Lauren Cheney Named Gatorade National High School Girls' Player of the Year


Indiana Standout and Key Member of the USA’s 2006 U-20 National Team Has Played With U.S. U-20s, U-21s and WNT During Past Year

CHICAGO (February 23, 2006) – U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team star Lauren Cheney, who scored four goals and had a key assist at the CONCACAF qualifying tournament last January to help the USA clinch a berth in the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship in Russia, has been named the 2005-06 Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year, Gatorade® Thirst Quencher, in partnership with Scholastic Coach & Athletic Director magazine, announced today.

Cheney, who attended Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, Ind., (and graduated early at the semester break), played her club soccer for the Carmel United Heat. She was spectacular in the championship game of the CONCACAF qualifying tournament, assisting on the tying goal and scoring the winner in a 3-2 comeback victory vs. Canada that gave the U.S. its first regional title at the U-20 level. She has been in several training camps with the full Women’s National Team.

The award, which recognizes athletic achievement as well as the academic performance and overall character of its recipient, distinguishes Cheney as the nation’s best high school girls’ soccer player. The Gatorade National Advisory Board, a group of sportswriters and sport-specific experts from around the country, selected Cheney from the more than 315,000 female high school soccer players nationwide. Cheney is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year Award, to be presented at an awards ceremony the afternoon prior to The ESPY Awards in July.

Cheney, a 5-foot-8-inch forward, led Ben Davis with 35 goals and 15 assists this season. She was named first-team All-Conference, All-County and All-State, the Indianapolis Star Super Team Player of the Year, a PARADE All-American, and the 2005 NSCAA National High School Player of the Year. In her four-year career at Ben Davis, she tallied 112 goals and 67 assists. She was a four-time Indiana All-State selection, and a three-time NSCAA All-American.

Cheney, who will attend UCLA as a freshman this coming fall, was the youngest member of the U.S. Under-21 National Team that last summer won the annual Nordic Cup, the premier tournament in the world for U-21 women. Cheney scored two goals in the tournament and added an assist in each of the four matches, helping the U.S. to an unprecedented seventh straight Nordic Cup title. In addition to her athletic exploits, Cheney also excels in the classroom, with a 3.1 GPA and 1410 SAT score.

“Without question, Lauren is deserving of recognition as the nation’s best high school girls’ soccer player based on her performance and the tremendous ability she’s demonstrated,” said Gatorade Senior Vice President of Sports Marketing Tom Fox. “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 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 girl’s soccer include 2004 Olympic gold medallist Heather O’Reilly (2002), current WNT pool player and 2002 U-19 world champion Jill Oakes (2001), UNC’s Rebecca McDowell (2000), former BYU and U.S. U-21 star Aleisha Cramer (1999), and current U.S. Women’s National Team players Christie Welsh (1998) and Aly Wagner (1997). UNC’s Ashlyn Harris, the starting ‘keeper on the 2002 and 2004 U.S. U-19 world championship squads, won the award in 2003.

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.

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