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U.S. Youth National Team Forward Lee Nguyen Named the 2004 Gatorade National High School Boys Soccer Player of the Year


CHICAGO (March 1, 2005) – U.S. Youth National Team forward Lee Nguyen has been named the 2004 Gatorade National High School Boys Soccer Player of the Year. Gatorade® Thirst Quencher, in partnership with Scholastic Coach & Athletic Director magazine, made the announcement today.

Nguyen, who attends Plano East Senior High School in Plano, Texas, has already spent time with the U.S. Under-18 and Under-20 Men’s National Teams this year. In January, Nguyen traveled with the U-18 MNT to Guadalajara, Mexico, to compete in the Copa Chivas Tournament, and the speedy forward scored four goals in four games, including notching his first international goal against Holland. Two weeks ago, the Dallas Texans standout got his first call-up to the U-20 MNT and scored the equalizing goal during an exhibition match against the San Jose Earthquakes in Bradenton, Fla.

“I’d like to thank Gatorade because I was just amazed that I won with there being so many other good players that were also up for the award, and it was such an honor to hear my name called,” said Nguyen. “Last year was a big step for me as a player and getting called in with the U-18s was great because I always wanted to play with the national teams. When I got called up to the U-20s last month it was an even bigger surprise, and I really enjoyed it as I got to play with some great guys and it really helped my game.”

The award, which recognizes athletic achievement as well as the academic performance and overall character of its recipient, distinguishes Nguyen 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 Nguyen from the nearly 350,000 male high school soccer players nationwide. Nguyen 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.

A 5-foot-8 senior, Nguyen has recorded eight goals and six assists through six games with Plano East so far this season.  As a junior he led the Panthers with 22 goals and 18 assists, giving him a total of 42 goals and 33 assists through his first two varsity seasons. Nguyen will attend Indiana University in the fall, where he will join the ranks of the two-time defending national champion.

Nguyen’s standard of excellence extends to the classroom, where he has achieved a 3.8 GPA. A member of the National Honor Society, Nguyen also works with handicapped children.

“The honor bestowed upon Lee today is reflective of his demonstrated ability to play the game of soccer at the highest level; rising to the top of an extremely talented group of high school players across the nation,” said Gatorade Senior Vice President of Sports Marketing Tom Fox.  “For 20 years the Gatorade High School Player of the Year Award has recognized outstanding athletes who also shine in the classroom and in their communities, so it is the whole of Lee’s accomplishments that have earned him a place among the best high school athletes of the past two decades.”

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 Wake Forest’s Patrick Phelan (2003), Notre Dame’s Greg Dalby (2002), UCLA’s Jordan Harvey (2001), L.A. Galaxy’s Ned Grabavoy (2000), D.C. United’s Alecko Eskandarian (1999) and Columbus Crew’s Kyle Martino (1998).

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