In its 28th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Dan Apajee of La Salle Academy as its 2012-13 Gatorade Rhode Island Boys Soccer Player of the Year. Apajee is the sixth Gatorade Rhode Island Boys Soccer Player of the Year to be chosen from La Salle Academy.
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 Apajee as Rhode Island’s best high school boys soccer player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year award to be announced in May, Apajee 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-9, 155-pound junior midfielder scored 15 goals and passed for eight assists this past season, leading the Rams (13-2-3) to the Division I state championship match. A First Team All-State honoree and an All-New England selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Apajee is the No. 72-rated recruit in the Class of 2014 by TopDrawerSoccer.com.
Apajee has maintained a 3.52 GPA in the classroom. He has volunteered locally at a soup kitchen and as a youth soccer coach.
“Dan is a very talented player who helps his team all over the field,” said John Lopes, head coach of Cumberland High. “He is capable of being the playmaker as well as the finisher. He has speed and quickness to go along with the skills.”
Apajee has verbally committed to play soccer on an athletic scholarship at Syracuse University beginning in the fall of 2014.
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.
Apajee joins recent Gatorade Rhode Island Boys Soccer Players of the Year Colin Patch (2011–12, La Salle Academy), Marcos Ugarte (2010–11, Providence Country Day), Nick Dubee, (2009-10 & 2008–09, Chariho High School), and Brett Uttley (2007-08 & 2006-2007, North Kingstown) among the state’s list of former award winners.