Gatorade Announces Centennial Senior As Tennessee Soccer POY

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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 Johnny Heckman of Centennial High School as its 2014-15 Gatorade Tennessee Boys Soccer Player of the Year. Heckman is the first Gatorade Tennessee Boys Soccer Player of the Year to be chosen from Centennial 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 Heckman as Tennessee’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, Heckman 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-8, 145-pound senior midfielder scored 12 goals and passed for 10 assists this past season, leading the Cougars (6-8-3) to the District 11-AAA Tournament semifinals. Heckman is a member of the U.S. Youth Soccer Region III Olympic Development Program player-pool and is a two-time winner of Centennial’s Underclassman of the Year award. Heckman has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom. He has volunteered locally as a youth soccer referee and Vacation Bible School assistant, and he has donated his time to fundraising campaigns to benefit breast cancer research and Habitat for Humanity. “Johnny Heckman is a very good player who is very technical and very wise tactically,” said Robin Dieterich, head coach of Father Ryan High. “The team looks to him for direction whether they are attacking or defending.” Heckman has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on an athletic scholarship at Clemson University beginning this fall.

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. Heckman joins recent Gatorade Tennessee Boys Soccer Players of the Year Brad Ross (2013-14, Franklin High School), Trey Gill (2012-13, Montgomery Bell Academy), Tim Baker (2011-12, Knoxville Catholic High School), Chandler Gagnon (2010–11 & 2009-10, Evangelical Christian School), Mark Sherrod (2008–09, Carter High School), Stephen Morrissey (2007-08, Battle Ground Academy), and Tom Webster (2006-07, Bearden High School) among the state’s list of former award winners. To keep up to date on the latest happenings, become a fan of Gatorade Player of the Year on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of past winners and the announcement of the Gatorade National Player of the Year, visit
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