Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 3:51 PM CDT

OWINGS MILLS, Md., June 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- In its 37th year of honoring the nation's most elite high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Jacob Murrell of McDonogh School in Owings Mills, Md. is the 2021-22 Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year. Murrell won the prestigious award for his accomplishments on and off the field, joining an impressive group of former Gatorade National Boys Soccer Players of the Year who have combined for 12 National Championships and 13 MLS first round draft picks.

Murrell was surprised with the trophy by his family, coaches and teammates at school. Check out a video of the announcement here.

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 Murrell as the nation's best high school boys soccer player. The Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media and others to evaluate candidates, selected Murrell from nearly half a million other student-athletes who play boys soccer nationwide.

Competition for the national award was fierce. Murrell topped the list of state winners in boys soccer who collectively boast an incredible list of accomplishments, including 16 First Team All-State honorees, 25 who are committed to play soccer at Division I colleges/universities and 18 with a GPA of 4.0 and above.

"Jacob delivered one of the most amazing seasons in MIAA history under odd circumstances," said Sheldon Shealer, national editor of prepsoccer.com. "McDonogh opted out of organized team athletics in the fall of 2020, so he entered his senior season with only two years of playing defender under his belt at the high school level. While his club success (with Pipeline SC) gave us insight that he could be a significant high school player this past season, I don't think anyone could have foreseen him scoring 41 goals in a highly competitive league where 20 goals is considered exceptional. He is a gifted athlete and exceptionally hard worker with a rare combination of pace and strength, but he also has the ability to be clinical on his finishes. He can score in so many ways, beating defenders and keepers 1v1, scoring from distance, scoring with placement and/or power, or scoring on crosses. He carried a very inexperienced team to a runner-up finish in one of the nation's strongest high school leagues."

The 6-foot-2, 175-pound senior forward scored 41 goals and passed for 20 assists this past season, leading the Eagles (21-3) to the Maryland Independent Athletic Association Class A state tournament championship game. Murrell compiled 12 multi-goal games, including four hat tricks and four four-goal games. The Baltimore Sun All-Metro Player of the Year and a United Soccer Coaches High School All-American selection, he was named to the game's Best XI at the High School All-American Game in December.

Murrell has volunteered locally with the Char Hope Foundation, dedicated to helping adults in the Maryland agricultural community who are facing the challenges of substance abuse. He has also donated his time as a youth soccer coach.

Murrell has maintained a B-plus average in the classroom. He has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on scholarship at Georgetown University this fall.

"Having served athlete communities for decades, Gatorade understands how sports instill valuable lifelong skills on and off the field," said Gatorade Senior Vice President and General Manager Brett O'Brien. "It's clear Jacob Murrell is a leader, role model and team player in all areas of life, which is why we are confident in his selection as this year's winner and his ability to continue driving change in and out of sport in the future."

Each year, a selection committee evaluates the nation's top talent to choose one state winner from each of the 50 states as well as Washington D.C., in 12 different sports: football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball, boys and girls soccer, and boys and girls track & field. In all, 608 athletes are honored each year. From the pool of state winners, one national winner is selected in each of the 12 sports.

Gatorade has a long-standing history of serving athlete communities and understands how sports instill valuable lifelong skills on and off the field. Since the program's inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators. Previous winners include a distinguished list of athletes, such as Peyton Manning, Abby Wambach, Jayson Tatum, Elena Delle Donne and many other sports icons.

To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit playeroftheyear.gatorade.com or follow us on social media on Facebook at facebook.com/GatoradePOY, Instagram at instagram.com/Gatorade and Twitter at twitter.com/Gatorade.







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About Gatorade

The Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo (NASDAQ: PEP), meets the needs of consumers who participate in sports and fitness, through brands that include Gatorade, Propel, Muscle Milk, and Evolve. The solutions they provide are driven by a deep understanding of the unique occasions and needs across athletic activity. Gatorade, their marquee brand, is underpinned by a 56-year history of studying the best athletes in the world, and sports nutrition research by the Gatorade Sport Science Institute, allowing it to provide scientifically formulated products that meet athletes' needs both on and off the field. For more information and a full list of products, please visit www.gatorade.com.

About PepsiCo

PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $79 billion in net revenue in 2021, driven by a complementary beverage and convenient foods portfolio that includes Lay's, Doritos, Cheetos, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Mountain Dew, Quaker, and SodaStream. PepsiCo's product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including many iconic brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

Guiding PepsiCo is our vision to Be the Global Leader in Beverages and Convenient Foods by Winning with PepsiCo Positive (pep+). pep+ is our strategic end-to-end transformation that puts sustainability at the center of how we will create value and growth by operating within planetary boundaries and inspiring positive change for planet and people. For more information, visit www.pepsico.com.

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SOURCE The Gatorade Company

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