Hamilton striker Schaefer named Gatorade Arizona Boys Soccer Player of the Year
June 16, 2022 by Seth Polansky, AZPreps365
CHICAGO (June 16, 2022) — In its 37th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Luke Schaefer of Hamilton High School is the 2021-22 Gatorade Arizona Boys Soccer Player of the Year. Schaefer is the third Gatorade Arizona Boys Soccer Player of the Year to be chosen from Hamilton 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 Schaefer as Arizona’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 June, Schaefer joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Alexi Lalas (1987-88, Cranbrook High School, Mich.), Steve Cherundolo (1996-97, Mt. Carmel High School, Calif.), Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy School of Young Women, N.Y.), Heather O’Reilly (2001-02 & 2002-03, East Brunswick High School, N.J.), Matt Besler (2004-05, Blue Valley West High School, Kans.), Jack Harrison (2013-14, Berkshire High School, Mass.) and Mallory Pugh (2014-15, Mountain Vista High School, Colo.).
The 6-foot-1, 165-pound senior forward scored 22 goals and passed for 11 assists this past season, leading the Huskies (15-4-2) to the Conference 6A state semifinals. The 6A Premier Region Player of the Year, Schaefer was a two-time First Team All-State selection. He concluded his prep soccer career with 40 goals and 18 assists.
Schaefer has volunteered locally with Feed My Starving Children and at homeless shelters. He has also donated his time as a youth soccer coach and as part of multiple community service initiatives through his church youth group. “Luke is such an impactful player,” said Justin Hughes, head coach of Pinnacle High. “We fortunately knew about him before we played them so we ‘managed’ to keep him out of the game as much as possible. He still scored twice against us.”
Schaefer has maintained a weighted 3.67 GPA in the classroom. He has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on scholarship at California Polytechnic State University 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 Player of the Year Selection Committee, which leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media and others as sources to help evaluate and determine the state winners in each sport.
Schaefer joins recent Gatorade Arizona Boys Soccer Players of the Year Charlie Cobb (2020-21, Brophy College Preparatory), Francesco Montanile (2019-20, Brophy College Preparatory), Deric Hall (2018-19, Brophy College Preparatory), and Carter Clemmensen (2017-18, Brophy College Preparatory), among the state’s list of former award winners.
Gatorade has a long-standing history of serving athlete communities and understands how sports instill valuable lifelong skills on and off the field. Through Gatorade’s “Play it Forward” platform, Middleton has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national organization of their choosing that helps young athletes realize the benefits of playing sports. Middleton is also eligible to submit a short video explaining why the organization they chose is deserving of one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants, which will be announced throughout the year. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $3.5 million across more than 1,300 organizations.
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.
To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate studentathletes, 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.