May 21, 2008
ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - UCF women's soccer signee Katie Jackson was tabbed as this year's Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Florida, the program recently announced. Jackson, a native of Satellite Beach, Fla., now becomes eligible for the Gatorade National Player of the Year.
"We are very proud of Katie and excited for her," said Knights' associate head coach Colby Hale. "She is a quality person, an excellent student and a great player. We are looking forward to welcoming her to our UCF family and I know she will make an immediate impact this fall."
Jackson was an All-Space Coast Conference selection last year and won Satellite High School's Golden Boot Award. The midfielder went on to earn player of the year honors by Florida Today thanks to a 50-goal, 30-assist performance as a senior. Jackson helped the Scorpions go 23-3-2 on the season and capture a runner-up finish at the Class 5A state tournament.
Outside of high school, Jackson competed with the Space Coast United club team, where it won the 2006 and 2007 state championships. She also played for the Indialantic Force and finished in second place in points in the Region III Premier League as the Force claimed the state title in 2005.
Now celebrating its third decade of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, the Gatorade Player of the Year award has become the most prestigious award in high school sports. The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one award-winner in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. As a result, the award's legacy is built on the achievement of more than 9,000 State and 186 National Players of the Year who have been honored during that time.
Gatorade State Players of the Year are selected not only for their outstanding athletic excellence, but for their achievement and exceptional character. The selection process is administered by RISE Magazine, the nation's leading sports and lifestyle magazine for teens. In narrowing and evaluating the list of candidates, RISE works with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists.
Following this announcement of the State Players of the Year, RISE works with nationally-focused sport-specific experts to evaluate the athletic, academic and extra-curricular resumes of the 51 candidates in each sport. From the pool of state winners, one is selected and named Gatorade National Player of the Year - the country's best all-around high school student-athlete in his or her sport. Gatorade National Player of the Year winners then become eligible for the program's culminating honor - the Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year award.
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