By Adam Brown
Ole Miss soccer head coach Matt Mott had two incoming freshmen named Gatorade Players of the Year for their respective states on Wednesday. The two players are defender Lucy Green who represented Mississippi and forward Sydney Ham from Tennessee.
Ole Miss is one of six schools with multiple honorees.
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 Green and Ham as their state’s best high school soccer player. Both players are now also eligible as finalists for the Gatorade National Player of the Year award.
“This is a great recognition for Sydney and Lucy,” Mott said. “To be named GPOY as the top player in your state is a big-time honor. We are excited to get them on campus later this summer.”
Green, who is the first player for West Lauderdale High School to be named Mississippi’s Gatorade Player of the Year, helped lead the charge to the Knight’s fourth state championship in five years, scored seven goals and dished out 11 assists this past season. The Clarion-Ledger First Team All-State honoree anchored a defense that posted 21 clean sheets and surrendered just seven goals on the season.
Off the pitch, Green has volunteered locally on behalf of a food pantry, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Wesley House Community Center and the U.S. Youth Soccer TOPSoccer program serving young athletes with disabilities.
While Green shined in the defensive half of the pitch, Ham lit up the scoreboard in becoming Briarcrest Christian School’s first Gatorade Player of the Year honoree. Capable in the midfield as well as upfront as a striker, Ham spearheaded a 17-1-1 season for the Saints, scoring the lone goal in BCS’ 1-0 victory in the state championship final. The Daily Memphian Player of the Year, Ham was selected to play in the prestigious High School All-American Game this past December.
Ham has volunteered locally as an inner-city elementary school tutor, and she has donated her time as a youth soccer coach.