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Umar Farouk Osman named Gatorade Connecticut Boys Player of the Year

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CHICAGO (Via Gatorade) — In its 32nd year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, today announced Umar Farouk Osman of The Hotchkiss School as its 2016-17 Gatorade Connecticut Boys Soccer Player of the Year. Osman is the second Gatorade Connecticut Boys Soccer Player of the Year to be chosen from The Hotchkiss 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 Osman as Connecticut’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, Osman joins an elite alumni association of past state soccer award-winners, including Alexi Lalas (1987-88, Cranbrook HS, Mich.), Steve Cherundolo (1996-97, Mt. Carmel HS, Calif.), Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy, N.Y.), Heather O’Reilly (200102, 2002-03, East Brunswick HS, N.J.), Matt Besler (2004-04, Blue Valley West HS, Kans.), Jack Harrison (2013-14, Berkshire HS, Mass.), Mallory Pugh (2014-15, Mountain Vista HS, Colo.).

The 5-foot-9, 150-pound senior midfielder scored 19 goals and passed for nine assists this past season, lifting the Bearcats to a 6-9-2 record. The 2016 Connecticut Soccer Coaches Association’s Player of the Year, Osman had a direct hand in 28 of Hotchkiss’ 30 goals on the season. He participated in the High School All-American Game in North Carolina in December and concluded his prep soccer career with 63 goals and 45 assists.

A dorm proctor at Hotchkiss, Osman has volunteered locally as part of a fundraising campaign to provide school uniforms, backpacks and books to children in his native Ghana. “Osman is the full package—size, raw power, technical and dynamic on the ball,” said Tony Mohammed, head coach of the Berkshire School. “I also appreciate that he plays with a lot of pride, plays both sides of the ball and isn’t afraid to put a tackle in.”

Osman has maintained a B average in the classroom. He has signed a national letter of intent to play soccer on scholarship at the University of Michigan 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 Player of the Year Selection Committee, 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.

Osman joins recent Gatorade Connecticut Boys Soccer Players of the Year Ema Twumasi (2015-16, Kent School), Mickey Watson (2014-15, South Kent School), Matheus Souza (2013-14, Conrad High School), Isaac Normesinu (2012-13, Hotchkiss School), Zach Zurita (2011-12, Bunnell High School), Kevin Michalak (2010–11, Farmington High School), Kofi Agyapong (2009-10, St. Luke’s School), Colin Bradley (2008–09, Avon Old Farms School), Pat Boucher (2007-08, Cromwell High School), and Ryan Kinne (2006-07, Naugatuck High School) among the state’s list of former award winners.

As a Gatorade Player of the Year, Umar Farouk will be able to select a national or local youth sports organization to receive a grant as part of the Gatorade Play It Forward program. Every Gatorade Player of the Year state winner receives a $1,000 grant to donate and will have the opportunity to enter for an additional $10,000 spotlight grant by writing a brief essay explaining why their selected organization deserves additional support. 12 spotlight grants – one for each sport – will be announced throughout the year.

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