Lebanese-American soccer standout Soony Saad had already been named Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year. The recent high school graduate from Michigan was now waiting to see if he would be named Gatoradeâ€™s National Athlete of the Year. It would stand to reason that he had a fighting chance. After all, he put up an unreal total of 76 goals this past season for Dearborn High School. But, this would be one of the few times that Soony would be denied in a competition. In an awards ceremony the second week of July that took place the afternoon prior to the ESPN â€œESPYâ€ awards show, Brandon Knight, a basketball player from the state of Florida, was named Gatorade Male Athlete of the Year. The award for Female Athlete of the Year also went to a basketball player, Chiney Ogwumike of Houston, Texas, who has committed to play at prestigious Stanford University.
But it is important to remember that Saad received the boys soccer award not only for his outstanding athletic excellence, but also for â€œhigh standards of academic achievement and exemplary character displayed on and off the field,â€ as stipulated by the award. Not to mention, Saad was chosen from among greater than 383,000 soccer players in the United States for this award. And Soony hasnâ€™t stopped working during the summer break. He has been playing on a team of select youth soccer players that has been touring Europe and South America. He should be back stateside in time to begin training in August with the University of Michigan soccer team where he and his brother, rising junior Hamoody, will help to inaugurate the schoolâ€™s brand new 1800 seat soccer stadium. Then, inshallah, Soony will take his show further onto the national and world stage.