It's been three months and a turn of the calendar since Colten Habecker's brilliant soccer season ended.
Yet the accolades continue to roll in for the Hill School senior.
Last week, Habecker's list of honors grew as he was named the Gatorade Boys' Soccer Player of the Year for Pennsylvania.After scoring a single-season record 34 goals to lead the Hill boys soccer to both the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) and the Pennsylvania Independent School Athletic Association (PAISAA) championships, Habecker earned an invitation to play in the High School All-American Game in December. Additionally, he was named the MAPL Player of the Year and The Mercury's All-Area Player of the Year for his on-field success.
Being the best in the area wasn't enough for Habecker, which led to his latest accomplishment."I'm humbled to receive this award,' Habecker said. "It's an honor to join the amazing players who preceded me as Players of the Year — (Warwick graduate and 2008-09 award winner) Andrew Wenger was a role model to me. I am incredibly thankful for all of the support I have had throughout this amazing season, as none of it would have been possible without my teammates, coaches, and family.'
The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA Today High School sports, first began recognizing high school student-athletes for outstanding performances in 1985. The award recognized both on-field performance as well as academic achievement and community service.
A native of Douglassville, Habecker arrived at The Hill in the fall of 2011 and immediately made an impact with the soccer program. He was the team's leading scorer in each of his three seasons, and helped guide the team to three consecutive MAPL championships. Habecker additionally excels the classroom, as evidenced by his 3.80 grade point average. He recently signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his academic and soccer career at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Also an active member of the community, Habecker volunteers with the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania and as a youth soccer coach, and is dedicated to spending time with his younger brother, Josh, who has cerebral palsy. "Colten is a true leader-by-example in how he lives his life, treats people, and performs on-and-off the field,' said boys soccer head coach Chris Drowne. "His record-setting career on the field was well-earned as a result of his indefatigable work rate — a work rate that he also possesses with his studies. His selflessness and compassion for others make him a model citizen.'
Lawrenceville's head coach Blake Eldridge, who worked at The Hill from 2002-04, recognized Habecker's natural talent in all aspects of the game.
"Colten Habecker was multi-dimensional, retreating to help defend or pick the ball up, working in combination and off the dribble and was very accurate in front of goal,' said Eldridge. "I could be confident putting Colten anywhere on the field and know he'd probably be the best player at that position.'
By being named the Pennsylvania Player of the Year, Habecker also is a finalist for the National Player of the Year award, which will be announced in May.