Dalton Red Wolves SC has the best high school soccer player in the nation on their roster.
Omar Hernandez, a recent graduate of Dalton High School, was named the 2018-2019 Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year Tuesday.
Hernandez became eligible for the award after he won the Gatorade Georgia Boys Soccer Player of the Year on Friday. It was his second year in a row to receive Gatorade’s state recognition award.
Gatorade Player of the Year program recognizes the nation’s most outstanding high school student-athletes for their athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character. That’s what makes this award the most prestigious honor in High School sports.
He joins the likes of Peyton Manning, Abby Wambach, Derek Jeter, Lebron James and more.
“It’s surreal and truly an honor seeing my name next to that title,” Hernandez said. “I never would have thought that I could find myself classified in that type of category.”
With the honor, Hernandez is now entered for the chance to win Gatorade's National Athlete of the Year, awarded to one male and female at a banquet at the beginning of July in Los Angeles. Hernandez is invited to travel to California for the ceremony where he and the 11 other athletes will walk the red carpet and attend the ESPYs, ESPN's national event honoring the top individuals and teams in sports for their athletic achievements.
Hernandez finished his high school career with 78 goals and 64 assists—both records at Dalton High.
On top of his Gatorade Player of the Year honors, Hernandez was named First-Team All-American by USA Today, 2x All-State for the State of Georgia, Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Co-player of the Year and took home the Best of Preps Steve George Boys Soccer Award.
The Dalton, Georgia native is competing for the Dalton Red Wolves this summer before continuing his academic and athletic career at Wake Forest University in the fall.
“I chose the Red Wolves Organization because they gave me the opportunity to develop and improve my game,” Hernandez said. “Also because the team is based in my hometown, and it’s amazing to be able to play where I have grown up. I’m excited to be competing against guys who have had college careers and learn from their experiences.”
Dalton Red Wolves head coach Drew Courtney is excited for Hernandez and what he can bring to the team.
"What an honor it is for Omar to receive Gatorade National Player of the Year,” Courtney said. “It is well-deserved and well-earned and I couldn't be happier for him. It's not always the case that a prestigious award like this goes to someone who is both a great athlete and a quality human being. Omar is both and is the perfect recipient for this honor. I really look forward to watching him grow with our group."
For more information on Gatorade Player of the Year, visit playeroftheyear.gatorade.com.
Hernandez and the Red Wolves will be back in action Friday, June 14 as the team travels to South Carolina to face Discoveries SC.