CHICAGO (February 4, 2016) — In its 31st year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Gabby Little of Houston High School as its 2015-16 Gatorade Tennessee Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Little is the second Gatorade Tennessee Girls Soccer Player of the Year to be chosen from Houston High 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 Little as Tennessee’s best high school girls soccer player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year award to be announced in May, Little joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy, N.Y.), Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, Mich.), Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central HS, Ill.), Alexi Lalas (1987-88, Cranbrook HS, Mich.), Heather O’Reilly (2001-02, East Brunswick HS, N.J.) and Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.).
The 5-foot-7 senior forward led the Mustangs to a 22-0 record and the Class AAA state championship this past season. Little scored 23 goals and passed for 20 assists, including eight goals and three assists in six postseason games. An All-American selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Little participated in the High School All-American Game in North Carolina in December. She concluded her prep soccer career with 60 goals and 41 assists.
Little has maintained an A average in the classroom. An active member of the Girl Scouts, she has volunteered locally with fundraising campaigns to benefit breast cancer research and on behalf of multiple community-service initiatives through her church.
“Every team that achieves the amount of success that Houston has enjoyed over the past four seasons has to have a player like Gabby Little,” said Eric Shelton, head coach of Siegel High. “She is all that you look for in a forward. She has speed, strength, the ability to get a shot off in tight spaces and fearlessness in taking on opponents in 1-on-1 situations.”
Little has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on an athletic scholarship at the University of Mississippi 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 high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, 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.
Little joins recent Gatorade Tennessee Girls Soccer Players of the Year Karlie Paschall (2014-15, Ravenwood High School), Josie Jennings (2013-14, Farragut High School), Summer Lanter (2012-13, Soddy Daisy High School), Olivia Harrison (2011-12, Houston High School), Kat Nigro (2010–11 & 2009-10, Livingston Academy), Susannah Dennis (2008–09 & 2007-08, Battle Ground Academy) and Kelly Dyer (2006-07, St. Agnes Academy) among the state’s list of former award winners.