Mitchell midfielder Max Rockwell has been named the Florida Boys Gatorade Soccer Player of the Year.
The award is given to a player based on soccer skills, character and academic achievement. It also puts Rockwell in the running for the Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year to be announced later this month.
Rockwell was just about to go to sleep Wednesday night when Mitchell coach Oscar Ubillus called with the news.
"I know one other player who had gotten it before," Rockwell said. "He played for my club, and he was incredible. To be recognized with about the same skill level is a really great honor. In all honesty, I was just happy to be nominated and to be in the running for it. Oscar told me some of the other guys up for the award. I thought their soccer resumes might have been better than mine. But I'm pretty happy to have won it though."
Rockwell, the Times' all-North Suncoast Player of the Year and Class 4A all-state first-team selection, led the Mustangs to the Class 4A state title. They were the first Pasco County boys team to win the championship. Rockwell had four goals and 21 assists, helping Mitchell to a 26-2-3 record.
Rockwell, who has a 3.28 GPA and has signed with Southern Methodist, battled back from a pair of anterior cruciate ligament surgeries his sophomore and junior years. Rockwell is a member of the student council and has volunteered at youth soccer camps as a counselor.
In terms of possibly getting the National Player of the Year award?
"I know there's a lot of good players in the nation," Rockwell said. "I looked last night before I went to bed and recognized a few names from other teams. One of the kids that won it for one of the other states is going to the same college I am. I don't know If I'll win or not because I've been out for the past couple of seasons. But who knows, maybe."