APOLLO BEACH — Plant High soccer player Caroline Bado was admittedly a little confused when she saw Tampa Prep's Shaddy Douidar standing in the foyer of Jose and Janet Alvarez's home Thursday night.
The standout soccer player hadn't seen Douidar since March, when they posed together for a photo as both were named Times Hillsborough County Players of the Year.
She thought she was going to meet former Tampa Bay Rowdies player and family friend Farrukh Quraishi to gain some insight on what it takes to be a professional soccer player. Instead she learned what it's like to be named the 29th Alvarez award winner as the county's top female soccer player alongside Douidar, who won as top male player.
"I honestly had no clue," said Bado, who will play for the University of Central Florida.
Douidar said he knew he was there for some sort of award.
"All I knew is that I was nominated for an award," said Douidar, who chose Indiana over Michigan and North Carolina because of its business school. "I thought there would be other kids here. It means a lot. It's tough to judge a bunch of players."
Alvarez, a local accountant and soccer enthusiast, has sponsored the award since its inception in 1985. He's always asked that the honor be delivered as a surprise, and for the last few years, he has feted the winners with a Spanish-food dinner at his home.
Both players took on new roles this year to help their teams to the postseason. Douidar went from four goals as a junior midfielder focusing on setting up teammates to 31 goals and a Florida Mr. Soccer award after assuming the striker role and leading the Terps to a state title as a senior.
"He comes across as quiet with a calm demeanor," Tampa Prep coach Doug Smith said. "On the field, he is a fierce competitor."
Douidar carries a 4.24 GPA, is a two-time state champion and is interning with the Rowdies.
Bado started her Panthers career as the team's leading scorer, but this year moved around wherever coach Pam Smith needed her to play including forward, midfield and defense. She scored three of her five goals in a 15-minute span during senior night — and then asked Smith to move her back to the middle so she could help her teammates with scoring opportunities.
Playing multiple positions is nothing new for Bado. She will graduate with 12 varsity letters in four sports, claiming district titles in each — soccer (four), golf (four), track (three) and flag football (one).
Bado, who also played shortstop on the 2008 Palma Ceia Little League Junior Softball team that finished fifth in the World Series, is happy to finally be able to put down her bat, clubs and running shoes to focus on soccer at UCF.
"It's kind of a blessing," she said. "I haven't touched a soccer ball in weeks."
Eric Vician can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.