Lusher's Malinich named Gatorade Louisiana Soccer Player of the Year _lowres

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Lusher's Andrew Malinich scored 46 goals and had 23 assists this season while leading his team to the Division III championship.

CHICAGO — The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Andrew Malinich of Lusher Charter School as its 2013-14 Gatorade Louisana Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

Malinich is the first Gatorade Louisana Boys Soccer Player of the Year to be chosen from Lusher Charter School.

This is Gatorade's 29th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes,

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 Malinich as Louisana’s best high school boys soccer player.

Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year award to be announced in May, Malinich 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.).

Malinich, a 5-foot-11, 155-pound senior forward, scored 46 goals and passed for 23 assists this past season, leading the Lions (20-5) to the Division III state championship. A three-time First Team All-State selection, Malinich was named Division 3 MVP by the Louisiana High School Soccer Coaches Association. The Most Outstanding Player in the state championship game, he was also chosen co-Player of the Year by LAprepSoccer.net.

Malinich has maintained a 4.18 GPA in the classroom. A devoted member of his church community and a tutor in his school, he has volunteered locally on behalf of hurricane relief efforts and a Vacation Bible School.

“Malinich is a fantastic player, very dynamic,” said Nick Chetta, head coach at Northlake Christian High. “He’s a complete player. He’s got size, speed and he’s very technical. Very smart too, and a great goal scorer.”

Malinich has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on scholarship at North Carolina State University 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.

Malinich joins recent Gatorade Louisana Boys Soccer Players of the Year Ethan Judice (2012-13, Lafayette High School), Phillip Hicks (2011-12, Jesuit High School), Adrian McInnis (2010 – 11, Saint Paul's School), Steven Cabos (2009-10, Jesuit), Patrick Mullins (2008–09 Jesuit High School), Nick Flowers (2007-08, Caddo Parish Magnet), and Andrew Mullins (2006-2007, Jesuit) among the state’s list of former award winners.