In its 32nd year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Billy Hency of Rockwood Summit High School as its 2016-17 Gatorade Missouri Boys Soccer Player of the Year. Hency is the second Gatorade Missouri Boys Soccer Player of the Year to be chosen from Rockwood Summit High School and joins fellow Summit classmate Anna Lawler who was Girls Player of the Year for 2015-2016.
Hency is also a member of the Sporting STL McMahon Ford club team that just won it’s third straight Missouri State Cup title and is headed to the US Youth Soccer Regional Championships later this month. He’s pictured above in last year’s State Cup for Sporting STL.
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 Hency as Missouri’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, he joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports.
The 5-foot-9, 135-pound junior forward led the Falcons to a 26-2-1 record and the Class 3 state championship this past season. Hency scored 36 goals and passed for 22 assists, including 12 goals and three assists in Rockwood Summit’s five-game postseason run to the state title. The Missouri High School Soccer Coaches Association’s Class 3 Player of the Year, he was also named the St. Louis Post Dispatch All-Metro Player of the Year and an All-American selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Hency has volunteered locally as a freshman mentor and on behalf of a special-needs soccer league. “Billy is dangerous in so many ways it’s hard to take him out of the game,” said Jim Layne, head coach of Fort Zumwalt South High School. “His work ethic defensively is amazing as well. He is one of the better two-way players around.”
Hency has maintained a 3.82 GPA in the classroom. He will begin his senior year of high school 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.
Hency joins recent Gatorade Missouri Boys Soccer Players of the Year A.J. Palazzolo (2015-2016, CBC High School) Dalton Souder (2014-15, Lee’s Summit High School), Keith Grieshaber (2013-14, Marquette High School), Tommy Barlow (2012-13, Chaminade College Preparatory School), Derek Schrick (2011–12, Rockhurst High School), Alec Cochran (2010–11, Christian Brothers College High School), Adnan Gabeljic, (2009-10, Mehlville High School), Alex Sweetin (2008–09, Rockhurst High School), Will Bruin (2007-08, De Smet Jesuit High School), and Mike Roach (2006-07, Chaminade College Preparatory School) among the state’s list of former award winners.