In its 34th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company announced Jack Eaton of Chesterton High School as its 2018-19 Gatorade Indiana Boys’ Soccer Player of the Year. Eaton is the first Gatorade Indiana Boys Soccer Player of the Year to be chosen from Chesterton 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 Eaton as Indiana’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 June, Eaton joins an elite alumni association of past state soccer award-winners, including Alexi Lalas (1987-88, Cranbrook High School, Mich.), Steve Cherundolo (1996-97, Mt. Carmel High School, Calif.), Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy School of Young Women, N.Y.), Heather O’Reilly (2001-02, 2002-03, East Brunswick High School, N.J.), Matt Besler (2004-04, Blue Valley West High School, Kans.), Jack Harrison (2013-14, Berkshire High School, Mass.) and Mallory Pugh (2014-15, Mountain Vista High School, Colo.).
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound senior defender led the Trojans to a 21-0-2 record and the Class 3A state championship this past season. Eaton anchored a defense that allowed just 14 goals in 23 games. He also scored seven goals and added an assist. The Indiana Soccer Coaches Association Player of the Year, he was a First Team All-State selection and the Duneland Athletic Conference MVP.
Eaton has volunteered locally as part of multiple community service projects through his school’s National Honor Society. “Jack was a major part of Chesterton’s success,” said Dave Bock, head coach of Portage High School. “His communication and vocal leadership stood out to me. I am excited to not have to worry about him anymore.”
Eaton has maintained a 3.88 GPA in the classroom. He has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on scholarship at Valparaiso 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. From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year. In all, 607 athletes are honored each year.
Eaton joins recent Gatorade Indiana Boys Soccer Players of the Year Andrew Cross (2017-18 & 2016-17, Reitz Memorial High School), Andreas Roslender (2015-16, Carmel High School), Jordan Kleyn (2014-15, Avon High School) and Michael Riedford (2013-14, Reitz Memorial High School) among the state’s list of former award winners.
As a part of Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Eaton also has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of his choosing. He chose Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana’s Duneland Club for the $1,000 gift. The Duneland Boys & Girls Club will use the gift for athletics and sports leagues the Club offers to community youth. He also is eligible to submit an essay to win one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year.
Since the program’s inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators.
To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit www.Gatorade.com/POY, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.