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DHS’ Stephen Ochan Wins Top Soccer Award

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DHS’ Stephen Ochan Wins Top Soccer Award
Posted on 02/12/2015
Deering Principal Ira Waltz with Stephen Ochan

Deering High School’s Stephen Ochan has been named the Gatorade Maine Boys Soccer Player of the Year. It’s the first time a Deering boys soccer player has won that honor.

The award distinguishes Stephen as Maine’s best high school boys soccer player. It also makes him a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year award, to be announced in May.

The award was announced Feb. 12 by The Gatorade Co., in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports. Gatorade is in its 30th year of honoring the nation’s top high school athletes.

The award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character, demonstrated on and off the field.

Stephen is a 5-foot-10-inch, 181-pound senior midfielder who scored six goals and passed for six assists this past season, leading the Rams (13-2-1) to the Western Class A semifinals. He was an All-American selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, and also was  named Southwestern Maine Athletic Association Offensive Player of the Year and Western Maine Board of Soccer Officials Player of the Year.

Stephen has even won praise from opposing teams. Ben Deschene, head coach at MSAD 35’s Marshwood High School, said, “Ochan stands out because he controls play at both ends of the field. He dominates the game in every aspect. Everything Deering did ran through him.”

Stephen, who came to America from South Sudan at a young age and had to learn English in addition to other academic subjects, has maintained a B-plus average in the classroom. President of his senior class, he has volunteered locally on behalf of a soup kitchen and youth soccer programs.

He continues to process through offers to decide where he’ll go to college.

Miles Bisher, Deering’s Assistant Boys Soccer Coach, congratulated Stephen on his outstanding accomplishment.

“His dedication, hard work, and leadership are truly exemplary, and I can't wait to see what he does with the rest of his life, on and off the soccer field,” Bisher said. “Stephen is THE definition of a good role model for our young students, and I can't think of anyone more deserving for this award. Thank you to all of the coaches, teachers, parents, friends, family and community members who have supported Stephen throughout his time growing up!”

Stephen joins recent Gatorade Maine Boys Soccer Players of the Year who include Fazal Nabi (2010-11, Portland High School); Wyatt Omsberg (2013-14, Scarborough High School); Matt Saunders (2012-13, Lawrence High School); Robby Lentine (2011-12, Windham High School); Gabe Hoffman-Johnson (2009-10 & 2008-09, Falmouth High School); Oliver Blum (2007-08, Greely High School); and Jordan Hale (2006-07, Falmouth High School).

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. It 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 sports experts and a media advisory board of veteran sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

Stephen 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 High School, Mich.), Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central High School, Ill.), Alexi Lalas (1987-88, Cranbrook High School, Mich.), Heather OReilly (2001-02, East Brunswick High School, N.J.) and Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo High School, Calif.).

For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of past winners and the announcement of the Gatorade National Player of the Year, click here.