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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 Rockwell as Florida’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, Rockwell joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Alexi Lalas (1987-88, Cranbrook HS, Mich.), Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, Mich.), Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central HS, Ill.), Kevin Garnett (1992-93, Maudlin HS, S.C.), Tony Meola (1986-87, Kearney HS, N.J.) and Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.).

The 6-foot, 185-pound senior midfielder led the Mustangs (26-2-3) to the Class 4A state championship this past season, recording four goals and 21 assists. The 2010 All-North Suncoast Player of the Year and a Florida Athletic Coaches Association Class 4A First Team All-State selection, Rockwell has battled back from two anterior cruciate ligament tears in his right knee, one in the first game of his sophomore season and the second during the state tournament his junior year.
Rockwell has maintained a 3.28 GPA in the classroom. A member of his school’s student council, he has volunteered locally as a youth soccer coach and camp counselor.

“Max Rockwell has no ups and downs,” said Peter Mannino, director of coaching for the Clearwater Chargers club program. “His game is solid, he leads by example. No circumstances, no adversity, affect him. He’s the heart of the team. He’s just a workhorse but with skill to go with it.”
Rockwell has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on scholarship at Southern Methodist 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 ESPN RISE and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, 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.

Rockwell joins recent Gatorade Florida Boys Soccer Players of the Year Hasani Sinclair (2008-09, American Heritage School), Shawn Barry (2007-08, American Heritage School), and Eugene Starikov (2006-07, Palm Harbor University) among the state’s list of former award winners.
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