By Official Florida FC
The Florida Dairy Farmers announced the winners of the 2021 Boys Soccer Player of the Year and the finalists for the statewide Coach of the Year award on March 26.
The winners from each of the six classifications will be eligible to earn Mr. Soccer, which will be announced on April 1. Interestingly, the top three finishers in each of the three largest classifications did not play for the eventual state champion.
Here is a look at the Player of the Year winnners:
Jack Ireland, Junior, Forward, Lake Mary, Class 7A Player of the Year
Led his team to a 21-3-1 record and a spot in the Class 7A state semifinals by scoring 24 goals and adding 13 assists. He was named the Orlando Sentinel’s Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
Dorian Jackson, Senior, Forward, Ocala Forest, Class 6A Player of the Year
Led his team to a 13-6-2 record by scoring 27 goals and adding 15 assists. He has accounted for 47 goals and 24 assists over the last two seasons.
Zachary LaPorte, Senior, Forward, Lake Minneola, Class 5A Player of the Year
Led his team to a 12-5-2 record by scoring 32 goals and adding eight assists. He was an Honorable Mention All-Area selection by the Orlando Sentinel.
Seth Tarbox, Senior, Forward, Weekie Wachee, Class 4A Player of the Year
The Warner University commitment led his team to a 17-4 record and a spot in the regional finals by scoring 25 goals and adding 25 assists.
Marcello Valbuena, Senior, Forward, Tampa Catholic, Class 3A Player of the Year
After playing defense throughout high school, Valbuena moved to forward and led his team to a 25-2 record and the Class 3A state title by scoring 36 goals and adding five assists. The University of Tampa signee scored 11 goals in the district, regional and state playoffs including two in the state final.
McLaren Baggett, Junior, Forward, Fort Myers Canterbury, Class 2A Player of the Year
Led his team to a 21-3-1 record and the Class 1A state championship by scoring 30 goals and adding 11 assists.
Coach of the Year candidates
The six Coach of the Year finalists all led their team to a FHSAA state championship.
Naples Gulf Coast coach Bryan Billingsley led the Sharks to a 20-3-2 record in his second year as the head coach of the 7A program. Pamela McDonald led Doral Academy to an 11-1-3 record and the Class 6A state title. Miami Belen Jesuit’s Tanger Mendonca won his second strate championship after posting an 18-3-1 record.
Elsewhere, Panama City Beach Arnold’s Jonathan Hammond led the Marlins to Bay County’s first state championship and a 25-0-2 record. In Class 3A, Kevin McCarron led Tampa Catholic to a 25-2 record. Fort Myers Canterbury’s Kevin Schoensee is the Class 2A Coach of the Year after leading the Cougars to a 21-3-1 record.