Umar Farouk Osman '17 has been named the Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year for the 2016-2017 season.
The award, announced this week, selects Osman as the top player among the 50 boys selected as Gatorade state players of the year. He is the second Hotchkiss player to be named the best player in Connecticut, joining Isaac Normesinu '13 in 2013, and he joins Jack Harrison from Berkshire in 2015 as local players to receive top honors.
Osman, who has split time between midfielder and forward, had a dominant season for the Bearcats, recording 19 goals and 9 assists. In total, Osman contributed directly to 28 of the 30 goals for the team. He finished his Hotchkiss career with 63 goals and 46 assists.
Boys varsity head coach Jay Thornhill, who coached Osman in his final two seasons in Lakeville, said he recognized immediately Osman's raw talent. "You can tell that he's played at a high level growing up. He's continued to hold himself at the highest level athletically," he said.
Osman also made an impact on the team through his selfless play, said Thornhill. "That goes along with being a leader by example," he said. "He recognizes that he can still be influential by incorporating his teammates."
A native of Ghana who came to Hotchkiss through the Right to Dream program, Osman will play soccer next year at Michigan, joining fellow Hotchkiss and Right to Dream alumnus Francis Atuahene '15.
Thornhill remembers a game last season against Worcester Academy where Osman scored the tying goal in a tough 1-1 draw. After Worcester had scored first, the Bearcats played a through ball over Osman's right shoulder. With barely a stride to collect the ball, Osman fired a shot that hit the crossbar and bounced down into the net.
"That was one of those goals where you know he will play at the next level," said Thornhill. "That's the type of finesse, athleticism, and soccer skill to play in college."
By virtue of winning the top award in boys soccer, Osman is now eligible to win the Gatorade Athlete of the Year, awarded annually to one boy and one girl among the winners for each sport.
View a video interview with Umar below.