Soccer player

Riverside star wins Gatorade SC Boys Soccer Player of the Year award

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Another player from the region won the Gatorade South Carolina Boys Soccer Player of the Year award.

Riverside junior and midfielder Fabian Menendez, who helped the Warriors win the AAAAA class men’s soccer state title, was named this year’s winner.

He is the second Greenville County player to win the award in the last five years, the most recent being former Wade Hampton star Ben Erkens (2019-20 and 2018-19).

Last season, AC Flora’s Jackson Price won the award. He now plays for Furman.

Menendez had 20 goals and 10 assists for a top-ranked Riverside team that won the state championship for a second straight year. It was the Warriors’ 14th state title.

Menendez led Riverside to No. 1 nationally, according to MaxPreps. He was also an all-state winner and Menendez was the 2-AAAAA Region Player of the Year. He is also a member of the Puerto Rico U20 national team, said Riverside coach Scott Columbia, who also said the 17-year-old was recently signed to the U20 team.

“The biggest thing about (Fabian) is his contribution to the team,” Columbia told the Greenville News. Thursday. “He makes his teammates better and he’s a leader on and off the pitch.

“The team is a family…it’s so important to our culture. It’s what made our program what it is today. (Fabian) and our juniors are a big part of that. “

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The junior is one of 51 winners announced this week for the award. Gatorade selects 50 winners from all 50 states and one from the District of Columbia. Menendez’s goal in the Upper State Championship game gave Riverside a win over Dorman and a berth in the 5A title game.

Other recent Greenville County Schools Award winners include Tyler Rider and Michele Bottari, who both played JL Mann.

Michigan native and Michigan State University graduate Joe Dandron covers high school sports for The Greenville News. Have a question, story idea, or story tip about upstate prep sports? Email him at [email protected] or contact him by phone at 864-415-6213.