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Edison's Cerda named Gatorade California Girls Soccer Player of the Year

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MacKenzie Cerda sat in her economics class at Edison High late-morning Tuesday when the unexpected announcement came her way.

A "surprise," she called it, that came on what she thought had been an ordinary start to the day.

The senior learned that she had been named the 2013-14 Gatorade California Girls Soccer Player of the Year.

She is the first player from Edison to be selected for the award.

"Our athletic director [Rich Boyce] came into my classroom and made the announcement," Cerda said. "I was kind of embarrassed but actually shocked and excited, at the same time. It's really an honor."

In its 29th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, recognizes "outstanding athletic excellence and high standards of academic achievement, and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field," when selecting its award recipients.

By being named the state's Girls Soccer Player of the Year, Cerda becomes a finalist for the Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year award which will be announced later this month.

During the 2013-14 season, Cerda, a forward, scored 13 goals and assisted six goals in leading Edison to a Sunset League championship and the CIF Southern Section Division I championship game. She had scored five of Edison's six goals during the Chargers' first four playoff games but missed the Division 1 final against Santa Margarita after suffering a lacerated liver when she took a knee to the ribs during a 1-0 semifinal victory over Foothill.

The 10th-ranked Chargers fell, 3-0, to fifth-ranked Santa Margarita in the Division 1 title game at Corona High March 8.

"It was really hard to sit there and watch that [CIF final] game, but I was so proud of my teammates for the way they played," she said.

The Gatorade honor is one of many for Cerda this year. She also was selected as an All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Assn. of America and was named MVP of the Sunset League and MVP of the CIF Southern Section Division 1 Girls' Soccer Team.

"This is a huge honor for MacKenzie and I am beyond proud of her," Edison girls' soccer coach Kerry Crooks said. "She had an amazing postseason and an unbelievable run. She really had an amazing career here, and it was so great to be able to witness all that she has done."

Cerda will continue her academic and athletic career on an athletic scholarship at UCLA where she will play women's soccer.

She said she committed to the Bruins toward the end of her sophomore year.

"It's pretty cool to end my career here [at Edison] this way," she said. "When the season started off, we weren't that close of a team, but we started to come together and form friendships. I really think that those friendships formed helped us have a great finish to what turned out to be a great season."

The Gatorade Player of the Year program 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 and field, and then selects 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 sport-specific experts and a media advisory board to determine the state winners in each sport.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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High School SportsSoccerCalifornia Interscholastic FederationUCLAUCLA Bruins
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