Calvert Hall senior Ben Bender, a University of Maryland commitment, was named Monday as the Gatorade Maryland Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
The award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. By winning, Bender becomes a finalist for the Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year award, which will be announced later this month.
Bender, a 6-foot-1, 165-pound senior midfielder, had 14 goals and four assists in 2019, leading the Cardinals (9-7-1) to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference semifinals. A two-time first-team All-State selection, he participated in the High School All-American Game in December. Ranked as the nation’s No. 139 prospect in the Class of 2020 by TopDrawerSoccer.com, he concluded his high school career with 33 goals and 17 assists.
Bender has volunteered locally as part of multiple community service initiatives through his church.
“Ben is such a talented and versatile player,” Gilman coach Jon Seal said in a news release. “He has tremendous pace, he can score from distance, is dangerous on set pieces, and he knows where to go with the ball. He makes everyone around him better.”
Bender has a 3.45 GPA . He signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer at Maryland.
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 the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which works with sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.
Before Bender, the most recent winners of the award were Daniel Diaz-Bonilla (2018-19, The Heights), Justin Gielen (2017-18, DeMatha Catholic), Nick Richardson (2016-17, Archbishop Curley), Michael DeShields (2015-16, McDonogh), Connor Smith (2014-15, McDonogh) and George Campbell (2013-14, McDonogh).