Gatorade Player of the Year
Christiano Francois THE BASICS
School: St. Benedict’s Prep (Newark, N.J.)
Weight: 140 pounds
Athletic achievement: Francois led the Gray Bees to a 24-0 record and the New Jersey Prep A state championship this past season. He scored 44 goals and passed for 22 assists, including a goal and an assist in a 4-1 win over Pennington School (Pennington, N.J.) in the state final. The 2011 Newark Star Ledger New Jersey Prep Player of the Year, Francois is a two-time First Team Prep All-State selection. He concluded his two seasons at St. Benedict’s with 60 goals and 41 assists.
Academic excellence: Francois has maintained a B average in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A refugee from Haiti who came to the United States two years ago, he has volunteered locally as a youth soccer coach and on behalf of the Special Olympics in addition to serving as a gospel singer in his church choir.
“Christiano Francois is a fabulous player. His speed and technical ability make him as dynamic as any player I have seen in New Jersey over the last decade,” said Ryan Spring, head coach of Blair Academy (Blairstown, N.J.). “He is a tireless worker who is constantly making runs, finding space and creating opportunities for himself and his teammates.”
THE FUTURE: Francois has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on an athletic scholarship at the University of Maryland this fall.
By Ben Rohrbach (ESPN.HS)
Bill “the wall” Gaudette, as he is known from his time playing in the NASL, has recently been given a trial period with the reigning MLS champions, LA Galaxy. This opportunity is coming off a short stint with the Montreal Impact last season, where he suffered an ankle injury in June. He began his soccer career at St. John’s University, where he broke the record for shutouts with 13 in his junior year and finished his senior year with a 0.86 goals against average and a 14-5-3 record. Gaudette was the 9th overall pick by the Columbus Crew in 2005, where he played for two seasons before a move in 2008 to play for the Puerto Rico Islanders, where he led the squad to a shocking semi-final appearance in the 2009 CONCACAF Champions League. This trial gives Gaudette a second chance to make a name for himself in MLS.
Written By: Chris Demczuk
The New York Red Bulls recently signed defender and New Jersey native, Jonathan Barrajo, after he spent a couple years in Norway playing for Hamarkameratene in the second division. Barrajo played a starting role for the Norwegian squad and vastly contributed to their promotion. It is not surprising that Jonathan was quickly scooped by NYRB, who have shown a tendency to sign European players. In the recent pre-season friendlies, he has been given consistent playing time and may fill the void left by Tim Ream, who was shipped off to the Bolton Wanderers on a January transfer. Barrajo’s recent success can be attributed to his experiences at George Mason and within the Red Bull youth academy; along with the name he made for himself at Clifton high school, where he tallied 29 goals and 51 assists.
Written by: Chris Demczuk