DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University incoming freshman Toni Payne has been selected the 2012-13 Gatorade Alabama Girls Soccer Player of the Year, which was released by The Gatorade Company in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports.
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Payne as Alabama’s best high school girls soccer player.
“What makes Toni so dangerous is her ability on the ball,” said Todd Schaefer, head coach of Hoover High. “It is extremely difficult to take the ball from her. Her foot skills allow her to really hold it. I think she is invaluable when it comes to their success.”
The 5-foot-3 senior forward scored 47 goals and passed for 35 assists this past season, leading the Eagles (22-4-2) to the Class 6A state championship game. A member of the U.S. Soccer Under-20 Women’s National Team, Payne was the 2012 Birmingham News Player of the Year. She concluded her prep soccer career with 141 goals and 92 assists. Payne has maintained a 3.63 GPA in the classroom. She has volunteered locally as a teacher in her church’s Children’s Ministry in addition to donating her time at a homeless shelter and food bank.