Skyridge High School graduate Austin Wallace has medals upon medals upon medals for his exploits in Utah club soccer. But he has only one trophy — a second-place award for a tournament with a Utah Storm team that needed to win two penalty shootouts to get to the final.
Now he can add one more trophy to his proverbial mantle: the Gatorade Player of the Year award for boys’ soccer in Utah.
Wallace is the first player in boys’ soccer from Skyridge to win the award in the school’s five-year history. He said that distinction means a lot to him. But what means more to him is winning the award after his Falcons lost in PKs to Weber High at the 6A state tournament last month.
“I played my hardest and gave all I’ve got in that final and still lost in an unlucky PKs,” Wallace said. “So to get that award, it finishes off the season with a good note.”
The 5-foot-9, 140-pound senior forward scored 21 goals and added 10 assists this past season. For his entire career at Skyridge, he tallied 44 goals and 26 assists. He is the school’s all-time leading scorer.
Falcons coach Jerry Preisendorf had Wallace on his team for all four years of high school. He said Wallace made the varsity squad in his freshman year and called him “one of the classiest young men I have ever had the privilege of being able to coach.”
“I know he’s going to do many great things in the future,” Preisendorf said. “I hope he enjoys this ride of being able to play a game he truly loves. He is a great player.”
Wallace will serve a two-year mission in Mozambique, Africa, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When he returns, he will play college soccer at Dixie State University, which is currently undergoing a process to change its name.
Although Wallace scored nearly half of his all-time goals in his senior year alone, he was still surprised when he got the news he had won the Gatorade award.
“I didn’t think it would actually go through,” Wallace said. “I was a good candidate for the award, but I didn’t know if it’d actually happen. So I was super excited.”