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Boys Soccer Player of the Year: Gainesville's Aidan Reising
He led Red Elephants to Class AAA state title game
After leader the Red Elephants to the boys soccer state championship game, Aiden Reising is The Times boys soccer Player of the Year. - photo by Scott Rogers | The Times

Girls Soccer Player of the Year: Flowery Branch's Cassidy Elrod

Girls Soccer Coach of the Year: Gainesville's Mark Wade

Boys Soccer Coach of the Year: East Hall's Chris Horton

Boys First Team All-Area

Jose Lara
School: Hab. Central
Grade: Senior
Position: Forward
Stats:12 goals, 5 assists, 8-AAAA Co-PoY

Ryan Marcano
School: Riverside Military
Grade: Sophomore
Position: Forward
Stats: 29 goals, 5 assists

Dillon Martin
School: North Hall
Grade: Senior
Position: Forward
Stats: 23 goals, 5 assists, 1st team 8-AAA

Jonathan Mendoza
School: Johnson
Grade: Junior
Position: F/M
Stats: 15 goals, 12 assts.

Saul Lopez
School: East Hall
Grade: Junior
Position: M/F
Stats: 23 goals,
22 assists

Marco Rebollar
School: Chestatee
Grade: Junior
Position: Midfield
Stats: 19 goals, 7 assists, 1st team 8-AAA

Aidan Reising
School: Gainesville
Grade: Senior
Position: Midfield
Stats: 11 goals, 18 assists, signed with Ga. Southern

Ramon Salamanca
School: North Hall
Grade: Senior
Position: Midfield
Stats: 6 goals, 21 assists, 1st team 8-AAA

Nathan Dillard
School: Gainesville
Grade: Senior
Position: Defender
Stats: Divarsity All-Star, 1st team 8-AAA, 4-year starter

Cody Hall
School: Dawson County
Grade: Senior
Position: Defender
Stats: Divarsity All-Star, 1st team 8-AA, Team MVP, 3-year captain

Luis Teran
School: Flowery Branch
Grade: Senior
Position: Goalkeeper
Stats: 7 shutouts, 10 goals allowed in 14 games, 1st team 8-AAAA, Team MVP

Second Team Boys

Gunnar Armstrong
School: Dawson County
Grade: Junior
Position: Defender
Stats: All-Region

Charlie Bryant
School: Gainesville
Grade: Senior
Position: Midfield
Stats: 5 goals, 6 assists

John Hatch
School: Chestatee
Grade: Senior
Position: Defender
Stats: 1 goal, 2 assists

Michael Herrin
School: Chestatee
Grade: Senior
Position: Goalkeeper
Stats: 105 saves, 1.1 GPG

Matt Lewis
School: West Hall
Grade: Senior
Position: Defender, midfield
Stats: 1st team 8-AAA

Ricardo Madero
School: Riverside
Grade: Sophomore
Position: Midfield
Stats: 20 goals, 8 assists

Leo Manzo
School: Flowery Branch
Grade: Senior
Position: Midfield
Stats: 13 goals, 2 assists, 1st team 8-AAAA

Douglas Mejia
School: Gainesville
Grade: Junior
Position: Midfield
Stats: 15 goals, 12 assists, 1st team 8-AAA

Jason Mendoza
School: East Hall
Grade: Sophomore
Position: Forward/midfield
Stats: 22 goals, 24 assists

Edgar Ochoa
School: Johnson
Grade: Senior
Position: Forward
Stats: 9 goals, 6 assists

Alex Paramo
School: Habersham Central
Grade: Junior
Position: Defender
Stats: 1st team 8-AAAA

Honorable mentions

Israel Avila, So., Johnson
Julio Avila, Jr., East Hall
Israel Azuara, Sr., Johnson
Chance Calderhead, So., Lakeview
Michael Cave, Jr., Johnson
Thomas Davis, Sr., Flowery Branch
Abraham Elias, So., North Hall
Edgar Espinoza, Sr., Gainesville
Brooks Fulford, So., Dawson County
Geo Funes, Sr., East Hall
Arnold Gamez, Fr., Chestatee
Ricardo Gomez, So., Gainesville
Robert Griffith, Sr., Jefferson
Edgar Guerrero, Jr., Chestatee
Justin Hechavarria, Jr. Flowery Branch
Eddie Hurst, Jr., White County
Tyler Kimball, Jr., Lakeview
Edgar Jaimes, Sr., West Hall
Adrian Lagranda, Sr., Flowery Branch
Coley Loudermilk, So., White County
Josh Lund, Jr., Dawson County
Joshua Martin, Sr., Johnson
Jorge Mejia, Sr., North Hall
Jorge Mendoza, Jr., East Hall
Kolby Mooney, Sr., White County
Alberto Murrillo, Jr., Gainesville
Abel Olvera, Sr., East Hall
Fabian Paramo, Jr., Habersham Central
Barut Perez, So., Johnson
Cody Pfister, Sr., North Hall
Nicolas Ramirez, Jr., Habersham Central
Roldan Reyes, Jr., Chestatee
Stanton Rogers, Sr., Dawson County
Victor Salcido, Sr., Riverside
Dalton Snyder, So., Lakeview
Dustin Snyder, So., Lakeview
Bryan Thao, Sr., Jefferson
Enrique Valencia, Sr., East Hall
Merly Velasquez, Sr., Gainesville
Yunis Yanes, Sr., Gainesville
Cristian Zavala, Sr., Habersham Central
Nathan Zottnick, So., Lakeview

In a way, Gainesville grad Aidan Reising has been following in his parents footsteps.

He said both his mother and father are into the arts. Reising, too, is something of an artist, and the soccer pitch is his canvas.

“It’s definitely its own form of art,” he said of the sports he has played since the age of 3. “You’ve got to make art with the ball; you’ve got to dance with it.”

And he and the rest of the Red Elephants 2012 senior class turned in a masterpiece of a high school career: 66 wins, one state title and two championship game appearances, including last month’s 3-1 loss to Woodward Academy in the title game at City Park Stadium, the same team Reising and the Red Elephants defeated in 2010.

Reising played a big part in the four-year run of success, as a four-year starter and an anchor of the dominant Gainesville midfield along with grads Charlie Bryant and Merly Velasquez, and rising senior Douglas Mejia. This season, Reising scored 11 goals and added 18 assists in helping to lead the Red Elephants to a second title game appearance in three seasons.

For his efforts he has been named The Times Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

“It’s been a great experience,” Reising said. “Growing up here, getting to see us make it to the state championship twice is incredible.”

His contribution to the team over the years went far beyond his statistics.

“He was definitely a leader, mainly through his actions,” said fellow 2012 Gainesville grad and defender Nathan Dillard. “The way he played and the heart he put into the game kind of rubbed off on everyone.”

Gainesville coach Rick Howard said after the championship game loss that the group of eight seniors had taught him more about coaching than any other class in his time as a head coach.

“We were a very diverse group of seniors,” Dillard said. “We were really close, had each others backs, really believed in each other.

“We had really good team chemistry.”

Dillard added that the midfield, with Reising a key part, was the strength of the team, especially with the possession style of play Gainesville is known for.

“I’ve been brought up in club soccer to play like that,” added Reising. “That’s the way I think it should be played.”

Reising said he played many sports growing up, due in large part to his parents trying to find ways to release their active son’s energy, but that soccer stuck.

“I love that it’s a team sport, and that it requires constant movement,” he said. “You always have to keep going, and the speed and intensity, I thrived with it.”

Gainesville, which under Howard focuses on possession and fast-paced, precision passing, was a perfect fit for Reising’s skills. It was also a style that fit perfectly for the wide expanses of City Park Stadium.

“It gave us a huge advantage, especially on a field like City Park,” he said. “We could work a team to death; it’s just a great style to use.”

Reising moved from defense to midfield early in his soccer career, and he said his job within the offense was mainly to keep the flow. His favorite part was setting up a goal.

“I don’t see myself as a scorer or finisher,” he said. “I liked setting up the perfect pass for goal, because without that there wouldn’t be a goal.”

He’s done it so well over the years that college programs began to take notice, resulting in his signing to play at Division I Georgia Southern University next season.

It’s just another step in Reising’s soccer journey, one he said he’d like to see continue on to the professional level. He said he’ll play anywhere, as long as somebody will give him a shot.

“I would love to play professional, that would be my No. 1 goal in life, and I really hope I can make that happen,” Reising said. “It’ll take a lot of dedication, but I think I can do it.”

And he’ll keep working to improve on his style of play, and his talent of making the ball dance with his feet, something he said he learned early on but will always be working to improve.

And he won’t forget his time as a Red Elephant.

“I don’t know if you could ask for more, except just winning that last one,” Reising said. “Just taking a program like Gainesville and taking it to where it’s been, it’s a great experience.”

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