In its 35th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company last week announced Gabe Legendre of Cleveland High School as its 2019 Gatorade New Mexico Boys Soccer Player of the Year — his second such award in as many years.

Legendre is the second Gatorade New Mexico Boys Soccer Player of the Year to be chosen from Cleveland High School. 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 Legendre as New Mexico’s best high school boys soccer player.

Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year award to be announced in June, the state’s returning Gatorade Player of the Year is a 5-foot-8, 155-pound senior forward who recorded 30 goals and 13 assists this past season, leading the Storm (16-6) to the Class 5A state semifinals.

A three-time first-team All-State selection, Legendre participated in the High School All-American Game in December. Ranked as the nation’s No. 175 prospect in the Class of 2020 by, he concluded his prep soccer career with 89 goals and 30 assists.

Legendre is a volunteer firefighter in Corrales, has donated his time to community beautification projects and played in a few games this past season for the New Mexico Runners indoor soccer team.

“Gabe scored both goals against us and was the difference-maker,” said Tommy Smith, head coach of Sandia Preparatory School, and a Rio Rancho resident. “He can take over a game at any time.”

Legendre has maintained a weighted 3.44 GPA in the classroom and signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on scholarship at Fort Lewis College in Durango.

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.

Legendre is the fifth Rio Rancho student-athlete to earn a state Gatorade award for the 2019-20 school year. Other winners were Leah Futey, cross country, Cleveland; Isaiah Chavez, football, RRHS; Noah Brewer, baseball, RRHS; and Brianna Gallegos, softball, RRHS.

Gabe Legendre, left, wore a facemask to protect his broken nose for a few games last season.