Gatorade announced Peyton Kohls of Mount Notre Dame High School is the 2021-22 Gatorade Ohio Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Kohls is the first Gatorade Ohio Girls Soccer Player of the Year to be chosen from Mount Notre Dame 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 Kohls as Ohio’s best high school girls soccer player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year award to be announced in June, Kohls joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Alexi Lalas (1987-88, Cranbrook High School, Mich.), Steve Cherundolo (1996-97, Mt. Carmel High School, Calif.), Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy School of Young Women, N.Y.), Heather O’Reilly (2001-02 & 2002-03, East Brunswick High School, N.J.), Matt Besler (2004-05, Blue Valley West High School, Kans.), Jack Harrison (2013-14, Berkshire High School, Mass.) and Mallory Pugh (2014-15, Mountain Vista High School, Colo.).
The 5-foot-6 junior forward led the Cougars to a 21-0-1 record and the Division I state championship this past season. Kohls scored 27 goals and passed for 13 assists, recording 11 goals in Mount Notre Dame’s seven-game postseason run to the state title. The Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association’s Division I Player of the Year, Kohls was also a 2021 United Soccer Coaches All-American selection. She concluded her junior year with 49 goals and 22 assists in her prep soccer career.
A Mount Notre Dame school ambassador, Kohls has volunteered locally at an emergency shelter for the needy, and she has donated her time as a peer tutor and as a youth camp counselor. “Peyton is super-dangerous and skilled,” said Kevin Spraul, head coach of Oak Hills High School. “She’s very technical and super-crafty on the ball. When she was man-marked and doubled up, she still found space to get the ball and score or assist.”
Kohls has maintained a weighted 4.13 GPA in the classroom. She has made a verbal commitment to play soccer on scholarship at Xavier University beginning in the fall of 2023.
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. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media and others as sources to help evaluate and determine the state winners in each sport.
Kohls joins recent Gatorade Ohio Girls Soccer Players of the Year Taylor Huff (2020-21, Madison Comprehensive High School), Kailyn Dudukovich (2019-20, Lakota West High School), and Anna Podojil (2018-19 & 2017-18, Indian Hill High School), among the state’s list of former award winners.
Gatorade has a long-standing history of serving athlete communities and understands how sports instill valuable lifelong skills on and off the field. Through Gatorade’s “Play it Forward” platform, Kohls has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national organization of their choosing that helps young athletes realize the benefits of playing sports. Kohls is also eligible to submit a short video explaining why the organization they chose is deserving of one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants, which will be announced throughout the year. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $3.5 million across more than 1,300 organizations.
Since the program’s inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators.
To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit playeroftheyear.gatorade.com or follow us on social media on Facebook at facebook.com/GatoradePOY, Instagram at instagram.com/Gatorade and Twitter at twitter.com/Gatorade.