HUNTERDON COUNTY, NJ - The Hunterdon County Board of Chosen Freeholders recognized Hunterdon Central Regional High School rising senior Emily Mason, one of the country’s brightest young soccer stars and best homegrown sports talents in county history.

In late June, Mason added the accolade of being selected as the 2019-2020 Gatorade National Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year to her long list of athletic highlights and achievements as a Red Devil. Mason also broke ground in local athletics as the very first Gatorade New Jersey Girls Soccer Player of the Year to come from Hunterdon Central.

Mason is also just the second New Jersey student-athlete to win the Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year award, after East Brunswick’s Heather O’Reilly was selected for the honor in 2003. The Gatorade national girls soccer award has been given since 1998, a little over a decade after the sports beverage brand was created in 1985.

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During the fall 2019 soccer season, Mason led the girls soccer team to the top spot in the Skylands Conference, with a 21-1-1 record. Last season, she recorded nine goals and three assists.

The freeholders’ July 7 proclamation noted that Mason also “anchored a defense that allowed just nine goals in 23 games during the 2019 season.”

Also in 2019, Mason was selected as NJ.com’s Player of the Year.

Mason has already committed to playing for the Rutgers University Scarlet Knights women’s soccer team when she starts college in the 2021-2022 academic year.

At its July 7 meeting, the freeholder board unanimously approved a proclamation honoring Mason for her achievements, with Freeholder Director Shaun C. Van Doren reading the full official proclamation aloud. Van Doren said the freeholders and county government wished to honor Mason for her excellent athletic performance and national recognitions.

The board congratulated Mason on her “monumental achievement” on behalf of all residents of her home of Hunterdon County. At the same time the board recognized her dedication to the community.

In being selected as the 2019-2020 Gatorade National Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year, Mason qualified as a finalist for being named the Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year, and that award was set for a July announcement.

In each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Gatorade selects its State High School Player of the Year for boys’ and girls’ soccer, football, volleyball, boys’ and girls’ track & field, softball, baseball, boys’ and girls’ cross country and boys’ and girls’ basketball.

Days after the freeholder board’s official recognition and congratulations for the star local student-athlete, Hunterdon Central girls soccer head coach Jeannine Calhoun commented on Mason’s contributions to the team through her junior year, and spoke of what she can bring to the team in the culmination of an outstanding high school soccer career in the upcoming academic year and soccer season.

“Emily is an extraordinary player and teammate because she has a relentless commitment to improve and learn,” Calhoun said. “Emily commits to the improvement of her game with her fitness, strength and technical training like none other. She also plays the game with joy and energy that elevates the play of everyone around her.”

Hunterdon Central athletic director Jesse Spencer provided his reflections on Mason’s leadership and contributions to sports overall at the high school. Spencer said Mason is blessed with, and works on bringing, “all the intangibles” to the game of soccer.

“Emily Mason has been a tremendous student athlete here at Hunterdon Central,” he said. “She plays the game with such passion and her positivity is infectious. Emily is a dynamic player who possesses a unique ability to change any game she’s in. She is selfless on the field, and a wonderful teammate. Her leadership and the team-first attitude has gained the respect of so many in athletics and beyond. Emily has been a wonderful student athlete at Hunterdon Central and we are excited to see the soccer team competing again this fall.”