In its 37th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, Gatorade today announced recent Shorewood High School graduate Denis Krioutchenkov is the 2021-22 Gatorade Wisconsin Boys Soccer Player of the Year. Krioutchenkov is the first Gatorade Wisconsin Boys Soccer Player of the Year to be chosen from Shorewood 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 Krioutchenkov as Wisconsin’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, Krioutchenkov 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 6-foot-1, 175-pound senior forward scored 52 goals and passed for 13 assists this past season, leading the Greyhounds (20-1-4) to the Division 3 state championship. A First Team All-State honoree, Krioutchenkov was the Woodland Conference Player of the Year and a United Soccer Coaches All-American. He finished his prep career with 116 goals and 35 assists.
Krioutchenkov has helped feed the homeless and has volunteered locally on behalf of youth soccer camps. “I think Krioutchenkov is the best high school boys soccer player I’ve ever coached against,” said Matthew Drago, head coach at New Berlin West High School. “His shooting is absolutely next level—every shot he takes comes off with topspin and seems to find the bottom corner. We haven’t man-marked a player in four years, but we had to when we played against him.”Krioutchenkov has maintained a 3.80 GPA in the classroom. He has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on scholarship at Davidson College this fall.
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.
Krioutchenkov joins recent Gatorade Wisconsin Boys Soccer Players of the Year Will Navarre (2020-21, Nicolet High School), Eliot Popkewitz (2019-20, Verona Area High School), Carter Abbott (2018-19, Marquette University High School), and Matthew Comiskey (2017-18, Whitefish Bay 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, Krioutchenkov 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. Krioutchenkov 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.