Olivia Candelino ’20 has been named the 2019-20 Gatorade Florida Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year, the first in the sport to be chosen from Bolles and the fourth in all sports. Candelino joins Charles Hicks ’19 (boys’ cross country), Caitlin Collier ’18 (girls’ track and field) and Chipper Jones ’90 (baseball) as Bolles athletes to earn the distinction.
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 Candelino as Florida’s best high school girls’ soccer player. Candelino is a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year award to be announced in June.
Candelino led the Bulldogs to a 23-6 record and the Class 3A state championship this past season, tallying 41 goals and 40 assists and producing multiple points in 19 of 29 games. Twice named the Florida Dairy Farmers Class 3A Player of the Year and a three-time state champion, Candelino was a 2019 Allstate All-America selection. She concluded her prep soccer career with 107 goals and 96 assists.
A member of the Bolles School National Spanish Honor Society, Candelino has volunteered locally with her school’s Hearts for the Homeless Club and as a youth soccer mentor and coach. Candelino has maintained a weighted 3.96 GPA in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on scholarship at Auburn University.
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 work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.
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.