Tampa Catholic’s Marcello Valbuena, who led the Class 3A state champions in scoring, was named Mr. Soccer, the award given to the top boys player in the state by the Florida Dairy Farmers.
Valbuena, named the 3A player of the year last week, received 12 of the 17 first place votes and had 134 points, 52 more than Fort Myers Canterbury’s McLaren Baggett, the 2A player of the year.
This is the ninth time an area player has won the top overall honor in boys soccer. The last was Tampa Prep’s Shaddy Douidar in 2013.
Valbuena, a senior forward, decided to play high school soccer for the first time this season after playing strictly at the club level. The University of Tampa signee finished with 36 goals and five assists. In the 3A state title match, Valbuena connected on two goals within an eight-minute span to give Tampa Catholic its first lead, one that would last the rest of the match to secure the Crusaders’ first state title in boys soccer.