A lot of quality boys soccer players have appeared on the pitch in Aurora in the last 15 years, but none had been able to break the city’s drought in terms of winning Gatorade’s Colorado Player of the Year award.
That changed Thursday, when Grandview High School’s Ben Beckman was announced as the first player from an Aurora boys program to win the award since 2007 and the third local player to be selected since the awards began in 1985-86.
Like the last local boys soccer winner of the Gatorade Colorado Player of the Year award — Smoky Hill star goalkeeper Miguel Rosales, who won back-to-back in 2006 and 2007 — Beckman also won a state championship. He was a key part of the magical run of coach Brian Wood’s 15-4-1 Grandview team, which went unbeaten in its last 12 games and secured the program’s first state championship with a 3-1 win over Fossil Ridge at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs.
Beckman garnered All-state, All-Centennial League and All-Aurora honors after a season in which he tied for team-high honors with seven goals (while playing on defense) — including four game-winners — with three assists and unquantifiable intangibles. Simultaneously, he was the place kicker on the Grandview football team that advanced to the 5A semifinals.
“Ben has consistently grown into a top player with exceptional skills. He was a true leader and caused us the most trouble (on the field),” Ralston Valley coach Jamie Scarcliff said in the release issued by Gatorade.
Beckman has signed to play soccer at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.
Off the field, Beckman earned a weighted 4.50 GPA and he lists his community contributions as taking part in the local chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, volunteering at the Assistance League of Denver Thrift Shop and donating time to community service through his church.
“A natural leader in and outside the classroom! A standout player and student. Proud to have coached and worked with him for four years!” Wood sent out on Twitter after the announcement of the award.
Beckman is the younger brother of Natalie Beckman, who helped the Grandview girls soccer team win multiple championships and played at the University of Denver before she was drafted by the Portland Thorns FC of the National Women’s Soccer League.
The other Gatorade Colorado Player of the Year from an Aurora school is former Regis Jesuit star Brian Mullan (1997), who went on to a professional career.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports