Lewiston’s Bilal Hersi stays in control of the ball as Messalonskee’s Benoit Levesque defends during the Class A North boys soccer semifinal in Lewiston in November. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

For the second year in a row, Lewiston High School’s Bilal Hersi has been selected as the Gatorade Maine Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

Hersi is only Maine’s fourth two-time recipient in the 35 years of the award, joining Gabe Hoffman-Johnson (2008-09 and 2009-10) and Roger Levesque (1997-98 and 1998-99), both of Falmouth High School, and Sean Brady (1992-93 and 1993-94) of Cape Elizabeth High School.

Hersi, who has signed a letter of intent to play soccer at NCAA Division I Siena University, scored 32 goals and assisted on 12 others this season, and helped Lewiston reach its third consecutive Class A state championship game.

Hersi is a two-time Sun Journal Boys Soccer Player of the Year and a two-time United Soccer Coaches All-American. He was also a first-team all-state selection, the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Player of the Year, the Maine Sunday Telegram Player of the Year and the Maine Soccer Coaches Player of the Year.

“Bilal has an unbelievable work ethic on the field and he plays with incredible pace,” Edward Little boys soccer coach Tim Mains said in a news release. “He’s made himself better every year, and he continues to make his teammates better, as well.”

Along with athletic excellence, the Gatorade Player of the Year award also recognizes academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Hersi maintained a B-plus average in the classroom and has volunteered as a youth soccer coach and Islamic studies teacher.

Hersi is the second Lewiston player to win the Gatorade Player of the Year award. The first was Abdi Shariff-Hassan, who earned the honor in the 2015-16 school year. Four of the past five Gatorade Maine Boy Soccer Player of the Year recipients have played in the Lewiston-Auburn area, including the past three: along with Hersi and Shariff-Hassan, Hebron Academy’s Michael Tahiru won the award in 2017-18.

Hersei is now a finalist for the Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

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