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Staff file photo by Robin Rudd / McCallie graduate Gui Vivaldini finished his prep career with 41 goals and 23 assists, and he helped the Blue Tornado win the TSSAA Division II-AA state title as a sophomore in 2019 and reach the state semifinals this spring.

Updated with more information at 5:15 p.m. on June 11, 2021.

Gui Vivaldini, who graduated from McCallie this spring, has been chosen the Gatorade Tennessee Boys' Soccer Player of the Year.

Vivaldini had 14 goals and seven assists as a senior to help the Blue Tornado reach the TSSAA Division II-AA semifinals and finish 8-2-2 overall this past season.

"His best is freakishly good," McCallie coach Chris Cushenbery said of Vivaldini, a 6-foot-3, 170-pound mifielder and forward who has signed with the University of North Carolina.

"He's dynamic. He's so fast and gifted and just such a natural athlete who sees things that very few do during a game. His moments of brilliance are things that those who witnessed them will always remember. This is just a huge honor for Gui and for our program and very deserved."

In the 36-year history of the award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence but also high standards of academic achievement and character, Vivaldini is the third Blue Tornado player to win, joining Drew Viscomi in 2017 and Ben Stafford in 1997. Vivaldini graduated with a 3.88 GPA, was a resident adviser in his dorm and has volunteered locally as a youth soccer coach and referee.

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Staff file photo by Robin Rudd / McCallie's Gui Vivaldini, left, is a 6-foot-3, 170-pound midfielder and forward who has signed with the University of North Carolina.

He now becomes a finalist for Gatorade's national honor for boys' soccer, which will be announced later this month. Dalton's Omar Hernandez won that award in 2019 after being honored as Georgia's top boys' soccer player. Vivaldini was already the 2021 player of the year for DII-AA's East/Middle Region and finished his prep career with 41 goals and 23 assists.

"It's very rewarding," Vivaldini said of the Gatorade state award. "I came here and worked hard to be the best player I possibly can be, and this feels like the reward for that. It's amazing. It gives you an extra boost in confidence; it's a reminder to everyone that I can play."

He is the sixth Blue Tornado player in the past five years to earn an All-America honor, joining Viscomi, Jonah Bryan, Will McGregor, Noah Tremain and Matthew Warbrick. After helping McCallie win a state title in 2019, he was selected as an All-American by TopDrawerSoccer.com — the only sophomore in the nation honored that year.

"Gui plays with so much speed and is dangerous in so many ways," Chattanooga Christian coach Warren Smith said in Gatorade's release announcing the honor. "He is very, very difficult to defend. His size makes him a force."

Contact Stephen Hargis at shargis@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.

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