The Gilbert High School boys’ varsity soccer team finished the 2016-2017 season ranked No. 6 nationally, according to MaxPreps, the online high school sports media brand.

MaxPreps ranks more than 16,000 boys’ varsity soccer teams each fall.

“Each season, nearly 34,000 varsity soccer teams take the field in hopes of being champions. The MaxPreps Tour of Champions and the Army National Guard honor the most outstanding teams in the nation for their state championship performance and elite national level ranking,” said Andy Beal, president and founder of MaxPreps.
“Congratulations to the Gilbert High School Tigers players, coaches and fans for an amazing year and for earning the Army National Guard’s national rankings trophy.”

Gilbert capped its season with a 1-0 win against previously unbeaten Tolleson in February to win the AIA 6A Boys’ Soccer State Championship.

A late goal by senior Danny Baca, with six minutes remaining, propelled the Tigers to their first state title since 2004 and a statewide No. 1 ranking. The team is being honored during the 12th annual MaxPreps Tour of Champions presented by the Army National Guard, which is in its sixth year honoring soccer.

“Getting to the state championship game the previous year was a big help in keeping our group grounded during the tournament this year. We also had a tougher schedule that I believe was pivotal in preparing us for the state tournament run,” said coach Jeff Perry.

After learning that they were selected to be honored on the Tour of Champions, Perry said, “This is a great moment for our program to get recognized by MaxPreps and the Army National Guard. Moments like this are few and far between, so we are extremely excited about the opportunity.”

Arizona Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Thomas McKinney presented Perry and the team with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy recently during a school assembly. The team also received a banner for their accomplishment.

“The Army National Guard represents teamwork and a commitment to community and country. Just as your team joins together to defeat adversity and win, the Army National Guard stands vigilant as a team to protect the community and country in which we live,” said Master Sgt. Mark Wojciechowski. “On behalf of the Army National Guard, I am privileged to recognize this nationally ranked, championship team for their dedication, leadership and teamwork.”

MaxPreps Computer Rankings are used to determine team rank for the Tour of Champions. The system utilizes game results stored in the MaxPreps database. Generally, the more a team wins, the higher the ranking, but the system takes into account quality wins (against other highly ranked opponents), margin of victory and strength of schedule. Playoff games are weighted 2.1 times a regular season game.