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East Bladen senior Gabe Barber, who led the Eagles to their third straight Three Rivers Conference soccer championship, has been named the 2019 TRC Player of the Year.

“Gabe was a huge factor to our success this season,” said East Bladen Coach Jay Raynor. “He was instrumental in our off-season preparations that contributed to our success on and off the field as well as our 17-game winning streak. Gabe leads by example. He is extremely motivated and goal oriented.”

Barber (pictured, above) topped the Eagle scoring with 24 goals, dished out 22 assists and was credited with 423 steals. East Bladen’s 17-game winning streak was a school record.

“Gabe not only improved his game but also his leadership this season”, said Raynor. “We had a big void in our 10 position (Attacking Midfielder) at the beginning of the year. I wasn’t sure Gabe would be our answer there, but he showed that he was not only our answer for the moment, but that he would make that his position.”

Raynor continued, “Gabe worked at his game daily, learning the technical and mental aspect of that position. He thrived in the 10 spot and made not only himself, but his teammates better.”

Barber became the fourth player in East Bladen program history to earn Conference Player of The Year and the third to earn All-State honors. In his final three seasons at East Bladen, the Eagles were 41-1 in conference play and 56-8-3 overall.

“It was a privilege and a honor to coach this team,” noted Raynor. “Gabe was a heck of a leader and a player. He came through in big moments throughout the year and made himself standout amongst the best in the state.

“I’m super proud of Gabe and his accomplishments,” concluded Coach Raynor. “He has helped make history for us on the field and is one of the most selfless players and people that I have ever coached. Gabe has plans to attend one of the service academies. That says a lot about him and his character.”

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