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Marauders’ Hazlett Named N.H. Soccer Player of Year

Hanover — Daniel Hazlett is a special kind of athlete.

He’s a star who doesn’t need the spotlight; a striker who doesn’t need to score; a player who cares more about his team than his individual accomplishments.

That’s why when Hanover High soccer coach Rob Grabill phoned to report that his All-American had just been named New Hampshire boys soccer player of the year by Gatorade, he talked first about Hazlett’s merits as a person before recounting his stats as a player.

“Daniel is just so deserving of this award,” Grabill said. “He’s a kid for whom I would walk over hot coals.”

Hazlett’s story is, as Grabill puts it: Amazing. He’s an adopted orphan from Ethiopia who was raised by a single mom. As a student, he maintained a 3.41 GPA and was an early acceptance at Dartmouth College, where he will play on the soccer team along with former Marauders Brendan Barth and Eric Jayne — the 2010 Gatorade player of the year.

But again, it was more than just soccer that earned Hazlett this award. His public service activities were of equal importance, and something that served to separate Hazlett from the field.

For the past two summers, Hazlett was involved in the Rotary Youth Leadership program, where he learned leadership techniques that he was able to bring back to Hanover. And last year, Hazlett served as a camp counselor.

He also has participated in Crop Hunger Walks, last year raising $800 for the hunger-fighting group.

In his free time, Hazlett also worked as a volunteer for the Norwich Rec Department, helping out in the summer at youth soccer clinics.

When he wasn’t studying or volunteering, Hazlett still found the time to play a little soccer.

Last season, the 5-foot-7, 155-pound striker led the Marauders (19-0-1) to their first Division I title. He set up one of the two goals in his team’s victory over Alvirne in the championship game.

“So many times, Daniel would move to the outside, becoming a decoy, drawing the defenders away,” Grabill said. “He didn’t care about his own scoring as long as the team won.”

Last season, Hazlett was the team’s second-leading scorer with 16 goals and seven assists. Over his four-year career, Hazlett finished with 41 goals and 25 assists to become Hanover’s second-leading all-time leading scorer.

Other coaches took note of Hazlett’s abilities as well.

“Hazlett is very difficult to defend,” Scott Dunlop, head coach at Concord High, said last fall. Concord held Hanover to a scoreless tie during the regular season. “He has great speed on the ball and his first touch is outstanding. It takes a collective team effort to contain him.”

Hazlett became the fourth Hanover player to earn the award in its 29-year history. Along with being named by the All-American National Soccer Coaches Association of America, he was also named first-team All-State.

The Gatorade program annually recognizes one player from each state, plus the District of Columbia. Hazlett is now a finalist for the Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year award, to be announced in May.

Grabill sees his striker taking up a new position at Dartmouth — an attacking midfielder.

“He has the speed and the two-footedness to make an impact at that position,” said the coach.