Diego Vargas of Neosho has been named the area high school boys soccer player of the year by the Globe's sports department.
Vargas, a junior midfielder, has been part of Neosho's varsity team that has won three consecutive district championships -- a first in school history.
This year he helped the Wildcats add more firsts to their program history — first two state tournament wins to advance to the semifinal round for the first time.
After beating Webb City 1-0 in the Class 3 district final, the Wildcats downed Willard 2-0 and Jefferson City Helias Catholic 4-2. At the state championships, Neosho lost 3-0 to Platte County in the semifinals and 3-0 to Webster Groves in the third-place game. The Wildcats finished with an 18-9 record.
"In addition to being an exceptional leader, Diego's physicality, passing ability and willingness to contribute on the offensive and defensive side of the ball make him one of the best players in the state," Neosho coach James Carter said.
Vargas tallied eight goals and five assists as a junior, earning all-region player of the year and first team all-state laurels. He also was first team all-district and second team all-Central Ozark Conference.