The award is presented by the Gatorade Company in conjunction with ESPNHS.
Fender is now a finalist for the Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year award, which will be announced later this month.
Fender is the second Walton player to have been selected for the honor, with ex-Raider standout Connor Barbaree being chosen in 2008. Former Lassiter player Jordan McCrary won the award in 2010.
“Obviously, it’s a great honor,” Fender said. “I know some of the guys who have won the award like Jordan and Connor and to follow those guys, who I admire so much, is a great honor. It also shows that all the hard work I did paid off.”
Fender, a UCLA signee, finished his high school career with his best season in his four years at Walton, scoring 10 goals and dishing out 13 assists to lead the Raiders to the Region 5AAAAA championship and the quarterfinals of the Class AAAAA state playoffs.
“I think the award is well deserved,” Walton coach Bruce Wade said. “Holden is a great player. The best way to explain him as a coach is that when he gets the ball, you know he’s going to do what we want him to do.”
Fender is also a member of the U.S. Soccer Under-17 men’s national team and a 2011 Youth All-American selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
The Gatorade Georgia Boys Soccer Player of the Year award recognized Fender for not only his accomplishments on the soccer field, but in the classroom and the community as well.
Fender maintains a 3.56 grade point average and has volunteered locally with the US Youth Soccer TOPSoccer program that serves young athletes with disabilities as well as serving as a youth coach and a mentor.
The Gatorade Player of the Year award program awards one winner in a number of high school sports in all 50 states every year.
With his selection, Fender joins an impressive list of past Gatorade state player of the year winners in a number of sports, including New York Yankee star Derek Jeter (Baseball, Michigan 1992), U.S. Women’s soccer team mainstay Abby Wambaugh (girls soccer, New York, 1998), New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (football, California, 2005) and WNBA star Candace Parker (girls basketball, Illinois, 2002).