Hoffman named All-American

Six months ago, Chandler Hoffman was receiving e-mail after e-mail from college coaches wanting him to come play at their school, but by July only one remained — UCLA.

Hoffman, a senior forward at Oak Mountain High School, has emerged as one of the nation’s elite soccer players for the Class of 2009, and his recent High School All-America selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America proves it.

“It’s unreal. It’s been a blessing to get the multiple honors that have come after this season,” Hoffman said. “When I saw some of the other guys on the list, it meant even more, because I know that some of them will go play professionally straight out of high school, and just to be considered at that caliber is something special.”

Hoffman said all of the attention even continues on Sundays, while teaching fifth and sixth graders in his Sunday School class, Gold Rush, at Oak Mountain Presbyterian Church.

“They all get me to sign autographs and bring soccer balls,” Hoffman said. “It’s fun to talk with them about what they can be doing to progress as an athlete and as a person.”

Hoffman is the second Oak Mountain boys’ soccer player to be named an All-American after Chris Markey was in 2007.

The honor comes after Hoffman helped lead Oak Mountain to its second-straight state championship in Class 6A and after leading the Birmingham United Soccer Association Academy team in two national showcases.

Through his high school career so far, Hoffman has 77 goals and 23 assists. He had 34 goals and 11 assists last season as a junior.

But Hoffman is trying to not let all of the success go to his head.

“I am thankful that I have really good parents that keep me grounded,” he said. “I try to think about what I can get better at, because I know I’m not the best player right now. That’s a motivating factor. I know I haven’t reached my peak yet and can keep getting better.”

Hoffman, the only Alabamian on the team, will be recognized with the other High School All-Americans at the NSCAA Convention in St. Louis on Jan. 17.