Blaine’s Colton Nelson receives award for work beyond the soccer pitch

Blaine senior soccer player Colton Nelson was nominated and awarded one of two 2013 Sanneh Foundation Leadership Award during the third annual Gala 4 Goals event at The Depot in Minneapolis.

Colton Nelson, right, received one of two 2013 Sanneh Foundation Leadership Awards during the Gala 4 Goals event. Photo by Bill Jones
Colton Nelson, right, received one of two 2013 Sanneh Foundation Leadership Awards during the Gala 4 Goals event. Photo by Bill Jones

The award was in recognition of soccer excellence, academic achievement and outstanding community service with nominations coming from coaches, teachers or mentors. Longtime Blaine boys’ soccer coach Berry Arrowsmith nominated Nelson, who helped the Bengals reach their first state championship game.

Eastview edged Blaine 3-2 in the Class AA title game. Nelson didn’t score in the final, but converted a penalty kick in a 3-1 semifinal win over Bloomington Jefferson. He was one of four Blaine players selected to the All-Tournament team.

Nelson, a four-year starting defender for the Bengals, played 6,480 minutes missing just 10 minutes during his time as a Bengal and helping him garner Most Improved Player honors as a ninth-grader, Most Valuable Player as a senior in addition to captain, All-Northwest Suburban honors (three years) and All-NWSC Honorable Mention (ninth grade).

Arrowsmith said that Nelson “is a very selfless young man that always puts others first. He gets good grades, participates in numerous activities and is a natural leader.”

As a senior he also earned All-State, All-Metro, All-Midwest, All-American nominee, Mr. Soccer nominee, Senior Classic participant, ODP team in 2008 and 2011, ODP Regional Camp (Minnesota) 2008 and attended Shattuck-St. Mary’s Invitational Camp.

Nelson also excelled in the classroom with a 3.8 grade-point average and plans to attend St. John’s University in the fall.

In addition to being a four-year letter winner for his play on the field, Nelson coached the Little Kickers Program for four to eight year olds from 2010-12 and helped coach at Blaine Soccer Club summer camps in 2011-2012 in addition to refereeing. He now leads the Foot Skills program at Blaine High School for students in grades six-12.

“Participants and parents comment on his knowledge of soccer, his patience with the players and his willingness to take on responsibility,” said Arrowsmith, who first met Nelson during a foot skills program in 2005. “Colton is, quite simply, the most remarkable young leader I have ever met.”

Nelson also earned four academic letters, three-year Spotlight on Scholarship Academic award winner and is a recipient of the Minnesota High School Soccer Coaches Association Academic Excellence Award.

Away from the field, Nelson has been a member of Epiphany Catholic Church community since 1994, volunteered at the USA CUP from 2010-2012; is a National Honor Society member, editor-in-chief of the Yearbook, Homecoming Royalty nominee and attended a Northwest Suburban Conference Leadership Workshop for select varsity captains among other accolades.

Jason Olson is at [email protected]