Joe Musselman goes for a ball in a game last spring. Musselman, who graduated from BHS in May, was named the Wyoming Gatorade Player of the Year. 

Bulletin file photo

Joe Musselman’s senior year came to an end without a single game played but not without being recognized for his accomplishments on and off the soccer field.

“I was excited and a little shocked since we didn’t really have a season this year,” said Musselman of being chosen as Gatorade’s Wyoming Boys Soccer Player of the Year. “It’s nice to be recognized for all of the effort that I’ve put in over the last few years.”

The award recognizes not only athletic excellence but also “high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field,” according to a press release from Gatorade.

Musselman is the perfect choice for the honor, according to coach Dick Edgcomb.

“Joe has always been small in stature but not of heart or ability,” Edgcomb said. “His creativity on the field is what stands out most. His one-on-one moves, ball control and spins are a delight to watch, and his hustle is astounding; he doesn’t appear to tire.”

A midfielder and forward for the Buffalo High School Bison, Musselman concluded his high school soccer career with 12 goals and 14 assists. He was named the 3A Underclassman of the Year his junior year and has also received all-state and all-conference honors. In 2019, he helped lead the Bison to third place at the state tournament.

“He is just a wizard with the ball,” Edgcomb said. “What really sets him apart is his willingness to play defense. When your top player is making that kind of effort on both ends of the field, it just infuses a strong work ethic into the team.”

Musselman gave credit to his coaching team, including Edgcomb and Ben Kirven, for helping him become the best player he could be.

“They’ve taught us how to move with the ball and really developed us as a team,” Musselman said. “They really bonded us together, and we’ve become a really tight group.”

In addition to his performance on the field, Musselman was recognized for his academic excellence and for his volunteer work with local organizations such as the Buffalo Senior Center’s meals program and the Boys & Girls Club of the Bighorns.

Musselman is a finalist for the Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year award, which will be announced later this month.

Musselman is the second BHS student to be named Gatorade’s Wyoming Boys Soccer Player of the Year since the award’s inception in 1985, Edgcomb said. Kasey Esponda received the honor in 2011.

Stephen Dow covers a variety of beats for the Buffalo Bulletin including the Johnson County Commissioners and JCSD #1. Stephen is a Billings native who joined the Bulletin in 2016.

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