After leading Fairview to the Class AA state semifinals in back-to-back seasons, Brandon Parrish added the Gatorade Tennessee Boys Soccer Player of the Year honor to his growing accolades.
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Parrish as Tennessee’s best high school boys soccer player.
Early last month, Parrish was also named an Allstate All-American and will compete in July’s Allstate Cup in Orlando, Florida. The Yellow Jacket junior, a two-time District 12-AA Player of the Year, scored 38 goals and had 11 assists this season.
“He is the heart of our offensive attack and this team is completely different without him,” Fairview coach Shane Smith said.
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Rival coach Eric Shelton said Parrish’s athleticism and touch for the ball set him apart. Shelton’s Nolensville team fell to Fairview in the Region 6-AA semifinals as the Yellow Jackets went on to clinch the region title for the second season in a row.
“His ability to create just that 6 inches of space to get a shot off and then the power behind that shot is, I mean, that’s a deadly combination,” Shelton said.
Parrish grew up on the soccer field with much of his early years spent at Franklin High School, where his family’s ties run deep.
His grandfather is the late Jimmy Burchett, who compiled a 309-72-34 record with the Lady Rebels in addition to winning four state titles. His mom, Jenger, helped maintain the Lady Rebels’ dominance in the early years of the sport in Tennessee. She was the MVP of the state tournament in 1989 after leading Franklin to a championship and another unbeaten season. The Lady Rebels didn’t lose a match until getting upended in the state final in 1988, ending a nearly seven-year winning streak.
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Franklin High’s girls strung together four more titles from 1990 to 1993 and Parrish’s mom went on to coach at Lipscomb for five seasons, while his dad became the boys coach at Franklin for a stretch as well.
All that history came together in April, when Parrish played on the Franklin field for the first time with Fairview. The Rebels held off the Yellow Jackets for a 2-1 win, but Parrish said the match will always be a special memory.
“After my grandfather passed a couple years ago, I knew how important it was for me to play there, and I wanted to go and show him, up above, that, you know, I can do it, too,” Parrish said of the match. “Just like my mom did. … I mean it was unbelievable to play on that field. I know my grandfather was watching.”
Parrish, a 5-foot-9, 152-pounder, is the first Gatorade Player of the Year recipient from Fairview. He recorded 11 multiple-goal matches, including six hat tricks. He concluded his junior year with 68 goals and 40 assists in his prep career with the Yellow Jackets.
Parrish has also volunteered locally with the Special Olympics and as a youth soccer coach. He has maintained a weighted 3.27 GPA in the classroom.
In March, Parrish announced that he has verbally committed to play soccer on scholarship at Clemson University beginning in the fall of 2020.