Spending his formative years in Tanzania developed Herbert Endeley's prowess on the soccer field and perspective in life.

"African kids don't have as much as we do in the States, and they give their best effort in soccer because they know it's their best chance at a better life," said Endeley, who was born in the United States but moved with his family to Tanzania at age 4 and lived there five years. His father, Isaac, worked for the United Nations.

"That helped my intensity and effort. I learned that the more you give to the game, the more you get from the game."

Endeley gave of himself through four varsity seasons at Totino-Grace, leading the Eagles to the Class 1A state championship last fall. They fell short of returning to state this year, but Endeley remained the catalyst with 24 goals and 11 assists. In fact, Totino-Grace was 41-0-1 the past three seasons when the dynamic forward tallied a goal or an assist.

"I've been in high school coaching since 1995, and he has a talent level I haven't seen," Eagles coach Bill Vance said.

That supreme talent makes Endeley the Star Tribune boys' soccer Metro Player of the Year. He was also named Class 1A Mr. Soccer by the coaches association.

Don't expect the attention to go the senior's head, however. "His style as captain was one of not asking others what he wouldn't do himself," Vance said. "My vision of him is from the last three weeks when he was carrying the ball bag from the locker room to the bus."

In games, Endeley and fellow forward Steevenson Lamarre tormented defenses. The Eagles went 12-0-1 in the Northwest Suburban Conference but fell in the Section 5 final to Blake.

"We knew it would be tough this season as defending champions," said Endeley, who will play collegiately at Indiana, one of the top teams in the NCAA. "But it motivated me to be the best player and person I could be."