Niehaus, a senior, was nominated by Dulaney High School boys' varsity soccer coach Daniel Skelton, who praised his "relentless, workman-like mentality."
"When I think of an unsung hero," Skelton wrote in his nomination, "I think of the most selfless person on the team, a person who is willing to pour their soul onto the field for their teammates at the expense of themselves, and this is exactly what Sam Niehaus did every single day."
Niehaus first made the varsity soccer team as a sophomore, and he didn't let his limited playing time hold him back. After working hard at practice, he earned a starting position by the end of the season.
This year as a senior, Niehaus was selected to be one of the team's captains.
"Sam is the type of player that leads by example," Skelton wrote. "He always brings his best so that he is pushing not just his limitations but pushing his teammates as well so that he is making them better."
And while Niehaus may not score the most goals, he has proven he can contribute in other ways.
"I have watched Sam work tirelessly in games, sprinting, jumping, tackling, scrapping for every inch to help his team win," Skelton wrote. "And although Sam rarely lights up the scoreboard, his impact on the game was absolutely undeniable."
Above all, Skelton commended Niehaus for his consistent effort, whether in games or during practice, and how that effort impacted the whole team.
"No matter how strong the opposing team was or how big the game was, no matter how scorching hot or wet and cold, Sam set the bar high so that his teammates had to give their best just to reach it," Skelton wrote. "As a coach, what else could you ask for?"
For Niehuas, the recognition came as somewhat of a surprise.
"It was certainly unexpected," Niehaus said at the award presentation. "Being a player that doesn't do a lot of talking and doesn't score a lot of goals, it was certainly something that I wasn't expecting to receive, but of course, it's always an honor to receive an award like this from my coach."
And as he goes through the college application process, Niehaus hopes to continue soccer at the club or intramural level next year.
"As long as I can keep playing, I'll be happy," he said.