Women's Soccer News: New England Mutiny's Spotlight on Morgan Andrews
The Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year & U.S. U-17 captain makes her Mutiny debut tomorrow vs. Philadelphia
Last week, the Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPNHS, awarded New England Mutiny midfielder Morgan Andrews the honor of 2011-12 Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year - as a high school junior. In a certain auspicious way, the Milford, NH-native could've told them both to take a number, as national & international awards and accomplishments have been running rough shod in her direction for the past few years.
In this modern environment where self-acclaim is rampant on the airwaves and internet, that just isn't the type of person Morgan is: she is an old soul in the body of a teenager who is now quickly becoming an adult.
Andrews will make her WPSL Elite debut tomorrow, as she and her new Mutiny teammates host the Philadelphia Fever at East Longmeadow H.S. (7:00 PM kick-off).
After a distinguished career in the youth ranks, the 2011 U.S. Soccer Youth Athlete of the Year Finalist will now compete in the highest level of women's soccer in the world. For the Mutiny, Morgan is another strong prospect in a long line of youth stars like former U.S. Women's National Team defender Meghan Schnur and current Canadian National Team goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe who began their adult club careers in a New England uniform.
"Congratulations to Morgan for being selected as the top girls soccer player in America," said New England Mutiny owner Joe Ferrara. "The Mutiny organization and its fans are excited to see Morgan on Saturday in her highly anticipated season debut."
Andrews became the first student-athlete from the state of New Hampshire to earn Gatorade National Player of the Year honors. The award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character that are demonstrated on and off the field, and Morgan was the best of 360,000 girls soccer players who were considered for the honor nationwide.
Andrews is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year award, which will be presented at a special ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July. Morgan recently played every minute of every game as the captain of the U.S. U-17 Women's National Team, who won the CONCACAF title in Guatemala earlier this month. Andrews will captain Team USA at the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Azerbaijan this fall.
The adult world of soccer has already begun to call upon her services, as she was a recent invitee to a select camp with the U.S. U-23 Women's National Team. Off the field, the 2011 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) National Girls Youth Player of the Year and two-time NSCAA All-American selection maintains a 3.17 GPA in the classroom.
She founded and directs the "Kicks For Cans" charitable initiative, providing training to area youth soccer players whose admission fee is canned food, which is donated to a local food bank. Andrews has verbally committed to play soccer at nationally-ranked Boston College beginning in the fall of 2013, and will be playing alongside two of her future Eagles teammates this summer in Casey Morrison and Zoe Lombard.
Q: The last year has been a virtual whirlwind in your soccer career. How has this Gatorade recognition capped such an impressive run of achievement for you?
A: Its still a lot to take in! I knew Gatorade was going to announce the honor, but I was expecting one of my teammates on the U.S. U-17 team to win. I wouldn't have been able to reach this point in my soccer career without the help of my family and my teammates. Without their support, I wouldn't be able to put my sole focus on making myself better both on and off the field.
Q: Receiving the Gatorade honor was one thing... but to have it presented to you in surprise fashion personally by USWNT defender Ali Krieger is another thing altogether. How humbling was the support from not only Ali but your local high school?
A: I was speechless... in a way, I still am! Ali is one of the players I really look up to & respect and to have this honor presented by her was something I'll never, ever forget. I'm also truly blessed to live in such a great community. Every time I go to school, there is a feeling of family. It makes me so proud to be able to represent my hometown and country in such an honorable way.
Q: The U.S. U-17's recently qualified for this fall's FIFA World Cup. What was the key to your team's success during the final qualification stages?
A: The team worked so hard before and during the tournament. Their dedication to qualifying for the World Cup was inspiring. We put so much effort into our practice and preparation that when we got on the field, we all knew where and when we had to be to succeed. We built off of our low points collectively and now we have a chance to reach for the highest honor at our level.
Q: Not only are you proficient at "futbol" but you were also an All-State selection as kicker for the Milford H.S. boy's "football" team as well. What was that experience like?
A: Normally, female athletes are the ones who want to compete alongside the men but in this case, the football coaches kind of recruited me! [laughs] But I did want to prove those people who think girls can't do the same things as guys wrong. I learned the basics of kicking and just took it from there. There was some awkwardness at first with the team, but once I became 'one of the guys' it was a great experience.
Q: And now, another era in your soccer career is about to commence... what are you looking forward to the most with your time in a Mutiny uniform?
A: I just want to be a part of the team and contribute as much as I can to it's success. This is a whole new world for me and a higher level of competition. I'll be playing alongside veteran players who've played professionally & internationally and also some of my future teammates at Boston College. I look forward to the camaraderie, learning from my teammates and taking that experience to the World Cup this fall.