Morgan Andrews said she is still surprised she was named the Gatorade National Girls' Soccer Player of the Year. But the junior from Milford High doesn't really get a lot of time to reflect on it — she's too busy doing what earned her the award in the first place.
Andrews was in Guatemala during the first two weeks of May captaining the United States Under-17 women's national team to the 2012 CONCACAF U-17 championship and a spot in the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup this fall in Azerbaijan. Two weeks later, she was surprised during a school assembly and presented with her Gatorade award by national-team standout Ali Krieger.
Her heady accomplishments helped Andrews become the May Athlete of the Month as voted on by the New Hampshire Union Leader Board of Judges.
Andrews topped a ballot that included St. Thomas Aquinas baseball player Jordan Bean, record-setting track athlete Betsy Garnick of Pelham and Bishop Guertin of Nashua, and Duke lacrosse player Josh Dionne of Merrimack.
Other receiving votes were St. Joseph's of Maine pitcher Chad Rafferty of Keene, Campbell High of Litchfield softball pitcher Allie Nolan, Concord High lacrosse player Jane Symmes, Bedford High tennis player Mark HoSang and Goffstown baseball player Tyler Barss.
Andrews played every minute in the midfield during the national team's five-match unbeaten run through the CONCACAF tournament that ended with a 1-0 win over defending champion Canada on May 12. She scored her only goal of the tournament on a free kick five minutes into the second half of a semifinal win over Panama.
Andrews just returned this week from training camp with the U-17 national team at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. It was the first of two training camps the team will hold before the U-17 Women's World Cup, Sept. 22-Oct. 13, and the first time Andrews joined her teammates with the distinction of being national player of the year.
“Whenever I step onto the field, I always give it my all,” Andrews said. “But it may change how people see me.”
The Gatorade National Player of the Year Awards have been given to high school students in 12 sports for the past 27 years and Andrews is the first student-athlete from New Hampshire to be honored. She is also just the 19th underclassmen nationally to earn the distinction in any sport.
Andrews, already committed to Boston College, never stops trying to get better. In between her stints with the national team, she trains with a club team in Lancaster, Mass., will play this summer for a team out of Connecticut in the Women's Premier Soccer League and goes to Nashua twice a week to work out with a strength and conditioning coach.
She will return from the World Cup in time to join her high school team for the second half of the season.
“My first priority is the World Cup, but I want to come back to play with them,” Andrews said of her Milford teammates.
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Jim Fennell may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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To submit a nomination for future Athlete of the Month consideration, email the Union Leader Sports Department at email@example.com and enter “Athlete of the Month” in the subject line.
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Previous 2012 winners: January, Drew Ledwith, Keene (swimming); February, Zach Bridson, Sandown (wrestling); March, Curtis Arsenault, Berlin (basketball), Peter Williamson, Hanover (golf).