Extraordinary. No other word best describes the athletic résumé of Milford (N.H.) senior forward Morgan Andrews.
For starters, she led the Spartans to the Division II girls soccer championship last November. She’s captained the U.S. Soccer Under-17 Women’s National Team and is also a three-time Gatorade New Hampshire Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Oh, and did we mention Andrews is a three-time National Soccer Coaches Assocation of America All-American?
One might expect amassing one impressive accomplishment after another is exhausting. But not for Andrews, who will continue to hone her fierce skills at Notre Dame beginning in the fall.
Andrews’ strength, resilience and encouraging nature undoubtedly warrant attention as part of USA TODAY High School Sports Girls Sports Month. We caught up with Andrews to talk soccer, traveling the world and her lucky charms.
You grew up with two older brothers. What impact did they — and playing against boys in general — have on you?
Andrews: They played when they were little, so of course I was attached at the hip. They made me into a tough player. Playing with boys, you learn how to take a hit.
I’ve always played for and against boys. There’s definitely a change in physicalities. I’d like to say that women are more into the passing game and finding a rhythm. Boys are always going 100 percent, running through everybody to get to the goal. You have to bring a mix if you want to be at a higher level. You have to be aggressive.
What’s one of the greatest advantages you’ve experienced throughout your career?
Andrews: There are things on the field you can bring out into real life. The teamwork [involved] helps build relationships. I have friendships all over the world.
Where have been your favorite places to travel for soccer?
Andrews: London — you’ve never seen so much spirit for the game. These people drink, eat and talk soccer. It’s awesome to be around. I’d love to live in England for a few weeks or months to experience the game.
La Manga, Spain — the beauty is amazing. There were mountains right outside of my hotel and right behind the mountains was a beach. It was like being in a dream.
Azerbaijan — to experience the difference cultures was really cool. There are beautiful women who wore different colored scarves and everyone seemed so chic. The fashion was awesome.
When you travel abroad, what are a few essentials you can’t leave home without?
Andrews: I have so many lucky charms. I pick up one wherever I go. I have a Guatemalan god charm. I probably keep about six in my bag. I always wear my Saint Christopher medal — I wear it for my brother, who is in Afghanistan.
Tell us about the Kicks for Cans initiative you founded.
Andrews: I run a two-hour soccer clinic every few months for kids 14 and under. It’s free, they just have to bring a canned good for our local food pantry, SHARE.
Our motto is “Feed the goal.” The kids are doing something they love and helping the community. I think that’s a huge deal. What goes around comes around. It’s pretty important to help those around you. I totally believe that if you make the community better, you become a better person.
What would the seasoned-Andrews tell a younger version of herself?
Andrews: One thing girls have to learn at a young age is that they can’t be afraid of the ball. That’s a challenge they have to overcome. You have to talk to yourself before every game. That’s what I do.
Go 100 percent and never give up on and off the field. There will be times when things get really hard — you lose a family member or something — you have to push through and the game with reward you. Never forget the passion you had in the beginning.