Only eight other athletes, including LeBron James, Candace Parker and Marion Jones have the same hardware in their trophy case as Milford (N.H.) senior forward Morgan Andrews. Andrews, who was named the 2012-13 Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year today, becomes only the ninth high school athlete to repeat as a national winner. Three-time Olympic gold medalist and Team USA midfielder Heather O’Reilly delivered the news in a surprise visit.
“I had no idea this was coming,” Andrews said. “There are so many great players out there—some of them I’ve been teammates with—that I didn’t expect to win this again. I’m so grateful to so many people. I would never be in this position without each and every one of them.”
A three-time Gatorade State Player of the Year, the 5-foot-9 Andrews led the Spartans to a 16-3-1 record and the Division II state title this past season. She scored 31 goals and passed for 18 assists, notching both goals in Milford’s 2-1 win over Souhegan in the state final. Andrews served as captain of the U.S. Soccer Under-17 Women’s National Team throughout 2012, leading Team USA to the CONCACAF title last spring and an unbeaten record in group play at the 2012 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Azerbaijan last fall. She has signed with the University of Notre Dame.
The Gatorade Player of the Year award recognizes outstanding athletic excellence as well as high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Andrews is now a finalist for the Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year award. USA Today High School Sports administrates the nationwide selection process in collaboration with Gatorade.
“I can talk to you about Morgan Andrews all day," said Albertin Montoya, head coach of the U.S. Soccer Under-17 Women’s National Team at the 2012 FIFA U-17 World Cup. "I think the world of this kid. She’s an incredible leader. She’s humble, driven, she’s a captain. She’s separate from the pack. On the field, she’s as good as it gets. Technique, vision, she’s special. Her understanding, her capability to control the game. Special. She’s driven to be the best. Andrews is the most complete player I've encountered at her age.”
Andrews, a natural central-midfielder, concluded her prep soccer career with 114 goals and 53 assists. She is a member of the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team and has been an invitee at U-23 camp for Team USA. The 2012 National Soccer Coaches Association of America High School Player of the Year and a two-time NSCAA All-American selection, Andrews concluded her prep soccer career with 114 goals and 53 assists.
“This is an emotional day and it’s critical to her development as an athlete,” said O’Reilly, 28, who was named Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year in 2002-03. “It’s so important for her to stop and smell the roses and see how far she’s come and thank the people she’s relied on to get here. I’m really proud of her. She’s a special person.”
The placekicker for the Spartans’ football team, earning Division II All-State honors in 2011, Andrews has maintained a 3.16 GPA in the classroom. She founded and directs the Kicks for Cans charitable initiative, providing clinic-format training to area youth soccer players whose admission fee is canned food, which is donated to a local food bank. Andrews has also served as a community-outreach volunteer for Share Barn, providing clothing and moral support to area needy.
The teen has further donated her time as a coach for the Nashua World Cup Soccer Club and the Inti Soccer Academy for disadvantaged youth. She also spearheaded collaboration with American Red Cross on a “Holiday Cards for Heroes” campaign in 2012, coordinating mailing of over 1,700 seasons greetings messages to troops deployed overseas.
One of only 20 athletes in the award’s 28-year history to be named National Player of the Year as a non-senior, Andrews is now the ninth to win the award twice, joining two-time male honorees James, Greg Oden (2005-06), Brandon Knight (2009-10) and Lukas Verzbicas (2010-11) along with female winners Jones, Parker, Cynthia Barboza (2004-05) and Kenzie Fowler (2008-09). She is the first soccer player in the award’s history to repeat.
Andrews is the only prep athlete from New Hampshire to earn national Gatorade honors in any sport. California has produced the most national winners with 60 followed by Texas (27), Florida (19) and Illinois (15).