Milford’s Morgan Andrews named Gatorade girls soccer player of the year

MILFORD – Cyberbullying is a hot topic in schools these days.

It’s so hot that Milford High School was to have a schoolwide assembly Thursday to discuss it.

At least, that’s what Morgan Andrews was told.

When Andrews, a junior on the Spartans girls soccer team, walked into English class Thursday morning, a camera crew was standing at the front of the room. She and her classmates were told the crew was there to interview some of them about cyberbullying, and Mark Boudrieau, her English teacher, told Andrews she was going first.

But before she could start the interview, the classroom door opened and a surprise visitor entered.

In seconds, any nerves Andrews felt over the interview turned into complete shock.

Standing inside the door was Ali Krieger, a member of the U.S. women’s soccer team, and in her hands was the trophy for the Gatorade national Girls Soccer Player of the Year.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all,” said Andrews, who has been the Gatorade New Hampshire Girls Soccer Player of the Year the last two seasons. “I thought juniors and seniors were going (Thursday) to have an assembly on cyberbullying. I was in front of the class, and Ali (Krieger) came in and surprised me. I started crying.”

As her classmates looked on in awe, Andrews got hugs from Krieger and her parents, Mark and Michelle Andrews, before everyone in the school was instructed to head to the cafeteria for a formal presentation of the award.

Principal Brad Craven opened the presentation by announcing that, after keeping the award a secret from Andrews all week and coming up with the fake assembly, he would be joining the CIA. When the laughter died, he had nothing but praise for Andrews.

“Morgan Andrews is what this award is supposed to be about,” Craven said.

Marc Maurais, the Milford athletic director, seconded that sentiment and congratulated both the family and the high school community.

“She represents her school, her team, her state and her country so positively,” Maurais said. “Congratulations to the Andrews family, for your sacrifice and love to develop the character she is. And to the teachers and the school, thank you for allowing her to live this dream.”

Andrews is the first high school athlete from New Hampshire to win a Gatorade National Player of the Year award in any sport. Each year, Gatorade gives out a national award in 12 sports and has named 242 national players of the year since 1986.

When the assembly was finished, members of the Milford girls soccer team, and other students, posed for pictures with Andrews and the trophy.

After that, the Spartans got to spend a half-hour running drills with Krieger on the Milford soccer field. Milford coach John Vlachos brought in the team’s uniforms for the practice, and Krieger donned one for her afternoon as a Spartan before posing for a team photo.

Krieger, who was the Virginia Player of the Year in 2003, was happy she was able to present the award to Andrews.

“Gatorade asked me to do this and present the award, there was no question, I said I’d be honored,” said Krieger, who added that this was the second time she’d been to New Hampshire. “Knowing that it was Morgan, who is a captain for our U17 team, it’s a special memory.”

Along with the trophy, Andrews and her family will head to Hollywood in July, as she is a finalist for the Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year. The award will be presented the night before the ESPY Awards, and Andrews will get to walk the red carpet before the ceremony.

As a junior, Andrews scored 31 goals and had six assists to help lead Milford to an 11-6-1 record and the Division II quarterfinals, and in three varsity seasons, she had 83 goals and 35 assists. She is also a midfielder and a captain for the U17 women’s national team, which won the CONCACAF title in Guatemala earlier in May.

Andrews, who has verbally committed to play at Boston College, will be a captain for Team USA at the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in Azerbaijan in the fall and recently was invited to camp with the U.S. Soccer U23 women’s national team.

Gatorade annually awards athletes from states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross-country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls track, baseball and softball, and hands out one national award for each sport.

The selection process is administered by ESPNHS and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, who give the awards based on athletic excellence, high standards of academic achievement, and character on and off the field.