December S’Hero | Morgan Andrews
RICHMOND, VA (December 15, 2016) – The Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) today announced Morgan Andrews as the December S’Hero of the Month award recipient for individual and community leadership. As part of Amazing Young WomenTM movement, the ECNL is sharing the stories of S’Heroes who are role models for our nation’s young female athletes who are balancing their drive to become elite athletes with the pressures of fitting in with social peers.
S’Heroes are a part of the Amazing Young WomenTM campaign designed to showcase strong, successful women who embody the fact that drive on the soccer field translates into life lessons. The ECNL is calling on all who love sports to join them in supporting youth female athletes as they recognize their own potential, define their individual paths to success, and prepare to be our next generation of leaders using the hashtag #UNSHAKABLE.
Studies have shown that driving factors behind girls dropping out of sports include limited exposure to the inspirational journeys trail blazed by positive role models, and social stigma; where player traits that are so valued by teams are often not promoted for young girls. By age 14, girls are dropping out of sports at two times the rate of boys 1. The Amazing Young Women campaign encourages young female athletes to embrace their competitive nature, and prove they cannot be shaken from the path to their dreams. Those recognized as S’Heroes have taken a spirit of leadership and inspiration from the field, and have demonstrated that it’s not just about a phase of your life, but a way of life.
“The focus of an elite athlete is to be the best when you compete, striving to raise the bar every time you play,” said Jen Winnagle, ECNL Commissioner. “The ECNL provides a platform for young women to embrace their talents both on and off the field, helping to develop and motivate these amazing athletes to reach new heights through all phases of life.”
S’Hero – Morgan Andrews
Morgan Andrews is a current senior women’s soccer player at the University of Southern California (USC) and MAC Hermann Trophy Finalist. She is a former NSCAA All-American, Gatorade National High School Athlete of the Year, Youth National Team Player, FC Stars ECNL Alum, and current NCAA National Champion as of December 4th. Morgan’s appetite and energy for the game is contagious, impacting teammates and colleagues both on and off the field.
Morgan’s story begins in Milford, New Hampshire where her passion for the beautiful game sprouted early on. The love and support of her family provided the playing environment her competitive attitude and unwavering spirit yearned for, leading her down a path full of opportunities. Soccer was the vessel used to open doors.
Nothing came easy, and the value of hard work was engrained from her family, friends and coaches. Morgan was drawn to soccer and relentless in her practice and role as a true student of the game. So much so, her parents started researching soccer clubs that would be a good fit for her, as she was ready for a bigger challenge. Both Morgan and her parents agreed that they needed to find the best club and environment in their area for her to grow as a player and a person.
At age ten, her father reached out to FC Stars in Massachusetts. They did not know it then, but it was the beginning of a never-ending friendship. There may or may not have been some confusion about Morgan’s age at the start, but there was no doubt in her ability to play. She started her youth soccer career with FC Stars playing up two age groups, and holding her own against the likes of Stephanie McCaffrey who became one of her long-term teammates and closest friends.
Morgan was part of a special group of young girls, who grew into amazing young women; all of which went on to play at the collegiate level, pursuing their dream while getting an education. Training was something they looked forward to, and could not get enough of; pushing the limit to be the best every day was all the motivation they needed to work together for a bigger purpose.
“One of my fondest memories from club was at an ECNL National Event. We played particularly poor that day, so we were a bit off.” said Andrews, “I remember going back to the hotel, and everyone met in one room. The lights were turned off, we held hands, and we sang ‘The World’s Greatest’ by R.Kelly. This was the turning point for us, and the mental tweak we needed to fight. It sounds so cliché now, but the emotional bond we shared at this moment is one that will forever stay with me.”
Morgan attributes the commitment and pulse of the team to the expectations set by her coach of eight years, Jason Dewhurst. The relationship amongst teammates, from player to coach, and coach to player was unique and helped mold the character of the team. The connection between all of them is something that you cannot learn, it just is. Limits were challenges to push against and break, and the belief in each other led this group of sisters to a successful youth career.
“Morgan was and still is a remarkable player, and an even better human being.” said Dewhurst, FC Stars Director of Coaching, “She pushes herself and those around her daily, setting the bar high for the next generation of players. I am honored to have worked with her, proud of all that she has accomplished, and look forward to the next chapter she writes.”
The expectation to be the best was an internal voice that constantly spoke to Morgan. Driving her to compete and giving her the confidence to fight for what she wanted. The enjoyment of challenges became her habit, and she shared this with others along the way. As she continued to grow as a player, the decision on where to play collegiate soccer fell at her feet. This was a tough decision, and one that took her on an unforeseen path.
In her freshman year of high school Morgan decided that New England was her home, and she committed to one of the nation’s top programs in Boston College. As she matured and progressed through high school, she came to the realization that she needed to spread her wings. The support system of her hometown will always be there, and she was ready for the next big challenge. Just as she had done with club, committing to an hour and half drive each way, she was prepared to sacrifice to keep growing.
That being said, she changed her course and committed to the University of Notre Dame. The school, coaches and team made the decision easy. Morgan went on to play two seasons, earning the ACC Freshman of the Year award, two-time ACC Second Team honoree, notching 13 goals and more while starting every game for the Fighting Irish.
With her sights set on being the best and playing at the professional level, Morgan faced her most difficult decision yet. Commitment to excellence and being a part of a team that shared the same point of view was important. Changes occurred within the Notre Dame program that were out of her control, but she was in the driver’s seat for her future. The choice to transfer was a heavy burden, but deep down she knew it was the right move for her. It was a tedious yet exciting process, as she began to search for the next place she would call home.
With the motivation to propel herself further in her soccer career and spread her wings even further, she connected with Keidane McAlpine at USC. Morgan knew that the stars had aligned and she had found her way, jumping in with two feet and taking her game across the country.
Morgan was drawn to the plan McAlpine put in place for the program, buying in from the moment she stepped on campus and never looking back. She went on to earn All Pac-12 First Team, All-Pacific First Team and NSCAA All-American Second Team honors in her first season, tallying twelve goals and four assists, becoming the first Trojan to score a hat trick in an NCAA post season game.
The emphasis of teamwork and the work it takes to maintain one heartbeat as a team is shared amongst members of the USC Women’s Soccer Team. Morgan embodies the spirit of working for a bigger cause, and it shows through her efforts on and off the field. It is this mentality that led her to becoming part of the program, sacrificing a great deal to create her own path.
Morgan recently finished her senior season wearing red and gold, lifting the coveted NCAA National Championship trophy with her teammates to close it out, a perfect ending to a chapter full of change, courage and dedication.
The future is bright, as she maintains her dream to play professionally and becoming an impact player for the next program she joins. Morgan plans to enter the NWSL draft next month in hopes of achieving this goal and adding to her prestigious journey, with the goal of representing her country on the national stage. She will finish her courses and graduate with a degree in Broadcast Journalism this spring, a passion of hers she will pursue after her playing days have concluded.
Morgan is a fearless and tireless worker in the movement of the women’s game. She has the ability to influence and instill positive change in the world through her hard work and example. Morgan is a true leader in her craft. Her courage and willingness to be different, and her drive to push on to the next challenge is commendable and illustrates what it means to be an Amazing Young Woman.
To learn more about Morgan Andrews, click here.
About Amazing Young WomenTM: The Amazing Young Women campaign is a dynamic platform of online and local market activations that showcase and celebrate female role models offering an aspirational focus for all female athletes and teens as they prepare to be our next generation of leaders. The ECNL is calling on all of the nation’s women to join the movement to celebrate the endless potential of today’s girls.
Women of all ages can share their personal moments of inspiration where they defined what it is to be #UNSHAKABLE through elevated stories and social media. Every share and submission helps drive a movement that celebrates the power of what it is to be a girl today.
About Elite Clubs National League ®: The Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) was founded in 2009 to enhance the developmental experience of female youth soccer players in the United States through: (i) improving the competitive environment through creation of a true national competitive league; (ii) improving the process for identifying elite female soccer players through a systematic scouting and identification program based on national competitions; and (iii) improving the daily training environment at top female youth soccer clubs through developing best practices and training and organizational guidelines for its member clubs. The ECNL is sanctioned by US Club Soccer and is sponsored by Nike Soccer.
For media enquiries:
1. Girls drop-out at different rates depending on where they live. Sabo, D. and Veliz, P. (2008). Go Out and Play: Youth Sports in America. East Meadow, NY: Women’s Sports Foundation.