McKeesport, Pa. – For many people around the globe, the sport of Soccer is not just a sport, but a way of life. They start watching or playing from a very young age and take the sport with them throughout their lifetime. For PSUGA Senior Soccer Player Nick Andrews (Penn Hills, Pa./Serra Catholic) soccer has been with him from a very young age.
He started his soccer career around four years old when he was playing for a Penn Hills Travel League. Andrews said he tried all the other sports, but soccer was the one that came easiest to him and, as he kept growing up, he got better and better and was able to continue the game that he was so passionate about all the way to the college level.
“You know you always try the baseball, soccer, deck hockey, football, and all the other sports,” said Andrews. “And soccer was always the easiest because you can just use a ball in your backyard. So, I started when I was about four years old in a Penn Hills Travel League and ever since then I have been playing and when I got older I got better and my parents put me through cup training so I stuck with that sport.”
For Andrews, Soccer has always been a family affair. He is the oldest of three siblings including his brother and PSUGA teammate Nate Andrews. Nick has been playing with his brother since both were very young and he and his brother have a connection on the field like no other. For Nick Andrews, that is the best part is knowing he has someone on the field who he can make an immediate connection with.
“When I was younger, like 10 or 11 I was mostly a scorer,” said Nick Andrews. “But, when me and [Nate Andrews] started playing together I took a back seat. I was more of a passer and he was the finisher. So, growing up I always knew I had someone to look to to finish it. I would always have the challenge of setting it up and I always knew he would be there to finish it. It’s easy playing with someone you have played with your whole life because you don’t have to say anything you just have to give the look.”
The two brothers played together throughout the different ranks of their soccer career. They played for two years together in middle school and then again for two years on their high school team at Serra Catholic. While at Serra Catholic, Nick Andrews also got the opportunity to play with fellow senior PSUGA soccer player Jake Theiret for two seasons.
While at Serra Catholic, Andrews and his teams made history in his Junior and Senior year winning sections and nearly making it to states losing in the qualifying round. Andrews described those four years as the best four years of his playing career. He got to work under head coach Don Sabol who he credits with giving him the confidence at his position that allowed him to succeed the way he did.
“[Coach Sabol] was always motivating me and he always told me to make simple challenges and simple passes,” said Andrews. “He always trusted me taking the crossings and free kicks and my senior year he made me captain to help lead. He always believed in me and never criticized what I did.”
After high school, Andrews was originally recruited to go to Penn State Beaver to continue his soccer career. However, after considering all of his options, he decided to come to PSUGA because it was more affordable and allowed him to continue his soccer career. Looking back at the decision, Andrews said he would take his decision to come to PSUGA again no matter what.
“In September of my senior year I got recruited by Penn State Beaver,” said Andrews. “I also got recruited to [PSUGA] and New Kensington and my parents encouraged me to look at the other campuses as well. So, I reached out and called Coach Achilles [Vassilicos] and he walked me through it and what he told me was really helpful. So, I came here and I knew it was a small school so I’d be used to it and I really liked it. I don’t care how good Beaver did in any season I think I made a better choice and I wouldn’t trade that in for anything.”
In his time at PSUGA, Andrews has been a part of some of the most historic seasons in PSUGA Soccer history. It started out with his sophomore year in 2015 when he and his team made it to the PSUAC Championships for the first time in school history. It was one of Andrews’ fondest memories of his time at PSUGA because they were the underdogs and just kept beating teams including the #4 seed and #1 seed that season.
Then, Andrews was able to help make 2017 one of the best seasons in PSUGA Soccer history helping to set team records in wins and conference wins and making the playoffs as the #2 seed. Andrews had his best statistical season as well as he led all of the PSUAC in assists with nine. Throughout all of the success that Andrews and the team has seen over the past four years, Andrews always credits his teammates for being there and for helping him know they will get the job done.
“I don’t think any year has been hard because [my teammates] were all really understanding,” said Andrews. “My freshman year playing with Gerrardo [Diaz] all the way up until last year was really good because he was always really helpful playing next to me and we always communicated and were really good friends. And, Marin [Marina] was always really easy to play with because I knew at the end of the day I could get it to him and he would score the goal. I also want to thank [Nick] Jugovic for staying back, and I always knew there was someone on defense to help and ever since my freshman year I knew he would get it done.”
Andrews was always a hard worker for the PSUGA soccer team and defined what it meant to be not only a great teammate but a great friend as well. Andrews’ advice to future soccer players here at PSUGA is to not only try your best on the soccer field but try your best in the classroom so that you can keep doing what you love.
“My two pieces of advice would be one to always stay on your stuff and do your assignments,” said Andrews. “You need to be eligible to play next year. There are so many people that just messed around and couldn’t make the grades and couldn’t play the next year and that hurt us. Also, soccer wise always try your best. You never know when it could be your last game and you’ll remember these days. Just have passion for what you do.”