Fans support Andrews during debut in Boston

Morgan Andrews signs autograph for hometown fans Emily Dube, left, and Addie Hopkins, center, on Sunday.

ALLSTON, Mass. – The anticipation for the home debut of Morgan Andrews in a Boston Breakers uniform reached well beyond her hometown of Milford – it traveled all the way to the Senate.

Sen. Maggie Hassan wished the Milford native good luck via Twitter prior to Boston’s 1-0 victory over Sky Blue FC in National Women’s Soccer League action on Sunday at Jordan Field, and the senator was far from alone in her support.

“It was great,” Andrews said of the tweet. “I think that just shows the great community that New Hampshire is. We really do all support each other and I wouldn’t want to have grown up anywhere else.”

Droves of Milford fans made the trip to see the former Spartan firsthand, and they weren’t disappointed.

Andrews, the No. 3 overall pick in the NWSL College Draft in January, entered as a substitute in the 82nd minute and helped the Breakers lock down the win.

Natasha Dowie scored the Boston goal off an assist from Rose Lavelle in the 37th minute.

Andrews was humbled to see so many familiar faces in the stands.

“It means the world to me,” Andrews said of the fans. “We’re such a community. The community that I was raised in – in Milford, New Hampshire – they supported me to no end.”

Her father, Mark Andrews, was greeting local friends throughout pregame. Despite his 22-year-old daughter’s lengthy list of accomplishments – NCAA champion and a finalist for the nation’s top player this year – the idea of watching his little girl playing professional soccer was tough to comprehend.

“It’s unbelievable to me,” Mr. Andrews explained. “Let’s face it, starting back in New Hampshire at 4 and 5 years old, and playing through all the club leagues and so forth, and now to be here as a professional is surreal.”

He was touched by the community’s presence at the match.

“It seems like the whole town is in,” Mr. Andrews said. “Not only teachers from both the high school and middle school, but neighbors and friends. The Milford MCAA is here, we saw some folks from Nashua World Cup. It feels like the stands is about half full of southern New Hampshire people.

“To have that kind of local support for Morgan is absolutely unbelievable,” he added, “and Morgan has never forgotten about her town and her state and where she came from. People haven’t forgotten her and she hasn’t forgotten them.”

Sunday’s game was the first opportunity for some fans to see her play – including 11-year-old soccer players Emily Dube, along with triplets Addie Hopkins, Jackson Hopkins and Camie Hopkins, who received autographs and took photos with Andrews after the win. The youngsters from Milford said they enjoyed their time, especially seeing the Breakers score and Andrews enter the match.

“Especially in our section, everybody was cheering,” Addie Hopkins said. “It was really cool.”

Andrews’ ascent to the NWSL serves as a reminder to the kids that seemingly unattainable goals can be achieved.

“We’re such a small town, so we don’t have a lot of those people (playing professionally),” Camie Hopkins said. “It’s cool because it’s an inspiration to people that want to play soccer or go to the major leagues in baseball, or something like that.”

“We all play soccer, so it’s really cool,” Dube added.

Although the kids were excited to see the hometown hero, Andrews was equally thrilled to reconnect with her roots.

“I want to be a part of the community,” Andrews said. “I’m going to be there to support girls and the boys who come out to support us, too. We truly are just one community that really loves each other and we’re going to keep being there for each other.”

Living nearby has allowed her to visit with family often after spending her college career at Notre Dame and the University of Southern California.

Andrews took in a Celtics game with her brother, Mike, at TD Garden, where he was honored as one of six Boston Public Educators of the Year out of a pool of 10,000.

“The guy does not brag about himself, so I have to brag about him,” Andrews said with a laugh. “It’s absolutely incredible how selfless of a human being he is. … He’s just been an impeccable role model for me.”

Forced to balance training while finishing up her degree, Andrews tries to make as much time as she can to see her family, but settles for about once a week.

“It’s amazing. They get to come to the games and don’t have to pay money to see me play anymore,” Andrews said. “It’s exciting, and I’m going to do everything I can to make them proud.”