East Penn Press

Sunday, July 12, 2020
PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSONAndrew Gaines and the Hornets earned two District 11 titles during his four-year varsity career. PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSONAndrew Gaines and the Hornets earned two District 11 titles during his four-year varsity career.

Gaines to continue career at Muhlenberg

Friday, June 12, 2020 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

As a freshman, Andrew Gaines had the experience of winning a District 11 championship with the Emmaus soccer team. His goal was to win another, and to have an even larger role in helping his team to the title.

The team came close in each of the next two seasons but ultimately fell to first Parkland and then Freedom in the district finals. As a senior though, Gaines and the team broke through, beating Whitehall 1-0 in overtime to have gold medals hung around their necks.

As he anticipated, Gaines played a much larger role in the team’s 2019 district title game win, setting up classmate Andrew Groh to fire off the winning shot. Gaines had moved the ball up field by cutting through Whitehall defenders and found his teammate against a Whitehall team that was possibly the hottest team in the Lehigh Valley.

Now, Gaines is graduating with a record of success in high school soccer. In the fall, he will attend Muhlenberg College where he will both play soccer and major in economics.

“I knew that I wanted to be able to play soccer in college, so I was looking mainly at Division III schools that had the academics that I wanted and where I could play soccer,” said Gaines. “Muhlenberg’s academics are great and when I met the coaches I was really impressed. They have an awesome coaching staff and they’re pretty relaxed and don’t get too high or too low about anything. It’s a good environment.”

While his senior season was a success both in terms of team success and personal achievements – career-highs in goals (13) and assists (8) - it didn’t come easily. Early in the season, Gaines suffered some nagging injuries and never really felt pain-free out on the field. Later, an ankle injury proved to be the worst of the injuries, but he again battled through.

“I spent a lot of time with the trainer,” Gaines with a laugh. “I learned about being able to play through pain, but also that you can’t push that too far. I hated to be out of a game, but I knew when to take a step back.”

Over his high school career, Gaines scored a total of 18 goals and 12 assists with the Hornets and was the team MVP as a senior. He also owns two district gold medals and two silver medals.

“It was a great experience,” said Gaines of playing soccer. “We always had good teams and I made a lot of great friendships along the way.”