WALLA WALLA — Andrew Glaeser, a soccer goalkeeper and owner of a near-perfect grade point average at Wa-Hi, is a rising star in his sport.
The athletic 6-foot junior plays year-round with three different teams — 16 games for the Blue Devils, 10 for Crossfire Premier team in Seattle and nine for Washington’s Olympic Development Team (ODP).
Glaeser also practices with the regional Olympic development squad that covers eight Western states.
"Andrew is on the radar as one of the best goalkeepers, in his age bracket, on the West coast," Crossfire coach Sean Henderson said.
Mike Washington, the coach at both Wa-Hi and Whitman College, said Glaeser is "super athletic, an incredibly hard trainer, good at catching and handling the ball. He is a well-rounded kid who is smart and sure to make the right choices about college and his future."
As a Wa-Hi sophomore, Glaeser was picked as an honorable mention goalkeeper in the Big Nine Conference.
More recently, he competed in the Disney Soccer Showcase in Florida, playing for a Mountain View (Calif.) Raptors team that had lost its keeper to injury.
Glaeser played in two games, in one case shutting out the team that eventually won the 24-team, under-17 tournament. That obviously impressed the right people, and he was asked to travel this summer with an all-star team headed to Europe to train and play three games against teams from around the world.
"Andrew is a big-time special kid," Raptors coach Chris Fitzpatrick said. "He is really smart and very successful. He has all the physical tools to be good in college. With a little bit of luck, if he impresses the right people, he could go on to play professional soccer."
"I would like to try to play professional soccer," Glaeser said. "But it has always been my dream to become an engineer like my parents.
"I would like to play college soccer, but the first priority is to get a first-class education," he added
Washington said that Glaeser would be welcome at Whitman.
"It goes without saying that we’d like to have Andrew at Whitman," Washington said. "He’ll have to decide on college depending upon athletics, academics and location. Andrew is a top kid being recruited by NCAA Division I and II schools. The list includes Harvard, Princeton and Oregon State."
Glaeser said he has also been contacted by Seattle Pacific, Seattle University, San Francisco University and Notre Dame. He has sent out other letters and expects to hear back from other colleges soon.
"I’d love to go to Whitman, but I’d need an academic scholarship to go there," Glaeser said.
As an NCAA Division III school, Whitman does not give athletic scholarships.
Bret Axelrod, an assistant soccer coach at Whitman, has helped train Glaeser in the past when he played for a local premier team, the Walla Walla Earthquakes.
"He knows about Whitman," Axelrod said. "We’d love to have him, but we don’t need to push him. He knows what kind of coaching he’d get."
Axelrod, who starred at Whitman as goalkeeper in recent years, later traveled to Europe to get a taste of what the soccer was like there by training with several teams.
"The opportunities are endless; there are thousands of teams at all different levels," Axelrod said. "Players can make a good living at it or work during the day and play at night, depending upon the level."
Glaeser said he is open to playing in Europe after college to have that experience.
Larger colleges might prefer goalkeepers with more height than Glaeser now offers, but at 17 years of age he may still be growing.
Henderson, the Crossfire coach, thinks Glaeser already has the height.
"He has a great amount of athleticism, really good timing in catching crosses, doesn’t let shots rebound, has good hands and really plays much bigger than he is," Henderson said.
Darren Sawatzky, Glaeser’s ODP coach, said, "Andrew is a great athlete and goalkeeper. He is also a good kid on and off the field. Andrew also trains very hard and is very focused."
College and professional soccer is all in the future for Glaeser. For now, he is a high school student with a year and a half left. And he really enjoys Wa-Hi.
"I get decent grades and take all the A.P. (advanced placement) classes to get ready for college," Glaeser said. "Overall, I love high school. It really is a blast."
He said his aunt, Laura, and his mom, Vivian, were both good soccer players when they were in high school and college. So, he looks up to both of them as role models.
Glaeser is also involved in Boy Scouts (he is an Eagle Scout) and likes to sing in the chamber choir at Wa-Hi.
He and his dad, Randy, are both quite the outdoorsmen, Glaeser said.
"We like to hunt and fish every chance we get. We hunt for ducks, deer, turkey, pheasant and doves.
"That is when I’m not playing soccer."