Andrea (Melde) Hooks may be the greatest high school soccer player in Colorado history.
“I mean it was awesome. It was fun. I started off in LA playing NYSO and then moved to Colorado Springs and played with a competitive club called the chargers," said Hooks.
“Playing high school soccer was the best. So much fun. And just no pressure involved at all," she said.
Hooks led Air Academy to the 1993 Class 5A title. She scored 128 career goals, had 61 assists, and was named All-State all four years of her high school career. She was the state’s sportswoman of the year in soccer three times and her teams never lost more than three games in a season.
She says training in the mountains, going to Breckenridge some weeks, certainly helped. But refining her fundamentals was paramount.
“I could just do things with my feet that other people couldn’t. But then coupled with the fact I played and practiced all the time. It’s all I ever did," said Hooks. “I spent hours and hours and hours on the driveway, chasing balls rolling down the hill.”
Of course, winning that state title in '93 is her fondest memory. Believe it or not, the Kadets were an underdog.
“We were tied 1-1, and with thirty seconds left I scored the game-winning goal," she said.
"It was amazing. It was awesome. I remember every second of it to this day. We still talk about it. My parents were there. My brothers were there," said Hooks.
Hooks went on to become an All-American at Duke. She even trained with the U.S. Women’s National team right after her senior season.
Hooks advice for young women today? Don’t just kick a ball – kick away the naysayers.
“There’s so many more opportunities now for girls and I think that, if you have a dream you just need to peruse it and you need to not let anyone tell you ‘no.’ If anybody does you find another way," she said.
Hooks now lives in Chicago with her husband and twin boys where she’s spent 20 years on the trading floor at the Chicago Board of Trade. She’s almost finished with her master's in elementary teaching; she hopes to teach 4th-5th grade math.
This summer is the 50th anniversary of Title Nine. The law prohibited sex-based discrimination in schools, guaranteeing a level playing field for female athletics for the first time in our nation’s history.
To celebrate the anniversary, KRDO’s Josh Helmuth is showcasing nine of the most remarkable female athletes to come out of southern Colorado.