From another era: Although a teenager, Green has proven to be wise beyond his years on and off the soccer field at West Forsyth

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 28, 2023

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By Jay Spivey

For the Clemmons Courier

CLEMMONS — Andrew Green is technically 17 and a senior on the West Forsyth boys soccer team.

However, Green is more like a 57-year-old on and off the field for the Titans in that he has an old soul that has trickled down as a leader on the team.

In a day and age where most teenagers are listening to rap music to warm up for a game, Green has gone the complete opposite direction with his taste in music.

“I think you could ask any of my teammates, and I think they’d say I remain calm,” Green said. “I don’t really warm up the way other people warm up.”

Before athletic events, you’ll either hear music blasting from the loudspeakers, or you see players wearing headphones, or both.

“(When) A lot of people warm up, they have pump-up music to get them excited and get them ready,” Green said. “I take a different approach with that. I listen to ’70s soft rock music, and I stay as calm as possible.”

Asked what bands Green likes, he said Little River Band and Tom Petty.

“I don’t even know,” he said. “I can’t even remember why I started listening to ’70s soft rock. My parents were born in the ’70s. They didn’t listen to music in the ’70s.”

His ears are wide open to what his peers are listening to.

“I know for a fact because they play music on the speaker, and I put on my headphones, and I listen to ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ (by King Harvest).”

Although not word-for-word, Coach Jeffrey Williams uses an appropriate idiom in describing Green, one of the Titans’ co-captains, along with Grant Tally.

“I guess one of the phrases I would use for Greeny is he drums to the rhythm of his own beat,” Williams said. “He listens to the ’70s, and he likes to wear button-down shirts to practice. He’s got his long hair in a ponytail. He embraces that, which is what makes him so great.”

Whatever Green does to get himself ready for a game is apparently working. As of Tuesday, West Forsyth is 11-0-2 and 6-0 in the Central Piedmont 4-A after defeating Reynolds 2-1 in overtime Monday night.

“(Music) really does help me get into the game,” Green said. “If I start freaking out about things, then other people are going to start seeing that. And as a captain on the team, if I’m freaking out, everybody else is going to freak out because the guy who’s supposed to be helping them is freaking out.

“It’d be like if our coach started freaking out. If he started losing his mind over a game.”

Williams sees how Green’s teammates relate to him from afar.

“They pick at him some, but there is a huge amount of respect,” Williams said. “They know he’s for real.”

The son of parents in the medical field, father Patrick is a gastroenterologist at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, and mother Ha is a physician’s assistant at AHWFB. Green also has two siblings — brother Michael, 14, who is a freshman at West Forsyth, and sister Samantha, 12, who is in seventh grade at Clemmons Middle School.

“Both of my parents are well educated,” Green said. “My dad went to FSU (Florida State) for his undergrad and ended up working at Duke for a little bit with my mom. And my mom went to UNC with a graduate (degree) at Saint Louis.”

When he was younger, Green, who was born in Raleigh but lived in Florida for a number of years, played soccer in a recreation team called the Cooper City Cobras.

“Both of my parents played soccer in high school and had been told it’s good to get children into (a sport because) it helps burn off energy,” Green said. “My parents decided they would try out soccer because that was something that they both knew. And when I was about 4 of 5, they put me in a rec league, and I’ve been playing ever since.”

The Greens moved to Clemmons in 2015 or 2016.

“I started getting a lot more into soccer,” Green said. “In Florida, I had done mostly rec, a little bit of travel soccer towards the very end, but when I moved to North Carolina, I really jump-started soccer.”

According to Green, soccer and education go hand-in-hand.

“Especially when you’re a student-athlete, I don’t think you can do one without the other,” he said. “You have to do both.”

Much of the way Green goes about his business is what his parents have told him.

“Their idea was that in life, you’ve got to be able to balance things, whether it be family and work or work and things you want to do, like a hobby,” he said. “You always need to be able to balance stuff.”

Williams, a math teacher at West Forsyth, came in the same way where athletics and academics were important to him.

“He works hard, and he finds ways to get the job done,” Williams said. “It’s two great assets to have of any job or any career. I think he’ll be highly successful.”

Another difference in Green and some of his peers is what he does in his spare time. He’s an avid mountain biker.

“My friends and I, I’ve got two other buddies who go out mountain biking periodically.”

Green said he took on mountain biking as a hobby because of his dad.

“He mountain-biked in college and kind of wanted to mountain bike on the weekends and would bring me along,” Green said. “So, we’d go do a little Meta mountain-biking.”

Despite being a successful soccer player at a top-level school like West Forsyth, Green has literally had to grow into his position. As a freshman, he was 5 feet tall after he left middle school at Our Lady of Mercy. Playing defense, he’s not that little anymore. However, he’s had to climb the ladder, starting as a JV player in his first year.

“Honestly, I was OK with the assessment, given playing with them, I was struggling to keep up in terms of being able to compete because I was smaller than all of them,” he said. “So, physically, it was hard to compete with them. So, I was OK with playing JV for a year.”

Now, at 5-6, he’s had time to learn to play the position.

“I did not win much in the air,” Green said of his early years. “I remember my one thing that I did was I was passing. I passed much better than the other center backs. He was much bigger. He was 5-6 and weighed almost 180 pounds. He was a big kid.”

How times have changed for Green midway through his senior season.

“It’s something that he does year-round,” Williams said. “He’s had a couple coaches in the past really sort of get him into soccer and get him playing soccer in the past. And he enjoys the competition. He enjoys reading the other team and what some tendencies are and how he can combat some of their strengths and such.”

There’s plenty of season remaining, and Green thinks the Titans can do quite well the rest of the season and into the NCHSAA Class 4-A playoffs.

“Honestly, like how I always thought about it, and I try to keep people on our team to think about it, is one game at a time,” Green said.

That’s really the only way to look at the season.

“He’s been a staple to our defense for a couple years now,” Williams said. “And he’s worked on some things he was weaker at as much as he can.”

As a senior, Green knows his soccer career is coming to an end.

“Even thinking about it now, it kind of makes me sad because I remember last year, I was super-close with the seniors, and watching them leave was heartbreaking.”

Green still has to choose a college to attend next year. He’s leaning toward Colorado. He’s also thinking of Colorado School of Mines, North Carolina and Boston College. He wants to major in biology and might follow in his parents’ footsteps soon to become a doctor.

“I wasn’t planning on it, but I was looking into entomology and parasitology,” he said. “It goes back to my seventh-grade science teacher. She had a unit on it, and she got me interested in entomology.”