Pasadena’s Andreas Solling Left Family in Denmark to Pursue Dream of Being a Star Quarterback in America; Bulldogs Senior Making Most of His Chance

Published : Friday, September 21, 2018 | 5:50 AM

t’s an emotional and character-testing challenge any time a young kid has to move away from somewhere they call home.

They leave friends, family, and good times behind, just to start all over again somewhere else.

For 14-year old Andreas Solling, however, back in 2015, it was actually his choice to leave his mom, dad and younger brother behind in Denmark.

It wasn’t an easy decision and it had nothing to do with anything he wasn’t getting in his parent’s homeland.

Solling wanted to come to the United States and pursue a career as a quarterback.

He knew he’d face the toughest competition and it was going to be the best way to evolve in a sport and position he loves.

Solling was actually born in Pasadena.

His mother Birgitte, and father Theis, were in Pasadena because Theis worked at Caltech.in 2001.

One year later, though, Solling moved to Denmark when his dad got a job at the University of Copenhagen.

He knew and openly told his parents as early as age 7 that he wanted to pursue football in the United States and specifically in Pasadena.

Thanks to the time his parents spent out here, the Solling’s made many quality friends, and one became Andreas’ legal guardian so that he could go to high school in the city of Pasadena.

In 2015, Theis accompanied his son to Pasadena, where Andreas enrolled at Blair High School.

Things were looking up as Solling began his sophomore year as the starting quarterback at Blair.

But the Vikings began the season with losses to Angelou, Inglewood and Marshall by a combined margin of 175-3.

Just one day before the fourth game was scheduled to be played, the decision came down that Blair’s administration had decided to shut down the football program for the rest of the year and for the immediate future.

Solling and his teammates felt not only disappointed, they also strongly resented what they described as having been given no input as to the present or future of the program.

Solling then transferred to Pasadena High School for his junior year.

And the most humbling of scenarios played itself out.

This proud and confident athlete was asked to compete on the JV level as a junior, while the varsity program went 2-8 overall and 2-5 in Pacific League play.

The Bulldogs finished sixth out of eight schools in league.

His ego was bruised, his anger and frustrations were aroused, but his confidence never wavered.

Part of those feelings were rooted in being a competitor, but much of it was his belief that he could have done his part in giving teammates he calls ‘family’ a better chance to win games.

It wasn’t in the cards, though, and he knew and accepted the fact that his only recourse was to work his butt off and prove not only his doubters wrong, but that he is a No. 1 quarterback.

As in his story, Solling’s career has seen its ups and downs.

And that included a season-opening, 42-7 loss at San Marino.

But as in the past, Solling rallies when faced with adversity.

The 6-foot-3, 210 pound quarterback has led PHS to three consecutive victories.

It started with a 14-12 victory at Maranatha in a game that was originally slated to be a home game.

But when bleachers were not ordered in time, the game took place at Maranatha.

Next up was arguably the most impressive result of the new season.

Pasadena headed to Whittier to take on a Pioneer team that literally had not given up a point in their first two wins.

But Solling and his teammates led the Bulldogs to a 30-28 victory.

Solling threw a pair of TD passes in the last four minutes to answer Pioneer’s big plays late in the game.

In last week’s 48-7 Pacific League opener at Glendale, Solling threw four TD passes in just three quarters of play.

Pasadena (3-1 overall, 1-0 in league) has already secured more wins through four games in 2018 than all of last season.

With their next win, PHS will have matched the total number of victories in 2016 and 2017 combined.

While the senior has gotten better each week, his teammates and coaches are buying into what he’s capable of, and have allowed him to open up the passing game more.

He’s described as a quarterback that has a strong arm, is accurate, has an above average knowledge of the game and isn’t rattled when the pressure is on.

Solling has a nearly 70-percent completion ratio.

He averages over 200 yards per game and has thrown 11 touchdown passes in four games.

But as well as he’s done on the field, Solling was also the first to sing the praises of his fellow teammates and coaches.

Jeremiah Hutchins, Mekhi Fox, Xavier Harris and Akil Andrews are just a few of his big-play weapons.

Solling is honored to be one of the four captains, along with his buddies, Caleb Benson, Nate Morris and Malachi Langley.

There is no group he is more appreciative of, however, than his offensive line.

Fred Novo (C), William Martinez (LT), Gavin Perez (LG), Diego Robles (RG), and Steven Gomez (RT) have been crucial in giving Solling enough time to do his job.

While hovering around the 3.2 GPA mark, Solling feels he could accomplish a lot more academically, especially considering the educational background of his father.

He would consider any scholarship a successful season from an individual standpoint, but it’s very much his belief in his teammates, coaches and his own skills that has PHS reaching for much higher ground as a program than in recent years.

The only downside of being in Pasadena is having his mom, dad and 10-year old brother Bertram, across the world, where they reside in Saudi Arabia.

But he deals with it in a mature manner, and communicates with family on a daily basis either via text message or face time, and he met up with his family over spring break in Denmark.

Solling said his family means everything to him, and he couldn’t be more appreciative that they let their son chase his dreams so far from home.

Birgitte is going to fly to the U.S. for senior night versus Burroughs and will stay long enough to catch the Turkey Tussle one week later against Muir at the Rose Bowl.

Solling is also excited that a few lifelong friends from Denmark will be coming to see him play in a few weeks.

He is equally appreciative of football coach Dejuan Shamburger, his staff and each of his teammates for making him feel welcome from day one.

Solling said he and his teammates also love the number of doubters they continue to prove wrong so far in 2018.

There are a few questions that needed to be answered to fully understand Solling and the ascension of the PHS football program in 2018.

How does he deal with being so far from his family?

How did he feel in 2016 when coaches told the Blair football players their season was ending less than a month before it started?

Why has PHS already won more games in the first month than either the season totals in 2016 and 2017?

What is different this year that has the program getting better each week?

Said Solling: “When I first found out our season was over (in 2016 at Blair) I had feelings that I had never experienced. I had devoted my life to coming to America and becoming a great football player and now people who have nothing to with the program are telling my teammates and me that we were done.

In my junior year, playing JV ball was frustrating because I felt like I was the only person at the time that believed in me and what I felt I could contribute. But I worked hard, and week by week the coaches are beginning to allow me to throw the ball down field and I think my teammates trust and believe in me like I do of them and the coaches.

I don’t think Coach Shamburger gets the respect he deserves. He is a really good man, and cares very much about his players, and it doesn’t matter if you’re the star player or a guy who may never step on the field in a game. He treats us all the same, and we all appreciate that.

My family means so much to me and they keep me going. I can’t wait to see my mom and wish my dad could come out, but he needs to work. They’ve given me everything I could ask for and more, and I hope I’m making them proud.”

Eventually, when his football days are over, Solling said he’d like to become either a lawyer or work in sports medicine.

For now, it’s all about PHS football.

Quotable:

Theis Solling, Andreas’ father: “We are so proud to see our son pursuing a football career. It’s been his dream and something he’s been driving independently for since age 10. We support him to the best of our ability, but we cannot match his dedication. It was obviously tough to leave him behind at age 14 and not without tears. However, it would have been a lousy dad who put his own wishes to be with his son in front of the aspirations of what we considered a proud, young man. From his background in the Middle East, he matured at an early age. We have always been able to trust him as a son and as a team player, and we have never had to set any boundaries. We love him with all of our hearts.”

PHS captain Nate Morris: “Andreas has that killer instinct that I think you need as a quarterback, and no disrespect to the quarterbacks before him, but he is on a whole other level in bringing everyone to play as one, which makes us harder to beat. He plays his heart out like most of the seniors do and does more than what is needed to be done. We all want to go out on top and with Andreas throwing the ball, I can see us doing that.”

PHS captain Nicholas “Caleb” Benson: “Andreas is a competitor. He doesn’t just lead the team vocally, but when we see him fighting for extra yards or being tough in the pocket, we have no choice but to get fired up. When we need a play, he steps up and takes charge of the offense, as any good quarterback does. We all knew he was capable of leading the PHS offense during the summer when he elevated his game and pushed everyone else to be better.”

Getting To Know Andreas Solling:
Favorite Athlete: Muhammad Ali
Favorite Team: Lakers
Favorite Movie: Star Wars
Favorite Musical Artist: JayZ
Musical Artist Some May Be Surprised I Like: Lukas Graham
Someone Famous, Alive or Dead, I’d Most Want a Conversation With: Kanye West or President John F. Kennedy

2018 Schedule & Results:
August 17: San Marino 42, PHS 7
August 24: PHS 14, Maranatha 12
August 31: PHS 30, Pioneer 28
September 14: PHS 48, Glendale 7
September 21: PHS at Crescenta Valley
September 28: Burbank at PHS
October 5: PHS at Hoover
October 12: Arcadia at PHS
October 19: Burroughs at PHS
October 27: PHS vs Muir at Rose Bowl at 11 a.m.

Pacific League Standings Through September 14:
Crescenta Valley (4-0 overall, 1-0 in league)
Pasadena (3-1, 1-0)
Arcadia (2-2, 1-0)
Burbank (2-2, 1-0)
Muir (3-1, 0-1)
Hoover (1-3, 0-1)
Glendale (1-3, 0-1)
Burroughs (0-4, 0-1)

First Week Pacific League Scores (September 14):
Pasadena 48, Glendale 7
Crescenta Valley 31, Muir 7
Arcadia 45, Burroughs 27
Burbank 44, Hoover 26

Second Week of Pacific League Schedule (September 21):
Friday: Pasadena at Crescenta Valley
Friday: Hoover at Muir
Friday: Arcadia at Burbank
Friday: Glendale at Burroughs

PHS Records By Season:
2018: 3-1 overall, 1-0 in league
2017: 2-8 overall, 2-5 in league
2016: 2-8 overall, 2-5 in league
2015: 5-5 overall, 3-4 in league
2014: 4-6 overall, 3-4 in league
2013: 1-9 overall, 1-6 in league
2012: 1-9 overall, 1-6 in league
2011: 6-6 overall, 4-3 in league, 1-1 in playoffs
2010: 4-6 overall, 3-4 in league