By CLAIRE TOBIN
With lightning-fast feet and a competitive spirit, Lauren Milliet is a star on the women’s soccer team. According to her coaches, “Lauren is a speedy forward who is dynamic in the final third and will cause problems for other team’s back lines.” But soccer isn’t her only passion; Milliet is a dedicated student and former rockstar. I sat down with her to discuss her success this season.
Milliet is a junior English-film major from Durango, Colo. and a midfield/forward on the women’s soccer team. She’s been playing soccer for as long as she can remember. “It was the first sport my dad put me in,” Milliet recalled. “I played parks and rec soccer when I was a little kid and my dad thought I could really go somewhere with it, so I decided to keep playing.”
By the time she was nine, Milliet had her heart set on playing college soccer. And once she started college, her new goal was to go pro. “Every season I strive to play beyond college soccer,” Milliet admitted. This big-picture thinking and her impressive speed on the field have greatly contributed to her success on the team.
This year, the women’s soccer team faced some challenges that held them back. Awaiting their last game, Milliet reflected back on some of the road blocks of the season. “We’ve lost some games we should have won,” Milliet said. “It’s hard progressing the team as individual players and people. It’s been especially hard for the upper-classmen to integrate the younger players and have them play the full 90 minutes.”
However, Milliet feels the team improved measurably over the course of the season and will come back stronger next year. Their intense practice regimen stimulates competitiveness and teamwork. “We practice the way we play. Practice is really rigorous, but, if you’re not giving it your all in practice, then you won’t be ready for games.” According to Milliet, the coaches try to create a competitive practice environment that carries over to games.
The intense practices and games have led to an improvement in Milliet’s game over the course of the season. “I started off pretty slow,” Milliet admitted. “But in the latter half of the season, I’ve gotten a lot better in terms of goals and assists.” Milliet went on to say that she knows her season has been consistent overall, but there are always skills she’s working on. “I wanted to improve my points from last season and I’ve done that,” Milliet said. “I’m proud of that. And I’d like to get a goal or two in our last game,” she added.
According to Milliet, women’s sports are severely lacking in aggressive, physical contact. Soccer is one of the few women’s sports where subtle shoving is tolerated. “You get to tackle people and run through kids in soccer, which is something we don’t get to do as often as [men’s teams]. Soccer is a great opportunity for me to put it out there and be rough,” she said.
Milliet is clearly very tough and loves the physical aspect of soccer and the adrenaline rush. “There’s nothing quite like how you feel after you score or after you win,” Milliet admitted.
Even though soccer is a source of raw energy and power for Milliet, she fosters a unique relationship with the artistic side of the sport. “Soccer is a safe haven for me. It’s a place where I can express myself in ways that I can’t in a classroom or with my family,” Milliet said. “Soccer has always felt like a bubble for me; it’s a place I can run to when I’m upset and let loose. With soccer I can be myself and find my creativity in playing with the ball.”
This creativity transfers over to many other aspects of Milliet’s life. For example, she was once the lead singer in a jazz rock band. According to her teammates, she has great pitch. “I think a lot of people assume that all we do is soccer, but outside of that we’re pretty crazy gals,” Milliet insisted. “We’re really diverse and have other talents. We have a lot of kids winning awards in and out of the classroom which I don’t think a lot of people see.”
When asked how her mad skills compare to Cameron Stopforth’s, men’s soccer star and Milliet’s boyfriend, she gracefully told me they just couldn’t be compared. “We play differently so I don’t think you can say one of us is better,” Milliet said. Although an aggressive force to be reckoned with on the field, Milliet is humble and unassuming off the field. You can see Milliet dominate the field one more time this Thursday evening at Air Force.