Just for kicks
Avon girls soccer player Sam Miller also plays on school’s football team
By Mike Beas
Goals. Field goals. Lifetime goals.
Sam Miller, a two-year captain for Avon’s girls soccer program who kicks for the Orioles football team and maintains a virtually unheard of 5.0 grade-point average, displays proficiency in all three.
The senior has played both sports every year of her high school career. Miller is a defender/midfielder who has been a four-year varsity performer in soccer; her ascent on the gridiron has been more gradual from freshman football to junior varsity to the last two seasons on varsity.
After school Miller attends football practice for 45-60 minutes to kick before joining her soccer teammates for the start of their practice. She doesn’t practice football on the day of soccer matches and doesn’t practice soccer on Fridays when the Orioles football squad is in action.
On Aug. 28, Miller split the uprights on a point-after attempt in a 54-13 defeat of Ben Davis for her first point of the football season.
Miller, who is undecided on a college at this point, would like to major in biology as the first steps to one day becoming a pediatrician. Ranked 13th academically among the 772 students in Avon’s senior class, she learned long ago how to mesh schoolwork with any extracurricular passions.
High school athletes playing two sports the same season isn’t unusual. Miller, however, has been sinking her right foot into soccer balls and footballs all the way back to seventh-grade.
“I never tried to talk her out of it,” said 11th-year Avon girls soccer coach Eric Nance. “I knew Sam was the kind of kid who could handle it, manages her time and always has a smile on her face.”
Miller did a Q&A with ICON:
Q: How has playing two sports in the same season benefitted you when it comes to your academics?
A: Anytime the teachers give us time to work in class, I try to take advantage of it. It’s made me not waste my time on anything. A lot of it might be a maturity thing. I don’t think I was this disciplined in middle school.
Q: Is it difficult adjusting from kicking a football to kicking a soccer ball — and vice versa — because they shaped so differently?
A: (Laughing) On days I go straight from football practice to soccer, you can tell. Sometimes, in soccer, my teammates will be like, ‘The kick is good’ if it sails over the crossbar. It usually takes me 10 or 15 minutes to get used to soccer again.
Q: Why was it important for you to play both soccer and football for all four fall seasons and not just one or two?
A: I’ve played soccer my whole life. I love it and have made great friends through it. I never really wanted to choose between the two sports because I’ve had great teammates, great coaches and great experiences in both.