Athlete of the month

Allison Yoder, writer and social media manager

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As the end of October quickly approaches, so does the end of most fall sports. However, this is also the end of the participation in high school sports for fall athletic seniors. This is the case for senior soccer player, Cleo Mills.

Mills has been playing soccer for the MV girls’ team since her freshman year, though she has been playing soccer since she was five years old.

“I started playing soccer when I was about 5, but didn’t join a club team with FC Pride until I was 8,” said Mills. “I had tried other sports, like ballet and karate and didn’t really like any, but from my first soccer practice it really stuck.”

Mills, though she has been playing so long, knows she wants to continue this sport through college, but does not think she will continue after college. She has visited many colleges, and being a senior, will soon be making her decision about which college she will attend next fall.

“I’m currently looking at smaller division 3 colleges like Anderson, Franklin, and Hanover.”

Though she has plans for the future, she also had quite a bit happen recently with soccer.

“My ACL tear was honestly the hardest challenge I’ve ever faced. It took away my identity as an athlete and soccer player that had been there since I was 5 so it was really hard,” recalled Mills. “Honestly, it was harder psychologically than it was physically. Not being able to play my junior year was horribly hard, but taking a step back made me realize how much I really do love soccer. The second surgery didn’t help either. All things considered, although it was a horrible experience, I’m happy it happened.”

All in all, Mills had still managed to break school records, with only three years of high school soccer under her belt this past season.

“Breaking the record was absolutely amazing, and so unexpected. My coach and I came to the conclusion that it probably wouldn’t happen since I missed all of junior year and half of freshman year due to injury. They didn’t even tell me I was close to breaking it until half time of the Delta game,” Mills said. “Breaking it with that last goal was one of my favorite memories from high school soccer.”

Along with breaking the record of goals scored for one athlete in soccer, Mills also managed to snag a position on one of the district teams.

“Getting second district all team is a huge deal too. Our district is super hard, since it has a lot of big schools like Carmel in it. So to even get on one of the district teams playing a position I don’t normally play is huge to me.”

Though Mills has been through the ringer on the soccer career that has lasted a majority of her life, she is still enthusiastic for upcoming milestones and experiences.

“My soccer journey has been filled with a lot more adversity than I ever imagined, but I think I’ve come out all the better for it, and am ready for the challenges the future, and college soccer, will bring.”

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