Earlier this afternoon Courage Country sat down with North Carolina Courage rookie midfielder, Lauren Milliet to do an in-person interview and of course, she answered the Starting XI Questions. Milliet from Colorado College was drafted by the Courage in the second round of the 2019 NWSL College draft earlier this year. Read her answers below.
Starting XI Questions: Lauren Milliet
1. What’s a pre-game ritual you’ll never change?
Milliet Probably what I eat. I stick to pretty basic — oatmeal, tea — I’m not a coffee gal, so definitely tea, and a banana or half a bagel with cream cheese or peanut butter. Every game is pretty much that. I think I played really well a game that I ate that and also I know that can fuel my body correctly, so after that game, I was like, “heck yeah. That’s exactly what I’m going to eat for the rest of my games.”
2. What’s your best suggestion to youth soccer players to up their game?
Milliet I would say just stay passionate — hold on to a passion for the game. Have a ball basically anywhere you are. I remember trying to walk downstairs with a ball, seeing how I could dribble down the stairs in an ingenious way. I think I fell down a couple of times. Ask my dad. Holding onto something so tightly will obviously influence the way you practice, the way you train, the way you play. I think that’s really important. I think I remember trying to dribble up the stairs thinking, “Wow this is so cool. Look how I’m lifting the ball.” It’s ridiculous now that I think about it.
3. What’s something people don’t understand about you?
Milliet I think I’m very intense, especially on the pitch. I’m my own worst critic. So I think a lot of the times, it comes off very mean and intense. But I think for me it’s just making sure I’m always 100% with everyone on and off the pitch. So I think some people can take that wrong. Or if I get frustrated, a lot of times it’s because I did something, not someone else. It’s hard for people to understand it was more about me than them.
4. What’s the best praise someone could give to you on or off the field?
Milliet That I’m a hard worker. I think that transfers over obviously CC [Colorado College] is a pretty academically challenging school. So I think when people are like, “Hey you’re a hard worker. We love your work ethic.” Definitely having kids tell me they want to emulate that type of work ethic is something I’ve held on to, and I’ll continue to put into my career after soccer. So that’s important to me — having that grit and that hard work that never stops.
5. What’s the first thing you do when you get home from a match?
Milliet I just try to sit or lay down. I think depending on how well I played in the match, or how our team did, I’ll sometimes focus too hard. I’ll rethink the game. I know in college, I’d call my dad a lot and run through plays — what I did wrong, what our team could have done well, what we didn’t do well. Most of the time, especially if it’s a late game, I try to get my heart rate down so I can sleep, which is mostly just trying to relax and chill out for a little bit. So yeah, I’d say just go home, eat, and sit — to chill being the main goal and focus after a game. I’ll be up until like 3 am, asking myself, “why didn’t I pass it there?” — stuff like that. It’s definitely a good meditation or something I’ve brought in — you need to calm your brain and your body, Your brain is going a million miles an hour. So that’s the most important thing — just chillin’.
6. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Milliet To never be complacent. I think obviously work ethic is a big deal to me. My dad has always pushed me to continue jumping levels. As a pro, you can’t ever be complacent. There are always people there to fill your spot or fill your role. There’s always something you can do to jump up, or get better, find your weakest point and get better at that. Then when you have a new weakest point, get better at that. In life and in soccer, there’s always something you can be better at.
7. What person outside your family has done the most for your soccer career?
Milliet I’d probably say my coaching staff at CC. I played for a pretty small club in Albuquerque and Jeff Bennett and Robin Grossman recruited me and believed in me to do something big at CC. I think having people believe in you outside of your family is really important so I think they’ve always pushed me. In moments where maybe I was a little lax in practice, they would text me, asking, “what are you doing?” If I didn’t hit lines right in a drill, I think they were like, “hey, if you’re trying to play as a professional, that’s not going to work,” or like you can’t take shortcuts in life. Having those people who know your goals and know who you are as a person, to continually push you, even if it’s not your family. I think sometimes family gets a little close to home. You take stuff the wrong way. I know I do that with my sisters a lot. We get into some altercations — but definitely having them, and obviously, I look up to them both. It’s really important for me to have those two influential people in my life.
8. Of all the teams you’ve played with, wherever you go, what’s the one thing that always stays the same?
Milliet For me, it’s probably just my love of the game, and to see other people’s love for soccer. Obviously, once you get to the top levels, people have to love their sport and love what they do every day. So to see that consistently throughout the club, and it’s obviously not just the players. It’s the coaching, the staff, the administration. I think anywhere you go up in the table, coaches coach because they can’t play anymore. So I think having the love for the game, or that passion is something I’ve always seen in at least a few of my teammates and the general population and think that’s what continues to push people through in tough moments.
9. Who’s the last soccer player you texted?
Milliet Probably my roommate, Shannon Horgan. We’re living together so obviously, we were talking where we were going to put all our kitchen utensils, to be honest. I think that’s the coolest thing actually is the fact that I got here, and didn’t know either of my roommates. I think that’s the coolest part. We’re thrown in a room together, and they just see how you deal with it. And I think that’s something I’ve learned — to be comfortable being uncomfortable. That’s really important if you want to get far anywhere in life — taking those moments, “well I’m uncomfortable. I guess I have to do something about it.”
10. What’s your best guilty pleasure?
Milliet Dark chocolate for sure. I could eat a box of dark chocolate or caramel apples from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Those are amazing. I could eat those every day probably. But I have to wean myself off the dark chocolate.
11. What brings you joy off the pitch?
Milliet My family for sure. I have two sisters. We grew up driving to Albuquerque. So we spent a good majority of our lives, or at least our childhoods confined to very tight spaces together. I’m very close to both my sisters. So just spending time with them is very important, and remaining tight. I think that’s really cool with the Courage too. They’re definitely a family, and I haven’t seen that with a lot of teams. So that was really cool coming in, and seeing such a cool culture already developed and knowing they’re willing to bring us in is cool.
Bonus #12 question from Kaleigh Kurtz: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Milliet To fly. For sure. I love to travel. It’s been my dream to play soccer and travel, something I hopefully look forward to in the future. I just think to get to see more places in the world, I think we’re too confined in space. Obviously, I’m from Colorado and had never been to North Carolina, so I’m the perfect example of if I could fly, I could easily get here. Just to see the world — see new faces, see new people, meet new people, get to know new cultures.
Give me a question for the next player doing Starting XI Questions. Our next interview is looking to be Steph Labbé.
Milliet What’s the last book you read? Get my English major roots in there.
Other Starting XI Questions
Check out our other Starting XI Questions from the 2019 season so far, including our first with former NC Courage goalkeeper, Sabrina D’Angelo, forward Jess McDonald, and defender Kaleigh Kurtz with more to come.
Look for the full article on Lauren Milliet shortly.