Despite growing pains, Miller excels for Lynchburg soccer team
Published 7:07 pm Monday, August 8, 2022
By Barbara Boxleitner
Size has become an advantage for Trevor Miller in his college soccer career.
The Smithfield High School graduate was one of five freshmen on the University of Lynchburg men’s team last fall. The center forward played 15 of 21 games (15-5-1), the most among the freshmen, and was the only one to start.
He took just three shots, one of which was on goal, and his lone start came in the second to last game of the season.
“I had a high expectation for myself. I worked a lot harder,” said the son of Smithfield residents Valerie and Barry Miller. “I had to earn my spot.”
One of the two tallest freshmen at 6-foot-2, he was the second tallest on the front line. He was often a substitute for a forward he described as more of an “agility” guy.
“I was more of a big and tall forward to hold off defenders and let people play off of me,” Miller said.
He usually was positioned in the crowd of players awaiting free and corner kicks, he said. In those situations he had the height and vertical to head toward the net the balls that shorter players wouldn’t reach.
His size has factored into this season as well, for he said he will be switching to defense.
“We lost some defenders this year,” he said. “They told me before the spring. It gives us that much extra time to prepare.”
He expects to be in the center among the four on the back line. “That’s where the spine of the defense is,” he said, “and should have some physically big people.”
“I am very excited,” he said. “I’ll be on the ball a little more.”
The sophomore is not finished growing, either, because Miller said he is an inch taller than he was his first season. He actually has been dealing with pain in one knee he cited as a “cross between tendinitis and growing.”
Once he stops growing, he said, the knee pain should subside.
This summer he has been focusing on conditioning and ball skills to elevate his game. “The little things you do consistently will get you farther than you might think,” he said.
He is eating healthier and gaining weight for strength and durability. He played at 183 pounds last year, he said, and was at 193 this month.
He is using creative ways to improve his touches on the ball when he isn’t able to practice with others on a field. “Finding a wall to pass against and juggling in your free time,” he said.
Miller enters this season better suited to the demands of the game, especially the faster pace.
“As the season progressed, I could think quicker and contribute more to the game,” he said. “It’s also the friendship among my teammates that has made me more confident.”