Miller makes the most of her minutes

Soccer co-captain, dance major values friendships and memories despite busy schedule

Senior+Avery+Miller+attempts+a+header+in++the+Bi-district+playoffs+against+Bastrop+High+School+on+March+26.+Photo+by+David+Winter.+

Senior Avery Miller attempts a header in the Bi-district playoffs against Bastrop High School on March 26. Photo by David Winter.

Esmé Moreno, staff reporter

Many McCallum students know how overwhelming it is to be a major, rushing from one practice to the next. Add on top of that playing a sport, and it can be very draining. This is a reality for many students at McCallum, including senior Avery Miller. “I’ve been a dance major at McCallum since freshman year, while simultaneously playing varsity soccer,” Miller said. “It can be incredibly rewarding and also stressful.”

In addition to playing left wing and forward for McCallum’s varsity soccer team since freshman year, she also plays club soccer at Westlake FC.

“I’ve been playing soccer since I was in the first grade,” Miller said. “I now play for the team Westlake outside of school. There have been several days where I had double practices with very minimal rest time in between, but even though it can be very physically draining, I still stick with it.”

Through her many years playing soccer, she has made a lot of friends.

“Some of the girls I played with on my first team, over 10 years ago, are still my friends today,” Miller said. “I’ve made great friends on the Mac team as well. My favorite memories from over the years are just getting to spend time with the team… It made a really great experience to be able to connect and become closer to the girls.”

Every game with Avery is my favorite. She knows the game so well, we don’t even need to talk when we play.”

— Varsity soccer co-captain Hannah Zuniga

One of these friends includes senior Hannah Zuniga, who joins Miller as co-captain of the soccer team.

“I met Avery in middle school,” Zuniga said. “We met on the seventh grade Lamar soccer team.”

The two have played together ever since, minus their freshman year when Zuniga faced a torn ACL.

“Every game with Avery is my favorite. She knows the game so well, we don’t even need to talk when we play.”

Dance has made an impact in her life as well.

“I began dancing almost six years ago, which is actually considered pretty late,” Miller said. “Dance can be super mentally and physically draining, which is why a lot of girls don’t last all four years as a major. I’ve thought about quitting as well, but even though the lows are low, the highs are very high.”

Miler’s senior year has seen some highs, including the opportunity to choreograph.

“This year, I got to choreograph for the senior piece to be performed in the Student-Directed Show,” Miller said. “Choreographing for a group of dancers had always been a task that I wanted to achieve and when we finally had the performance, it was amazing. Just seeing my visions come to life on stage, while my classmates performed was so awesome. It made me feel accomplished in such a special way.”

Although Miller loves doing dance and soccer, there are several times where doing both seems almost impossible.

Senior Avery Miller dances in the student-directed dance show, From the Ground Up, on March 11. Miller choreographed the senior piece this year, her first opportunity of this kind. “Choreographing for a group of dancers had always been a task that I wanted to achieve and when we finally had the performance, it was amazing,” Miller said. “Just seeing my visions come to life on stage, while my classmates performed was so awesome.”

The amount of time doing both varies throughout the year depending on shows, games, playoffs, et cetera,” Miller said. “I think that both soccer and dance are definitely each a time commitment on their own. Obviously, you are going to have to give up some things to be able to do both. The weeks are sometimes busy but it usually leaves time on the weekends to hang out with friends and relax, so it isn’t that bad.” 

Other people have noticed how busy she is as well.

“Soccer is definitely time-consuming, but I try not to see it that way,” Zuniga said. “I definitely think Avery struggled a bit more though, with dance and soccer. There are so many after-school hours dedicated to both, lots of rehearsal and sweat. I know how much Miller likes to be there for her teammates, so when there’s a conflict with both, I know it hurts her to miss out. Either way, she handled both very well.”

Dance can be super mentally and physically draining, which is why a lot of girls don’t last all four years as a major. I’ve thought about quitting as well, but even though the lows are low, the highs are very high.”

— Avery Miller

Her weeks being busy seems like an understatement after she walks you through a day in her life.

“I normally have dance classes for fifth and sixth period, and then soccer class during eighth,” Miller said. “After eighth, we usually have even more school practice. Then on most days I rush over to my Westlake practice. My days get even more hectic whenever there are games on, but on a normal day combined it’s about five-ish hours of physical activity. It can seem like a lot, especially when you have about three hours of the day to do all your schoolwork, but I don’t mind it.”

Even though her days are filled completely Miller would recommend it to anyone.

“It’s definitely a physical and mental challenge, but if you really enjoy doing both then it is worth it,” Miller said. “There’s been ups, downs, and conflicts but at the end of the day, I still get to do two things that I love. I owe a lot to soccer and dance, whether it be the friends I made or the work ethics I developed, I wouldn’t change it for the world.”