Kara Mills, 17U ENCL team – Exemplifies Humility

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Like most players, Kara Mills had dreams of playing soccer at the highest level.  She attended her practices and worked hard. However, to be a top level player, working hard at practice is the standard and does not guarantee success.

Every player will face challenges and set-backs in their career. Those that are humble and have a growth mindset, give themselves the best opportunity to achieve their dreams.

At Under 11, Kara was placed on the third team at NC Fusion Twins. Her coaches explained that if she desired to play at a higher level, she must dedicate herself to improving in all aspects of the game, from the technical to the physical aspects of her game. These types of conversations happen at every soccer club all across the country. How a player responds to this feedback can determine the level of success possible. For Kara, she committed herself to developing a relationship with the ball and to take on these challenges presented to her.

At Under 13, Kara was selected to the second team at the home club. Although she was excited, Kara remained humble and did not become satisfied with her elevation to the next level of play. She was aware that more players were needed to fill the roster as the team jumped from 8v8 to 11v11 and would not settle for this possibility of her advancement. For the next two seasons, Kara would focus on becoming a student of the game. She continuously craved and asked for feedback from her coaches. She wanted to know every detail and intricacy of improving her technique, playing her position, and mastering her role within the team.

At Under 15, she made the Green team (the top team at Twins). Despite the success, Kara’s growth mindset and humility remained steadfast. The game was becoming faster and the ability of her peers and opponents was increasing. Kara would focus and listen intently during video sessions and would ask for drills to do at home. In her time away from training, she would record videos of herself juggling in the garage to improve her relationship with the ball. She would spent countless hours at the gym and working with strength and conditioning coaches to maximize every aspect of her athletic ability while she enhanced her technical ability.

In 2018, Kara was selected to U17 ECNL team, the top team in the NC Fusion Triad program. In her first week of training, despite being an attacking player, Kara received feedback that there was opportunity within the team for a center back. This was a position that Kara had almost never played at any point in her career. However, Kara took on the challenge of taking over this role. Kara applied the same mindset and determination as she did at Under 11. She watched film of top center backs in the film, watched film of herself, asked questions, and absorbed as much information as possible to becoming the best center back possible.

In the 2018/2019 ECNL season, Kara and the U17 team went 16-2-2 in the Mid-Atlantic Conference, an unprecedented improvement from the year before, as the team had won only 4 league games in 2017/2018. Kara was a stalwart at the back, starting all 20 ECNL league matches and leading a backline that conceded only 18 goals and had a plus 40 goal differential.

This month, Kara committed to play Division 1 soccer at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Her future coach, Chris Neal, said “Kara has unmatched dedication, a superb technical foundation, and a relentless mindset.”

Kara Mills truly exemplifies the dedication, humility, and growth mindset needed to achieve success. Her commitment, sacrifice and effort to overcome any challenge she faced have afforded her the opportunity to achieve her soccer dreams. Congratulations Kara!

John Pardini
NC Fusion ECNL Girls Director

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