March 3, 2011 9:43:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- Injuries never are good news, especially for high school seniors.
Those setbacks are even more upsetting when they come right before the start of your final sports season and make you wonder if you will get a chance to do what you love with your friends.
After injuring her ankle while playing in a game for the Tupelo Futbol Club in October at the Crossroads of the South Invitational, Morgan Miller worried the incident was going to affect her senior season with the Starkville High School girls soccer team.
A visit to the doctor''s office the day after the injury confirmed the worst: Miller had broken her ankle. But the news wasn''t all that bad. The doctor said the break wasn''t "life-changing" and that Miller should be able to return to the field once she gave her ankle time to heal.
Miller''s ability to get back into action helped lay the foundation for her to realize a goal she finalized Wednesday, when she signed a scholarship to play soccer at Hinds Community College in Raymond.
"It was hard missing pretty much my entire high school year, but everything happens for a reason, and I just learned from it," Miller said.
Miller has played five years with the Tupelo Futbol Club and has been a member of the Starkville High team since the seventh grade. She has anchored the center midfield spot for both squads.
Hinds C.C. coach Marcille McLendon discovered Miller on the Tupelo Futbol Club website and then contacted Starkville High coach Anna Albritton to find out more about her. She said Albritton "raved" about Miller and told her she had suffered a serious injury earlier in the season. Miller''s performance at a tryout at HCC allayed any fears McLendon might have had about Miller being able to return from the injury.
"She did fantastic (at the tryout on Feb. 17)," McLendon said. "She played really strong. I am really excited to have her. I am looking forward to having her contribute in the midfield.
"Coach (Albritton) said she is just such a smart player. That is one of the big things I am looking for."
Albritton first coached Miller when she was in the recreation leagues. She said Miller always has been a "go-getter" and a "very physical player." She said her knowledge of the game and ability to break things down will serve her well at the next level.
"Not only does she has the field skills to play this game, but she has the mental capabilities. She understands the game," said Albritton, who coached her for four years with the high school team. "She was like a third coach for us this season. They''re getting a quality player."
Albritton said Miller rejoined the high school team after Christmas. She came around slowly and regained her conditioning. She said Miller helped the Lady Yellow Jackets advance to the first round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A playoffs. She feels Miller''s cerebral approach to the game could give her an advantage over other players.
"Some girls are physical and they go and play," Albritton said. "Morgan thinks it. She sees the field. Like I said, she understands how to coach, and that is going to be a huge advantage for her."
Miller said she isn''t 100 percent but knows she won''t have any problem completing her return to form. She is excited about making the most of her chance to play in college after an injury left her doubting if she would get that opportunity.
"Playing with many teams and coaches, everyone I have played with I have learned the game of soccer in a different way," Miller said. "You take what they say about the game and just add on to your knowledge. Every game and practice you learn something new to help you get better.
"I have a lot of experience, so I am able to learn from everyone I play with and who coaches me. Being in that environment (at Hinds C.C.) will help me a lot to stay focused and to keep playing soccer to the best of my abilities."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
2. Payoff comes for Bulldogs on 'money' down COLLEGE SPORTS