Lionel Mills Tells All About His Freshman Year at the University of Portland
This time last year, Lionel Mills had just started his freshman year at the University of Portland, where he was recruited on scholarship after a stint with the Portland Timbers Academy. After many hours of training, and many more hours of studying, we caught up with Lionel to hear all about his freshman year.
Lionel, who was recruited as a defender, had a very successful freshman year, making 13 appearances at center back, with five starts. He helped to anchor the backline that posted four shutouts during the season. When asked to describe his freshman year in one sentence, Lionel says, “Very satisfying and exciting but at the same time academically and physically challenging.”
Check out our Q & A with Lionel below, and a video interview by the University of Portland.
What was your in-season training schedule
We had training in the morning, six days a week, plus video. We were also expected to train and do recovery on off-days.
How was your first pre-season training?
I was not mentally prepared for the amount of work we were putting in, in a single week. It was very hard because, being a freshmen, we had try extra hard to show our worth to the coaches
Was your first year anything like you had imagined it would be?
Yes and no. I did imagine that it would be exciting and a lot of fun, which college has passed my expectation. On the other hand I didn’t think it would be so exhausting.
What was the highlight of your season?
Playing against Michigan State, who is in the Top 10 in the nation, at home for our season opening, in front of 5000+ fans.
What are you majoring in?
Mechanical Engineering, but I will probably switch to Biology or Environmental Science
How did you find balancing soccer with school?
It was hard at first but once I learned to manage my time better it became easier until I got a steady balance on both my academics and sports.
How did you adjust to life on campus?
It got a little cold for the morning practices with the field iced over and all, but I got used to the cold, gloomy weather fairly quick. Campus life was fun and the environment on campus made it easy to adjust right in with everyone else.
Something that I think helped my process of adjusting to all the differences than living at home was the fact that I lived a block off campus for the majority of junior year summer. I played with the team everyday and got to live with members of the team to see the lifestyle. This helped my transition into school the following year in a huge way.
What is the best part about campus life?
Constantly being around people your age, where everyone is on a campus with similar interests.
What is the worst part about campus life?
Being around friends can also be a con in the way that there are always distractions from doing homework.
What is the best thing about the town/city you live in?
The food, the people, easy public transportation, and Portland is an active city.
What is the worst thing about the town/city you live in
Possibly the winter weather.
Lionel spent his summer on Maui working with Valley Isle Soccer Academy’s youth teams and soaking in the sun at the beach before heading back to the chill of preseason in Portland.
Best of luck for your sophmore season, Lionel!!