Fifth-grader Catherine Mills plays a few different sports, but zeroing in on her favorite is easy.
“I like soccer the best,” said Mills, a 10-year-old student at Juan Cabrillo Elementary School.
She prefers soccer as her sport of choice over her other recreational activities – tennis and softball – because she gets to use a lot of her energy. Currently, she expels that energy on the soccer field while playing defense for her American Youth Soccer Organization team, the Waves of Fury. However, Mills, who has played for five years, already knows what she’ll do after she scores her first goal when her current transition from defensive to offensive player is complete for the AYSO team.
“I’ll be really excited, and probably jump up and down,” she said.
Her mother, Donna Mills, said her daughter has natural talent on the soccer field.
“She is a focused player,” she said. “She is strong and fast. She stays focused and always knows what is going on around her.”
Fredy Romero, the physical education coach at Juan Cabrillo, said Catherine is an easy choice for Athlete of the Week.
“Catherine Mills is a special athlete,” he said. “She’s tenacious, persistent and even graceful when playing sports. You don’t see instincts in grade-schoolers like you see in Catherine.”
Romero, who teaches Catherine and her twin brother, Robbie, said other students love Mills as an athlete because she doesn’t demand the ball or attention.
“She’s always looking to be serviceable and helpful, and that is encouraging,” he said. “When the best player on your team is constantly hustling and working hard then it makes you want to do the same.”
In December 2012, she was a member of Malibu’s U-10 girls team, the Red Phoenix, which finished in second place at the AYSO Area 10E soccer tournament in Moorpark.
Mills said one day she envisions herself going on to play a higher level of soccer in high school and college. She also said she wouldn’t mind following the cleat steps of her favorite soccer player – American soccer player and Olympic gold medalist Alex Morgan.
“I like her a lot,” Mills said. “She is fun.”
Aside from the soccer pitch, Mills has seen some success on the softball diamond too.
In the spring of 2013, she was a member of the Malibu Dream Team that earned a fourth place finish at the California Little League District 25 Minors Softball Tournament by beating teams from Beverly Hills and Culver City.
Donna Mills said her daughter’s love for sports stems from her love of outdoor activities.
“She likes doing anything outside,” Donna said over the phone. “We are in Mammoth right now. She loves being in the snow and she likes to ski.”