Mills signs to play soccer at Union College

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By Matt Birkholtz

After playing his senior year for the Grant County Braves, Dustin Mills will play collegiate soccer at Union College.

For Mills, it’s a dream come true.

“Union has a good soccer program,” he said. “The coaches are great, the area is great. Everything is just close down there.”

That is one of the reasons it was an easy move for his mom, Elizabeth Mills, to see him go to Union.

“He’s leaving home, but going home because we have family that lives near Union College,” she said.

Dustin played for the Braves for all four years of high school, culminating in a new school-record 12 wins and Dustin thanks Clay Mattingly for being able to get the team molded together.

“Having coach as a coach was great,” he said. “The team knew he would be a good coach because he has been around soccer for a long time. It was better than we expected.”

However, the season-ending loss to Pendleton County in the 32nd District Tournament still stings.

“I wasn’t too happy with the way the season ended,” Dustin said. “Bad calls happen, but overall I think the team did good having 11 seniors on the squad.”

Mills’ parents came to all of his home games and saw how close the soccer team was.

“It was a brotherly team,” Elizabeth said. “To see all of those boys grow up together especially Dustin and Jordan Hale, they were all like brothers.”

Dustin and Hale have a special relationship.

“Growing up, Jordan and I have always been close,” he said. “When his mom passed away last year around Halloween it was hard on him. We just got closer from that moment on. We’ve known each other for so long that it jumped over onto the soccer field.”

Soccer has been a major part of his life and playing with passion is what attracted him to the sport.

“It’s the idea about playing with your heart,” Dustin said. “It is not about the skill you have. If you have the heart to play soccer, you can build yourself to be a successful soccer player.”