Photo courtesy of UVU Review
Standing 6 feet 4 inches tall, Skyler Milne looks a little out of place on a soccer pitch, but the forward fits seamlessly into the starting XI for the Utah Valley University men’s soccer team. A former three-sport athlete, Milne isn’t afraid to use his size to his advantage and play the physical brand of soccer that comes with being a Wolverine.
Milne started his career as a freshman playing soccer with a club team at the University of Utah. However, the club didn’t provide the level of play that Milne was seeking and he intended to transfer after the season. Coincidentally, head coach Greg Maas and his staff were looking for players to form the UVU men’s soccer team as the lone Division I program in Utah.
“I knew the coaching staff and I’ve always been really close with [Associate Head] Coach [Matt] Ellinger,” said Milne. “So he gave me a call a few months before I finished my second semester there and he goes, ‘Hey, we’re starting this program down at UVU, it’s going to be in your own backyard, Greg Maas is the coach … I think you could be one of the guys that could come in and be an impact player …’ So I was like, ‘Yeah! Absolutely!’ So I decided to stay here.”
Making the change from the club level to DI soccer doesn’t always go smoothly, but as a sophomore Milne made an immediate impact on the pitch for the Wolverines. In his fifth match at the DI level, Milne scored the game-winning goal against No. 21 Denver.
“That was a good highlight,” said Milne, “But honestly the number-one moment was watching them pick the [NCAA] tournament when we got that pick.”
During a shootout in the Western Athletic Conference Championship game, Milne logged the only missed penalty kick of 10 combined attempts.
“After missing my PK in the WAC Final, I was so worried that it was my fault that we didn’t make it and all this stuff and we hear our names called and it was just the best feeling ever,” said Milne.
Now a senior, Milne thinks he has been a perfect fit with the Wolverines, and UVU has been the best place for him to grow into the player that he has become.
“Greg and the coaching staff does a great job of picking not just the best players, but the right players to come into UVU,” said Milne. “That’s huge because I wasn’t the best coming into my sophomore year, but I feel like I’ve fit in well and been a leader on the team.”
Just one game into the 2016 season, Milne has reiterated his leadership and toughness as he sustained a cut above his right eye while attempting to win a ball in the box against the Washington Huskies. After getting stitched up on the sideline, Milne returned to the match with a bandage above his eye and continued to play with the same physicality.
I’m a Pacific Northwest guy who loves his Pacific Northwest sports. An amateur movie buff who prefers the disc to digital. Chasing the sports writing dream while I geek out on Assassin’s Creed.