Although the term “student-athlete” is a loosely used term for many of today’s high school athletes, Oakville Senior High’s Jenna Milward is a teenager who defines the label.
A three-year member of the Oakville Senior High girl’ soccer team, Milward played the previous two seasons on de-fense, but was projected to play as a striker at the start of the season.
That was until teammate Nicole Norberg went down due to an injury and Tiger head coach Dave Robben needed Milward to move back into the role of the team’s top tracker.
“This year we thought we were going to use her as a striker, but when (Nicole) Nor-berg went down, we had to move her back to tracker,” Robben told the Call. “She’s an all-around individual and I can’t say enough about her willingness to switch from offense to defense.”
On offense, Milward generated two goals and one assist for five points this season as the team’s top marking back. In that role, Milward has had to track some of the region’s top talent.
“Whatever team we play, she (Milward) marks that team’s top striker,” Robben said. “In fact when we played Jenks (Okla.), St. Thomas Aquinas and Barrington (Ill.), she was marking up against some of the top talent in the Midwest.”
Perhaps that unique sense of the game comes from her parents, Mark and Sherri Milward. Both her parents are fans of the sport along with Milward’s brother Scott, a freshman at Oakville.
“I started playing in kindergarten and my whole family plays soccer,” Milward said. “My mom played for the over-30 national team and my dad also played.”
Besides playing soccer, Milward is a competitive roller skater, a member of the school concert choir and was a cheerleader for four years. But her fondest memory at Oakville will be this year’s girl’ soccer team that went to the state semifinals.
“This is the year I’ll remember the most,” Milward said. “We really came together and bonded as a family. We had barbecues together and slumber parties that was just for the team.”
Milward recently was selected as a First Team All-Suburban West Conference mem-ber and also is slated to play in the Missouri Athletic Club’s All-Star Game Friday, June 17.
“The idea is for her to go to the goal from out of the backfield,” Robben said. “She has the speed to not only join the attack, but also get back and play defense. She’s certainly a two-way player.
Milward is a member of the Oakville Senior High Honor Roll with a 3.2 grade-point average and is planning to major in broadcast journalism at Murray State this summer. She enjoys doing presentations and believes that she’s a good public speaker. The Oakville graduate also would like to get into broadcast journalism like her famous great uncle — NFL Hall of Fame member and broadcaster Frank Gif-ford.
“I really don’t have a problem speaking in public and I like to do presentations,” Milward said. “Plus my uncle is a famous broadcaster.”
Perhaps in a few years and a little help from Uncle Frank, Milward will be adding “Monday Night Football” to her resume.