The senior center back and captain anchored a very solid defense that allowed only 13 goals in 12 games, and was the Rams’ leading goal scorer with four. He was a first team All-Central League boys’ soccer pick and the Rams’ 2020 MVP, and has received early acceptance to Tulane University. Off the pitch at Harriton, Millrood belongs to the Jewish Student Union. Harriton boys’ soccer head coach Biff Sturla, who coached Millrood in the Lower Merion Soccer Club when Josh was age 7, said, “Josh played on B travel teams until about 14 years of age, but through a lot of hard work, dedication and maturity, he moved up to the A team in his age group and has stayed there ever since. I truly admire how Josh has grown and matured over the years. I never thought he’d get to the level in soccer that he has. But, he proved lots of people wrong and went on to be a standout player and leader.”
Q: How did you see your defensive role on the team this fall?
One of the most important things defensively in soccer is to work as a unit. My defensive role this fall was to be a leader and get shutouts. I knew we had talent on defense so if we were able to work together, I had a feeling we wouldn’t give up many goals. Each game our goal defensively was to get a shutout and we were able to achieve that in six out of 12 games.
Q: How did you view your leadership role on the Harriton boys’ soccer team this past fall, on and off the field, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: On and off the field leadership was a huge part of my role on the team this season. Due to COVID we couldn’t have any team dinners, any team bonding experiences, or any time to hang out in school. I felt like my role as leader of the team was to make sure everyone was getting along and we had good chemistry. The captains including myself, Zach Kades, Reiley Kreiser and Sam Finkelstein, did our best to create a culture on the team where everyone got along. On the field, my role was to be vocal and keep our heads in the game. There many times this season where my teammates would get frustrated and I would have to tell them to calm down so they don’t commit a stupid foul. Leadership was a huge part of our success this past season.
Q: You came up big in the second round of the Central League playoffs when you converted a penalty kick in the PK shootout 7-6 win over Marple Newtown. Tell us a little about your strongest memory of this game.
A: Marple Newton had beat us in the regular season 2-1 in overtime on our home turf, so this was a revenge game for us. Throughout the whole game their fans were heckling us and calling us names. When our goalie saved the final PK from Marple to win us the game, our entire team including the bench stormed the field and every player on our team waved the fans goodbye.
Q: Tell us a little about your soccer training since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. What have you found to be the biggest challenge to your training during the pandemic, and how have you handled that?
A: The biggest challenge during the pandemic was to find a turf field that had goals. It was easy for me to work out and do small dribbling drills at home, but when I wanted to work on my shooting it wasn’t so easy. Early in the pandemic I starting looking for turf fields with goals and I couldn’t find any. One morning I woke up with a text from one of my close friends that he saw goals on the turf field at Cardinal O’Hara High School, which is about 25 minutes from my house. We ended up going there 2-3 times per week to gets shots up.
Q: You are a member of the talented Lower Merion Soccer Club Fever U-19 team. What has been your favorite experience with the LMSC Fever U-19 team?
A: My favorite experience with LMSC has just been playing with my friends. Since you start playing travel soccer when you are 7, there are still kids on my team I have been playing with since I was little. I’ve been friends with some of my LMSC teammates for over half my life so it’s awesome to just be able to continue to play with them every week.
Q: What has been your primary position through the years? Who have been your biggest soccer mentors, and what was the most important thing you learned from each one?
A: Through the years I have been playing outside back for LMSC but for Harriton I play center back. I really enjoy playing both positions for both teams. Two of the people I look up to when it comes to soccer are my Harriton coach, Biff Sturla, and Lionel Messi. Messi has always been my favorite player since I was a little kid. I have always looked up to him and watch his highlights all the time. Biff has helped me grow as a person on and off the field. One of the most important things I’ve learned from Biff is the importance of defense in soccer. Obviously in any soccer game it’s important to defend, but Biff taught me to defend every minute like it’s the final minute of a game. The advice I learned from Biff on the field means a lot to me, but what he taught me off the field will last me a lifetime. Biff always tells us to pursue our dreams and work hard for what we want. I will always be grateful to have had Biff coach me for four years at Harriton.
Q: What do you think is the strongest aspect of your game? What part of your game are you working on the most currently?
A: The strongest aspect of my game is my defense. I am very confident in my defense game and the stats speak for themselves. The part of my game which I’m currently working on is my left foot. Although my left foot isn’t too bad, I want to get it as good as my right foot.
Q: Tell us a little about your pre-game preparation the day of a game.
A: I don’t have much of a preparation routine, but before every game I listen to music and take 10 minutes to myself to just visualize my play on the field. I think it’s extremely important to prepare myself mentally and physically before every game.
Q: You wear uniform jersey No. 5 for Harriton soccer. Why did you pick this number?
A: My usual number for Lower Merion Soccer Club is No. 10, because Lionel Messi has always been my favorite player and he inspires me to wear 10. I wasn’t able to get No. 10 for Harriton so I just took No. 5.
Fun facts – Josh Millrood
Favorite TV show: Game of Thrones.
Favorite movie: Shawshank Redemption.
Favorite athlete: Lionel Messi.
Favorite pre-game pump-up song: Intro by Roddy Ricch.
Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles.
Family members: parents Tobi and Benna, brothers Zeke and Jake.
To be selected for Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by his coach.
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