The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Newcomer Millie Greer hopes to strengthen the Iowa women’s soccer team defense

Greer has seen plenty of minutes early in her Iowa career, maintaining Iowa’s firm backline.
Emily Nyberg
Iowa midfielder Millie Greer runs for the ball during a soccer game between Iowa and Kansas City at the University of Iowa Soccer Complex on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023. The Hawkeyes defeated the Roos 2-0.

Iowa’s women’s soccer player Millie Greer has had a significant impact on the team, even as a first-year. 

Greer originally came in as a midfielder, but has started every game on the defense this season for Iowa.

Iowa’s defense has been a focal point of the team for a while. With the departure of two starting center backs, Sara Wheaton and Cassidy Formanek, there was a question of who would step in and fill the holes.

Greer answered the call. 

According to Greer, fitting into the backline has been easier because of senior captains Samantha Cary and Maggie Johnston on either side of her with goalkeeper Macy Enneking backing her up. 

“They’ve been in the program for so long,” Greer said. “I listen to what they say, and their empowerment makes me even more confident to play how I know I can.”

Fellow first-year midfielder Sofia Bush thinks Greer’s move from midfield to defense has been important for Iowa’s style of play.

“She’s an amazing defender,” Bush said. “She’s really good with the ball at her feet, passing the ball out the back with long balls and short balls.”

Junior forward Elle Otto agreed, adding that Greer’s ball-playing ability and vision from the backline have helped Iowa exploit gaps in the opposition’s defense and create chances for her in the Iowa attack. 

One word that consistently came up when describing Greer was “composure.” 

She’s composed and calm with the ball at her feet — a rare quality to possess as a first-year — and she’s a composed defender who rarely makes mistakes and is always prepared to break an attack. 

Greer made an impact on the team early this season. She had a standout performance in Iowa’s 2-1 home win against Iowa State on Aug. 24, providing extra cover for the defense while also playing the full 90 minutes. She also managed to go the full 90 in Iowa’s 1-0 away win against a tough Mississippi State team on Aug. 31.

RELATED: Iowa Women’s Soccer Prevails Over Iowa State in Cy-Hawk Rivalry 

Greer credits her coaches, especially assistant Kyle Venter, for her early success. She said Venter gives her great direction and scouting reports ahead of games.

Cary said that doesn’t see Greer as a newcomer, as she plays with the confidence and ability of an experienced player — a sentiment that was echoed by Bush. 

Cary added that she’s proud of the work that Greer has put into learning the system, and she feels confident and comfortable playing next to her. 

“I would say she’s a leader on and off the field,” Bush said. “She’s very vocal and not afraid to stand up for what she knows is right.”

There may be some growing pains once the schedule gets tougher, and Greer may struggle with the speed and physicality some teams possess, but that’s to be expected for a first-year player. 

Greer’s continued growth will be important for Iowa, not only this season but in years to come. 

This is the last season for key figures like Cary and midfielder Josie Durr. Having someone like Greer ready to carry the torch will be crucial for the team’s continued success. 

Head coach Dave DiIanni said the thing that has stood out the most is Greer’s preparation. He said she came in somewhat prepared from a great club in Arizona, but she trains hard and is a very humble and coachable player. DiIanni said that she’s always looking for ways to get better and learn. 

He added that joining the team early in the spring was a big reason she’s gotten the opportunity to play significant minutes so early on in her Iowa career. 

“Millie is a smart soccer player,” DiIanni said. “I think she’s growing up every day and learning what it takes to win at the Big Ten level.”

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About the Contributor
Emily Nyberg, Visual Editor
Emily Nyberg is a second-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic arts. Prior to her role as a Visual Editor, Emily was a Photojournalist, and a News Reporter covering higher education.