Former county soccer stars get drafted by MISL squads
Jan. 9, 2003
Ted Black
Staff Writer




A pair of Prince George's County residents and current Towson University roommates and teammates both received an early Christmas present Dec. 17 when they were selected in the Major Indoor Soccer League amateur draft.

Now they will pursue professional soccer careers at opposite ends of the continent.

Andy Hicks, a 1998 Bowie High graduate and Machel Millwood, a 1998 Parkdale graduate, both concluded stellar senior seasons at Towson in November. Hicks was selected in the third round by the Baltimore Blast, while Millwood was taken in the first round by the San Diego Sockers.

"I was getting ready to take a final for my economics class when I heard that I had been drafted," said Hicks, who led the Colonial Athletic Association with 126 saves and set a school record with eight shutouts as a senior. "I was studying for the test when my brother Todd called and told me. A little while later my coach, Frank Olszewski, also called to tell me. I was surprised and it didn't really sink in right away. I had a hard time studying for the test after that."

During his four years at Bowie, Hicks and his teammates reached the state finals twice, but along the way he was still playing in the shadow of his older brother. Todd Hicks enjoyed a stellar college career and eventually played four seasons for the Baltimore Blast. The younger Hicks became a goalie initially to provide his older brother with a moving target to practice with in their back yard.

"When we were kids, my dad built a soccer goal in our back yard so my brother could practice shooting," Hicks recalled. "So I became the goalie for him to shoot at. It was very tough at first because he was just a great shooter and I was just starting. But it really helped me to develop pretty quickly. But in college and even now when I tell people who I am they always ask me if I have an older brother."

While Hicks grew up several miles from his high school, Machel Millwood was born and raised in Jamaica and arrived in the United States for his junior year at Parkdale. Millwood played two seasons with the Panthers and then headed to Prince George's Community College for two seasons before enrolling at Towson for his junior year.

"Growing up, I remember playing soccer all the time at home," said Millwood, who recently participated in a college combine in Florida that included only 36 invitees. "Then when I came here I remember that the other kids at Parkdale just didn't take the game very seriously. We played to have fun, but we didn't get very far in the playoffs. That's what made the last two seasons at Towson so special. We reached the NCAA tournament my junior year because we had seven or eight really good players."

During his two seasons at Towson, Millwood scored 22 goals and added 21 assists for a total of 65 points, good for eighth all-time among the school's leaders. As a junior he scored 12 goals and added 10 assists and was instrumental in leading the Tigers to their first-ever NCAA tournament berth. But some of his fiercest battles occurred during practice with his roommate between the pipes.

"At the end of every practice our coach would make us battle for a trophy," Millwood said. "Some days I would be on and beat him and other days he would be sharp and beat me. It was great competition and a lot of fun. I won the trophy more times than he did and I got it last, so I guess it's mine."

Hicks noted that Millwood's shooting skills proved a formidable challenge and enabled him to stay sharp for future contests. While he conceded that Millwood got the better of him in the long run, Hicks remarked that he certainly had his bright days.

"Those battles for the trophy at the end of practice were great," Hicks said. "You're only going to get better when you face someone like Machel who has a great shot. I know he beat me the last time and he got the trophy, but he never scored on me during a game in high school. I know that for a fact."

E-mail Ted Black at tblack@gazette.net.