Milio leads by example at Franklin Towne

The senior midfielder and striker uses her energy on and off the field to serve as a team motivator.

Hailey Milio helped Franklin Towne Charter reach the championship in each of her four years on the soccer team. SUPPLIED PHOTO

Hailey Milio always knew what she needed to do to help her team.

Milo is a senior on the Franklin Towne Charter girls soccer team, and when she got on the field, she gave it everything she had.

The midfielder and striker would wait until her number was called and then go all out for the time she had.

“My dad was my first coach and he told me to play as hard as you can, and if you’re not the first one picked, that’s OK,” Milio said. “When you get out there, play with a chip on your shoulder and give it everything you have.

On the year, Milio scored two goals and provided the Warriors with plenty of energy. But that wasn’t the only thing she was responsible for in helping her squad.

“People would say I was the motivator,” the Mayfair resident said. “I wanted everyone to know that I had their back, and we all supported each other. Our team expected to win, we always wanted to be the best, so we worked hard. When someone needed encouragement or anything like that, they knew I would be there.”

Through Milio and company’s hard work, the Warriors once again advanced to the Public League championship this year.

It was the fourth time she was on a team that made it to the finals. But this year, the Warriors fell to Central 4–2 in a game that was played Monday at Simon Gratz. It was the third straight year the Lancers defeated Franklin Towne in the championship game. The previous five years, Franklin Towne ran off with the championship.

Falling just short of bringing home a championship isn’t the best way to end the season, but it certainly beats not making it that far.

And while the Warriors always have plenty of talented players, it takes more than that to consistently be one of the best in the Public League.

“We expect to be good, and I think it helps that we do well every year because it lets everyone know that you have to work hard to get that far,” Milio said. “It’s hard. There are days when it’s cold and you would rather go home after school, but you don’t because you want to win. If you don’t put in the work, you’re not going to win.”

Franklin Towne’s success was just like previous years, but there was a big difference on the Warriors’ sidelines.

Brianna O’Donnell, the longtime head coach, stepped down to become an assistant and in her place was former assistant Deborah Ounan.

Because both coaches were best friends and worked together so closely, there wasn’t a tremendous adjustment period for players, but it was still a change in a key position, so Milio did her best to make sure everyone knew their role and had any questions answered.

“Younger players don’t just look to coaches for leadership, even though we had great coaches, sometimes they look to juniors and seniors and I made sure I was always there if anyone needed help,” Milio said. “It didn’t happen a lot, but I wanted to be a good leader. I learned a lot from the older players when I was younger so I wanted to help out.”

Milio wasn’t just a leader in athletics.

She was a member of student council at Franklin Towne and she’s also a member of the renaissance program, which is also a form of student government.

“Instead of 16 members like student council, there are about 150 or 200 students in the renaissance program,” Milio said. “We are a planning committee who helps things around the school.”

Milio is proud to represent the school because she really enjoys being there.

“Franklin Towne is great, mostly because of the teachers,” Milio said. “The teachers do a great job of being teachers but also being your friends. I don’t look at them like they’re just teachers, they’re my friends. That’s the best part about the school, they do a great job of teaching and helping us.”

Next year, Milio will be a Franklin Towne graduate, but she hopes to continue her education while also playing soccer. She’s looking at Holy Family and Manor. She wants to go into law enforcement.

“I want to study either criminal justice or forensics,” said Milio, who also plays softball for her club team in Abington and plans on playing for the Warriors in the spring. “I think that would suit me. I love working on something, solving problems and following it through until you’re finished. Criminal justice really interests me.”

She also plans on getting back to work.

Milio works the counter at Renzi’s Pizzeria, and she significantly cut her hours for soccer season.

“I went from working four or five days a week to working one,” Milio said. “I’m a counter girl and I cut the pizza. I missed it. I love soccer, but I love work. I’m happy that I can get back to working.”