It didn’t take long for Duke’s Olivia Migli to make her presence known on the NCAA soccer scene. As a freshman last season, Migli scored six goals, tied for the club lead, and was named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com National Team of the Week multiple times. “I believe my early successes had a lot to do with how welcoming and encouraging my teammates and coaching staff were coming in,” Olivia told BGN.
Does that type of success as a freshman give her a lot of confidence moving forward? She answered, “I wouldn’t say that I am an extremely confident or outgoing person in situations I am not comfortable in but the environment created by the team was really wonderful. It is a lot easier to look good when surrounded by a group of talented girls as well.”
Based on how welcome Olivia feels at the school, Duke seemed like the right place to spend her college years. Explaining her decision to become a Blue Devil, Migli said, “I really wanted the best of both worlds academically and athletically. Duke is highly regarded in both aspects so that was a huge draw as well.”
“Besides that, even before I was on the team I could tell Duke was a family-orientated team and that it was something I wanted to be a part of.”
While she was a highly-sought after recruit as a defender, she’s played primarily as a forward at Duke. She explained that the switch came around her junior year of high school for her club team. “Robbie (Church) decided to keep me up there when I arrived at Duke, and now playing wingback some this year, having some background in both has been extremely helpful,” Migli explained.
After her breakout freshman season, Migli continued to sharpen her skills. “I worked on my confidence on the ball the most, whether that be just spending time on the ball with just me and the ball or taking more people on in my summer league games,” she said. “I wanted to come back more confident than I had been when making the jump from club to college soccer.”
Another big factor in Olivia’s development has been the opportunity to be a part of multiple youth levels of the USWNT and the Washington Spirit Path to Pro program. She explained, “Being able to train at multiple levels of soccer, whether that had been Washington Spirit or the USYNT, has given me opportunities to train at an incredibly high level and given me some insight to how much I needed to grow before getting to college and how much I still can grow.”
She’s also picked up some new skills off the pitch while dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. “During the pandemic I learned how to crochet hats around Christmas time, so a lot of my friends and family got new hats as presents,” Olivia said. “I also got really into making smoothie and smoothie bowls, my Ninja blender is one of my greatest COVID purchases.”
Soccer played a big role in her life, even before it technically began. Her parents met while they were playing on the soccer teams at Gannon University, both having accomplished college careers. “It is nice to have parents that know the game and are able to give me tips both on and off the field,” Olivia said.
With Olivia in the starting XI each time out, #5-ranked Duke is off to a 4-0 start in the 2021 season (outscoring their opponents by a combined 13-2 margin), which makes sense based on Migli’s confidence for this year’s squad. “I think this team can be really special this year,” she said. “We have a great group of girls on this team chemistry-wise. It is nice to have all three of last year’s captains back again, and the freshmen all bring more talent and depth to the team.”
— Duke Women's Soccer (@DukeWSOC) August 31, 2021
“I think the key to improving from last year’s performance in the NCAA tournament will be our ability to be relentless on attack and stay disciplined to our principles.”
Next up, Migli and the Blue Devils will host Stanford tomorrow in the Duke Nike Classic. Kickoff is set for 7 PM ET and will be live on ACCNX.