SRHS Coach Miller uses soccer as a universal language

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By Rod Short

By: Rod Short
Sports Editor

    Actions may speak louder than words, but other times, words aren’t even needed at all. Staunton River Soccer Coach Brian Miller has found that’s sometimes true during summertime stays in Nepal.
    Bordered by China, India and Bangladesh, Nepal is a country of 26 million people that contains eight of the 10 highest peaks in the world in the Himalayas. Kathmandu, the capitol of Nepal, is listed as among the top ten upcoming travel destinations in the world by TripAdvisor.
    Coach Miller volunteered to travel there four years ago to help run a school and has been going each summer since.
    “When I started, the school had maybe 70 kids”, but now it’s grown to about 130,” coach Miller said. “The first year, we were in a bamboo hut, but now they’ve raised enough money to have a brick and mortar building.”
    Life is very different there,” he said. “We don’t have the same kind of needs here for daily survival.”
    After graduating from Lord Botetourt and then Radford, Coach Miller obtained his Master’s degree from LU and is currently working on his EdS in pursuit of his PhD there.
    He began coaching girls middle school soccer about seven years ago, worked his way through the ranks and became the SRHS boys soccer coach two seasons ago.
     Among other things in Nepal, Coach Miller teaches English, math and first-aid during his time there, but found that soccer was a real door-opener for him.
     “Kids don’t have a lot over there, but one of the things that’s a little easier to find is a ball,” Coach Miller said. When you go outside and start kicking it around, the kids start coming out. It’s an easy way to make a connection with the community and the kids that are in it, which helps the school.”
    From my experience overseas, soccer is a universal language in all parts of the world,” he added. “It’s as simple as two people and a ball.”
    Coach Miller uses those connections to build a relationship so he can teach math in a practical way, which is what he also does at Staunton River High School.
    “Nepal is in my heart,” Coach Miller said. “My plan is to keep doing this as long as I can. My hope is that I can being some other teachers along someday, too.”