BALTIMORE, Md. - After serving as leaders during their collegiate careers at Towson, it should come as no surprise to Tiger men's soccer fans that Pat Healey and Machel Millwood have continued into leadership roles for the Baltimore Blast of the Major Indoor Soccer League.
Led by Healey and Millwood, the Blast have posted a 6-3 record and are in first place in the Eastern Division after a 17-9 win over the Missouri Comets at the 1st Mariner Arena on Friday night. It marked the Blast's first win in four home games this season.
In handing the Comets their first loss since Dec. 2, Millwood scored a goal with an assist while Healey contributed a pair of assists.
Through the first nine games this season, Millwood is the Blast's second-leading scorer with 22 points. He has seven goals, including a pair of two-point markers, with six assists. He has scored a goal in six consecutive games, including a two-goal effort against Rochester on Nov. 26 in a 26-9 victory.
For the eight-year MISL veteran, it's nothing new to be near the top of the team's scoring leaders list. After scoring 23 goals in his first two years with the team, Millwood exploded for a team-high 28 goals and 65 points in 2006-07 while playing in 28 of 30 games.
In 2007-08, Millwood had his best season and led the Blast with 30 goals and 83 points. He followed up that campaign with back-to-back first team All-MISL seasons before scoring 13 goals with 15 assists in 16 games last year.
For Millwood, his success all began when he led the Tigers to one of the best seasons in school history in 2001 when he earned first team All-America East notice while helping Towson earn its first-ever berth into the NCAA Tournament. He also earned first team All-Colonial Athletic Association honors as a senior and was an honorable mention All-America selection.
The Trelawny, Jamaica native is sure to remember how instrumental his Towson career was to the success he is enjoying as a professional player.
"Towson gave me a great opportunity and it has led to so many things here with the Blast," Millwood said. "Coach Frank Olszewski has been one of my biggest motivators in terms of school and my career. He was very instrumental in me being able to play at the college level and then as a professional.
"I get to talk to Frank every once in a while over the phone, but more often than not, we chat through e-mail," added Millwood. "He keeps up on us as far as how the games are going and gives us a motivational speech every once in a while when we need it. He's always there for us."
Meanwhile, Healey, who is in his fourth season with the Blast, is tied for fifth on the team with 13 points and has scored three goals with six assists. However, he has been limited to just three assists in the team's last four games.
But, he is not worried about scoring goals as long as the Blast continues to win and move towards another MISL title.
"I wish the goals would come for me, but the ball is not finding the back of the net [here lately]," Healey said. "My role on the team is to be a two-way player, helping out on defense and then, getting the ball to the guys who need the ball in key situations. I am just working hard to be where I need to be to help this team."
The 2007 Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year, Healey made a quick impression on the Blast roster after being drafted with the fifth overall selection in the 2008 MISL Amateur Draft. He was named as the 2008-09 MISL Rookie of the Year after scoring six goals with four assists in 18 games while helping the Blast win their third MISL championship in four years.
In 2009-10, the Bel Air, Md. native appeared in 20 games and scored six goals with six assists. Last year, he was the Blast's leading scorer with 48 points, scoring 16 goals (one three-point goal) with 13 assists.
While Healey is enjoying being a key part of the Blast's offense, the fact he gets to play in front of his friends and family in his hometown is something that he enjoys even more.
"It's always fun with your friends and family in the stands because you see those familiar faces," he said. "I was joking with some of the guys that as I walk around the field after the game and slapping hands with the fans, it's most my friends and family that I see.
"Our fans know us so personally," Healey added. "We're not the Ravens or the Orioles, so we have to work hard to earn their respect. They come out every year for us, so we want to work hard for them."
While Healey has been gone from the Tiger men's soccer program for a few years, he hasn't forgotten about it and does his best to keep up on the team. He also remembers the importance of having a coach like Olszewski to lead him.
"I went to Towson because of Frank and also because it's a great school," Healey said. "I will do whatever I can to help out where I can because I owe him a lot. I couldn't have been more happy to play for him."
There have been 14 former Tigers who have played in the MISL. With Healey and Millwood having success with the Blast, Towson will continue to be presented in the league for some time to come.