RED OAK – “Like heaven.”

That’s the phrase Red Oak girls soccer player Paige McMillan used to describe the feeling of signing a letter of intent to play Division I soccer at Troy University.

It’s actually Montgomery, Ala., but close enough.

The senior did what was a foregone conclusion by signing to play major collegiate soccer at Red Oak’s signing day ceremony on Monday. The event was pushed back from traditional national signing day last Wednesday due to the inclement weather around the Metroplex.

Delay aside, putting pen to paper was the culmination of many years for McMillan.

“It’s a dream come true. As a little kid you dream of playing in college and making this all happen, it just pays off,” McMillan said. “The hard work and the hours that you put in with select and with high school and extra workouts, it pays off.”

The district superlative for midfield MVP as a junior, McMillan used her speed to blow past opposing defenses with ease. She finished the 2010 season with a total of 20 points with seven goals and 13 assists. Her assists were the second-highest total on the Lady Hawk roster just behind Lauren Stewart with 14.

Her work on the offensive end helped propel Red Oak to a district title and deep run in the playoffs. Her offense and leadership are what the Lady Hawks are counting on this season.

According to Troy’s signing day press release, McMillan, one of five signees for the Trojans, is expected to play either forward or midfield.

More than that, McMillan expects to make big contributions at other spots in the university. While some of the scholarship money she is receiving is from the athletic department, a larger portion of it is academic based.

As if a high grade point average and soccer IQ weren’t enough, McMillan has already been in talks with the track and field program at Troy and plans to walk-on as a runner next season.

For Red Oak, she runs the 100m and a leg of the 4x100. McMillan also takes part in club track and select soccer.

While she might have had the opportunity to slow down a little bit at the college level, McMillan appears to be bypassing the easy route and doing the same amount of work she’s done all through high school. Troy has given her a chance to shine on multiple platforms and the Red Oak senior plans to do just that.

Despite balancing all that comes with being a college athlete, McMillan has her eyes set on two things – earning a degree and taking her game to the next level. She hopes Troy is the place to do both.

“(The biggest deciding factor) was definitely the coaches. They have connections outside of collegiate soccer with the pro leagues and they have the ability to give me the skills I need to get there,” McMillan said.

Contact Alex at alex.riley@wninews.com or at 469-517-1456.