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Courtesy of Jansen Miller

Senior Jansen Miller dribbles the ball up the field during practice with St. Louis Football Club (STLFC). Miller recently made his commitment to Xavier University. “It was the family culture there,” Miller said. “Most schools, you’ll hear them say ‘oh we have a family culture’ but you could really feel it with Xavier.”

Professional soccer player Jansen Miller prepares for his collegiate career at Xavier University

For many student athletes, high school careers leading up to college generally follow a similar process. Playing professional soccer added a unique twist to the process for senior Jansen Miller.

Since eighth grade, Miller has been playing professional soccer for STLFC (St. Louis Football Club). Miller started out training with the academy team, playing alongside kids his age, but in September of 2018, Jansen was recruited to play at the professional level of STLFC, a professional soccer team in the United Soccer League (USL).

Since then, Miller received more than 20 offers to play college soccer from various schools around the country before ultimately committing to Xavier University.

“I visited, and then about a week later, they told me my offer,” Miller said. “They gave me a two week timeline, but I only needed a few days. There was just another offer I was waiting on to see if it would be the same or better, but after that offer came, I called the coach and told him I wanted to go there.”

Miller found that the recruitment process–school visits, long phone calls, numerous emails and high pressure games–can be a lot for a student athlete to go through.

“It was so exciting,” Miller said. “The stressful days were when it all started and I was contacting coaches because there are numerous coaches that I never got back to because I didn’t have time. When I finally committed, it was the most exciting feeling ever.”

I feel like when I was first on the team, I wasn’t mature, but they humble you because they are grown men. When kids like me come in, that’s how they make money and provide food for themselves. They’re not going to take us lightly because we’re trying to take their spot,”

— senior Jansen Miller

Being surrounded by professional athletes on his soccer team, Miller has been able to better prepare himself for the collegiate level.

“I feel like when I was first on the team, I wasn’t mature,” Miller said. “But they humble you because they are grown men. When kids like me come in, that’s how they make money and provide food for themselves. They’re not going to take us lightly because we’re trying to take their spot. They’re all good guys though, and I’ve become super good friends with a lot of them.”

Miller was able to make the official 18-man roster once, giving him a taste of what it is like to play under the big lights.

“It was amazing,” Miller said. “The game was also on ESPN+, and you have a lot of fans there. It was like 5,000 people at the game, and then I got to sign autographs after the game. It was so cool.”

The young professional now looks ahead at what his career at Xavier will bring.

“Playing in the Big East, playing schools like Villanova, all of these teams that you’ve seen and watched growing up, is going to be so cool,” Miller said. “Going there and having that college atmosphere, and especially a school like Xavier, I’m just so excited.”

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