By Eugene Burndam
There are many college athletes that aspire to go professional in their sport, but only a small percentage of those athletes actually attain a career in their game.
Fifth-year senior Cory Miller is now one of the fortunate few who can say that he achieved his childhood dream of becoming a professional soccer player.
“I’ve been thinking about becoming a professional player since nine years old – it still hasn’t sunk in yet,” Miller said.
Upon graduation in May, Miller will be Olivet’s first graduate to ever realize professional status in soccer.
Miller will compete in the North American Soccer League (NASL) for the Carolina RailHawks. The team is based in Cary, North Carolina. New signee Miller will meet up with the team in late April.
During spring break Miller travelled to Cary where he underwent a 10-day trial in which he was evaluated by the RailHawks coaching staff.
“The trial started on a Friday and ended the following Sunday,” Miller said. “The team’s training sessions were very intense.”
However the 22-year-old athletic training major is no stranger to intense workouts. Miller explained that he did workouts that were comprised of weight lifting, running and ball handling on a daily basis over the past six to eight months.
But Miller knew that hard work needed to translate onto the field as well.
“I’ve been told to be first player on the field and the last one to leave,” Miller said. “It hasn’t been easy [to become a professional] – I always knew I had to put in more work [than other players] being someone who competed in the NAIA as opposed to NCAA Division 1.”
One of the people who watched Miller work hard over the years was varsity soccer coach Justin Crew. Crew coached Miller all four years he played soccer for Olivet.
“I am so proud of Cory,” Crew said. “I remember him as an immature 18-year-old, and to see him now is amazing. I am so excited to follow his career and see where he goes.”
Crew also commented on the drive and desire Miller possesses. He stated Miller was willing to go the extra mile to improve his game and become a better player.
“Cory is passionate, persistent and extremely hard working,” he added.
Crew said Miller would bring athleticism, character off the field, passion on the field and a great overall personality to his new team.
Miller said he is excited to meet up with the RailHawks and begin practicing in their training complex.
“[The RailHawks] have some of the best facilities in the nation,” Miller said. “They have ten fields and all of them [are] perfect. The organization is perfect. It’s the best situation I could have gotten at this level.”
Crew is hopeful for Miller’s future as well.
“If Cory continues to put in the work and pay attention to details, the sky is the limit for him,” Crew said of his former star.
Cory would like to give a special thanks to senior Joel Kline, junior Micah Gerhart, varsity coach Crew as well as friends and family who have supported and prayed for him throughout his time at Olivet.