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UT Soccer Alum Gets Professionally Rowdy

Published: March 17, 2010
Pascal Millien ’10 had mixed feelings when he found out he had achieved his lifelong goal of playing professional soccer. He was completely thrilled and thoroughly devastated. It was the same time his home country Haiti was crumbling from an earthquake.

“At the time, it was bad, what was happening to my country,” said Millien. “But living right now, I want to thank God for everything that has happened in my life. I’m living a dream.”

Millien, who played for the Spartans for three years, was signed by the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League (NASL). While at UT, Millien was a two-time NCAA Division II All-American, ranked ninth on UT’s all-time list with a career 79 points. He netted 25 goals, 10 of which were game-winners, to rank third in Tampa history, and had 29 career assists, finishing second in UT history.

“We lost one of the most exciting players to play in our program’s rich history,” said Adrian Bush, UT’s men’s soccer coach. “He was a part of a special group that helped get UT men’s soccer back to national prominence. Now he has taken the first steps in living his dream of being a professional soccer player, and for him to be able to do that with a storied franchise like the Tampa Bay Rowdies is a very proud moment for us.”

Millien said he is honored to be playing for a team with such a rich history in Tampa, but he doesn’t want to be compared to famous Rowdies players of the past.

“When I came to the U.S., I heard people talk about how good the Rowdies were in their heyday, but you have to work for your own respect,” Millien said. “I’d like to continue their good reputation.”

While the Rowdies’ season begins in April with home games at George M. Steinbrenner Field, they’ve played several pre-season games at UT’s Pepin Stadium, and another one is scheduled for Friday, March 19, at 7:30 p.m. versus the Philadelphia Union.

About $5,000 in proceeds from the Rowdies’ first pre-season game, on March 6 against the Spartans, was donated to the American Red Cross to help with Haiti relief efforts.

“That was a huge step for me. I was bringing a lot of emotion to that game,” said Millien, who lost a cousin, uncle and many friends in the January earthquake. He has started A Millien Dreams Foundation to help children in Haiti, and he stays in touch with relatives who are rebuilding their lives. “I’ve talked with them now, and they are smiling. There is some hope out there.”

Millien, who needs two more classes to finish his degree in sport management, still lives on campus in Austin Hall. He commutes to the Rowdies’ practice field in Land O’ Lakes where he’s on the field from 9:30 a.m. to noon and 2 to 4 p.m.

“It’s a different life but a dream come true for me,” said Millien who hopes to graduate either this summer or fall. “You always have to chase the dream because the dream won’t chase you.”

Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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