Being the first in your family to attend college is tough enough. When your family is financially unable to send you to college, things get even more complicated.
‘My parents can’t afford to pay $30,000 a year to make me go to college,’ Junior Pascal Milien said. ‘It was a big step for me when I decided to go to college.’
Milien, a native of Haiti, is a forward on the University of Tampa’s men’s soccer team.
Before attending college Milien entertained the possibility of going pro, straight out of high school.
‘I wasn’t planning on going to school,’ Milien said. ‘I was going to try to make it to the pros.’
He wanted to go pro to help his family financially, but he wanted to go to college to make his family proud.
‘I wanted to do it to make my mom proud of me,’ Milien said. ‘Even though she isn’t able to see me playing today, it was a big deal for me [to go to college].’
If Milien hadn’t gone to the MLS, or to college, his plans would have been less certain.
‘I don’t want to do the same jobs my dad is doing,’ he said. ‘I had to push myself harder. I need to help my people back home. I had to help my dad.’
Milien moved to Auburndale, Fla. at age 16′ where he attended Auburndale High School.
The UT junior credits his high school soccer coaches Bill Johnson and Guy Jennings for pushing him to put his professional dreams on hold and continue his education at asecondary institution.
Before coming to Tampa Milien attended Lindsey Wilson College in Kentucky.
‘I decided to go to Lindsey [Wilson College] for a year and transfer after a year,’ he said. ‘UT was always my first choice.’
Milien feels like he has made the right decision as he pursues his sport management degree.
As a religious man, Milien praises God for his good fortune.
‘God keeps blessing me,’ he said. ‘Every day I wake up, I thank God.’
The soccer star plans to finish out his college career.
By keeping his grades up and working to become the best person, Milien hopes to continue his dreams after his tenure at Tampa.
Then after, maybe he can focus on his future.
‘Hopefully my dreams can come true,’ Milien said. ‘Don’t let the dream catch you, you got to chase the dream, don’t let the dream catch you, because it’s never going to catch you.’
Kyle Bennett can be reached at email@example.com.