York soccer player is more than a student-athlete

A few months ago Steve Miller was in Bagraham, Afghanistan, serving his country as a sergeant in the U.S. Army. Miller worked in detaining operations, patrolling at prisons with little thought of playing soccer. Today, Miller, a sophomore at Penn State York, is playing the sport he loves and helping his team battle for first place in the Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC).

Miller, 25, and a graduate of Central York High School, is working toward a bachelor of science in science, and is proud to have completed two tours of duty in the Army. In 2007, right of out of basic training, Miller served in Iraq for two years and then reenlisted and served in Afghanistan, August 2012 to August 2013. In between his time in the Army, Miller attended Penn State York and was part of the 2009-10 Penn State York soccer team that won the PSUAC championship.

Steve Miller juggling soccer ball

Showing off his juggling skills, Steve Miller, Penn State York student and soccer play, concentrates to keep the soccer ball in the air.

Image: Barbara Dennis

He is taking advantage of the benefits under the G.I. Bill, and is one of more than 80 veteran students enrolled on campus.  There was never any doubt that Miller would come back to Penn State York to complete his degree and play soccer, following his recent military service, which ended in August. Returning to school and the sport he loves was a goal always in the forefront of his mind, thanks to the encouragement of his coach, Rich Chilcoat.

“I have known Steve since he was 12-years-old old and have always been impressed with him as a soccer player, said Chilcoat, head soccer coach at York. “He was an impactful player as a freshman evidenced by his selection as an All-American in 2009-10,” said Chilcoat.

Known as “Sarge,” to players and coaches alike, Miller has served as co-captain of the team twice and is well-known for his hard work and dedication. In late spring, prior to completing his service in the army, Miller contacted Chilcoat to offer to help with the campus’ annual soccer camp held each July.

“Since Steve reached out to me in late spring regarding his return, he has impressed me as a young man and a leader on our team.  Days after his return from Afghanistan, Steve volunteered all week at the York soccer camp and ran pre-season conditioning sessions for the college team. Many days after camp had concluded, I found him running sprints on the training field in 95 degree heat,” said Chilcoat. “Anyone can work hard when the coach is watching. The special players work hard when you're watching and harder when you are not. Steve is pleasure to work with and embodies everything great about playing soccer at the York campus.”

Like most veterans, Miller is quick to note that making the transition from being in the military just a little over a year ago, to college student and athlete can be tough at times. “I’m still getting used to it. It is definitely a change from serving in the army.  It can sometimes be difficult to keep up with classes. Playing soccer definitely helps to keep me focused,” he said.

In addition to being a student and a member of the York soccer team, Miller serves as a volunteer firefighter in Manchester Township. It is natural for him to follow in the footsteps of his dad and uncle, who are also firefighters.

Miller, No. 18, plays midfield and is lucky to always have a cheering section since family is nearby and can attend games and watch him play.

When he completes his degree, Miller hopes to do some coaching and pursue a career as a pharmaceutical representative or maybe attend medical school. Whatever he pursues, Miller will continue have soccer as a part of his life.

Penn State York offers five collegiate sports. Learn more about the sports teams at York campus by visiting sports.yk.psu.edu.


Last Updated October 25, 2013