Auburn’s Johnson to play soccer at Millikin
Auburn senior Tyler Johnson was an all-area selection in football and a starter on the Trojans’ basketball team. But soccer will be Johnson’s sport at Millikin University in Decatur.
The 5-foot-8, 158-pound Johnson has played soccer with the Springfield Area Soccer Association (SASA) the past nine years. He said the SASA teams usually play through the spring, so he’s been able to play at a competitive level even though Auburn does not have a boys soccer program.
Johnson, a forward, said he also considered McKendree University in Lebanon. But he said the financial-aid package offered by Millikin, an NCAA Division III school, was more attractive than that offered by McKendree, an NAIA program.
Johnson also was the kicker for Auburn’s football team the past two years. He kicked 44 extra points and four field goals as a senior last fall, when he was a first-team defensive back on The State Journal-Register All-Area Football Team.
Johnson is part of the first recruiting class for Millikin coach Mark Stollsteimer, who took over the Big Blue program last June. Stollsteimer formerly coached at Davis & Elkins, an NCAA Division II program in West Virginia.
“I was in the same situation as Tyler a long time ago,” Stollsteimer said. “I went to a big football (high) school in New York. But Tyler playing club soccer for SASA exposed him to a high level of the game.
“I’ve seen him play for SASA, and I knew he was a good player. I’m trying to bring in kids with more athleticism and quickness, and he fits that mold.”