LONDON — Jessica Miller has been announced as the new North Laurel Lady Jaguar soccer coach, replacing former coach Rod Messer, who stepped down this past season.
Miller previously coached at Knox Central High School and Barbourville High School before becoming an assistant at North Laurel High School in 2019.
“Being named the head coach of the program at North is a big deal for me,” Miller said. “While I enjoyed the time I spent helping to build the programs at Knox Central and then Barbourville, it is nice to finally be home. London has been my home for five years now, and I love it. I love teaching at North, and I love working with this wonderful group of players. North has a well-establish program with a reputation of being a tough team to beat, so being named the head coach of this team is a big deal and an honor.”
Miler will be taking over a talented Lady Jaguar squad that won the region title last season while posting a 16-2-1 record. North Laurel has won two region championships in a row while putting together a 61-25-5 record the past four seasons.
“This program has been very successful over the last few years, and I know the expectations for this year’s team are high,” Miller said. “We did lose several seniors last year, and this year we have a large group of upcoming freshmen. This will be a much younger team than it has been in the past, but this team is also full of talent, athleticism, and optimism, which makes me confident that this will be a very good season.
“It’s still a little early to predict how we will fair during tournament time,” she added. “Due to all of the restrictions, social distancing, no contact, and minimal shared equipment, it’s difficult to practice formation and a lot of game situations, so it’s hard to say at the moment what the team will look like in competition this year. I’m hopeful that we will be able to have more intense practices once KHSAA announces it’s plan for Stage 4. As I said previously, this is a very talented and athletic bunch, so I’m confident this will be a winning season regardless, and I think we stand a good chance at winning the district and region this year.
Miller, began her soccer career at the age of nine in her hometown of Russell, playing in the Greenup County Youth Soccer Association. She also played both indoor and outdoor soccer with the West Virginia Rowdies and the Eastern Kentucky Futbol Club.
After an outstanding career at Russell High School, Miller played four years of collegiate soccer at Union College.
During her time as a Lady Bulldog, she was a three-year starter as a midfielder and defender, and team captain during her junior and senior years.
Miller lives in London with her husband, Josh, a 2010 graduate of North Laurel High School.
“I’m very excited about this upcoming season,” Miller said. “This is a great group of girls to work with. Due to the current health pandemic, all schools and athletic programs are currently having to make a lot of changes and adapt, but we have had a great turnout at our practices so far and the girls are all performing well. We may be a young team, but our middle school program has done a good job of preparing our upcoming freshmen.”