The leading scorer in Bear soccer history, Christian’s speed and agility drew the interest of schools like NCAA Division II Lincoln Memorial University, NAIA nationally ranked Auburn-Montgomery as well as Milligan, King, Martin-Methodist and Tennessee Wesleyan.
He had also been contacted by Bryan College, but Christian didn’t really have much interest until on a recent trip to play in Dayton he had some extra time on his hands and decided to go by the campus just to see it.
He liked what he saw and heard from the Lions’ new coach, which convinced him that was the place for him.
“They have a winning program and I really liked Coach (Joey) Johnson’s plan for the program,” Christian explained. “It really made me want to be a part of it.”
Johnson, who had been an associate head coach under longtime Bryan coach Dr. Sandy Zensen from 2006-09, returned to take over the reins when Zensen retired at the end of last season after 22 years at the Lion helm.
Bryan has won the Appalachian Athletic Conference title three of the last four years and finished second last fall after entering the league tournament as the No. 4 seed.
“We lost five seniors and have a strong core coming back. We feel Miles fits perfectly into our program as a player and as a young man,” commented coach Johnson. The Lions finished last season with a 12-7-2 record.
“Coach Johnson said he felt like I could make an impact right away,” stated Christian, who has been playing soccer since he was 5 and started playing on “select teams” at the age of 8.
“The talent in select ball is so much better than just regular high school teams, because it is the best players from those teams,” he related. “I think having played select has helped me prepare for the college level, although I know I will have to adjust to the speed of college play.”
Speed hasn’t been a problem for the three-sport athlete as his quickness and agility have shown forth while playing for the Bear basketball and soccer teams.
This past fall, he used his strong leg to help the Bradley football team with a very high percentage of his kickoffs sailing into the end zone.
“Miles is without a doubt one of the fastest players on the field and even on the football team he was right up there with (Justin) Houston and (James) Stovall, as one of the fastest,” remarked Bear soccer coach Tucker Blackmon.
“I first saw Miles his freshman year during the girls’ season (fall) when some of the boys would hang around and kick goals during halftime and after games,” Blackmon added. “I saw him doing some tricks with the ball. I went over to him and asked if he was going to play and he told me yes. He has stood out ever since.”
Christian made the All-District and All-Region teams each of years at Bradley and earned All-State honors last season (this year’s teams have yet to be named).
Early this season, Christian took over the unofficial (because records from the early years of BCHS soccer were not kept) lead in career goals, with his current mark sitting at 69.
He’s matched last year’s mark with 28 goals, plus has dished off seven assists, as the 8-6 Bears head into the final week of the regular season and the postseason tournament.
On the basketball court, Christian was a two-year varsity letterman, helping to lead Bradley to the TSSAA substate playoff this past season as one of the team captains.
“I have really enjoyed playing all the sports here at Bradley. It’s going to be a big difference just playing one sport,” Christian remarked. “With the success and talent level of all of our sports here, it made the transition from one to another easy.”
“Being able to concentrate on one sport will help Miles reach his potential. He will grow by leaps and bounds as a (soccer) player,” commented coach Johnson.
“Miles has that killer instinct for the goal,” added coach Blackmon. “He has a strong competitive drive. A nose for the goal. A lot of players shy away from high pressure situations, but not Miles. That’s when he plays harder and faster.”
“Skill wise, he has a tremendous shot. Very powerful, Very accurate,” the Bear coach continued. “He plays with a great sense of urgency. All he needs is a six-inch opening and he’ll blow by a defender and get off a shot.”
Christian not only shines on the athletic field, but in the classroom as well, posting a 3.87 grade point average, placing him 32nd in his graduating class of more than 400. He is a Tennessee Scholar, a Bear Scholar and a Gold Honor Roll member.
“He’s the ‘whole package’ — tremendous athlete, great student and a great young man,” praised coach Johnson. “We’re glad he chose to come be a part of our program at Bryan.”