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SFP soccer star fulfills dream to play with Red Storm

TimesLedger Newspapers

For Eric Mirkov, there was always one school above the rest.

The St. Francis Prep senior has been attending St. John’s men’s soccer games and camps since he was 8 and his mother Lilly is an alumna of the school. Mirkov’s room is filled with Red Storm memorabilia.

“Everything I own from a college is just St. John’s,” he said.

Mirkov will get plenty of use out of it and even more stuff in the future as he signed a national letter of intent Feb. 6 to play soccer for the Red Storm next season. It completes a lifelong dream and gives his family a chance now to come to Belson Stadium to watch him play. He joins fellow Queens-native Danny Bedoya, of Francis Lewis, who was a freshman at St. John’s last season.

“St. John’s was always my No. 1 choice, and when it came around there was no turning back for me,” Mirkov said. “This is where I wanted to be.”

But he almost didn’t get the chance.

Mirkov’s soccer trainer Ernest Inneh phoned St. John’s assistant Coach Jeff Matteo late in the season and asked if he would take a second look at Mirkov. He watched him play during a CHSAA Class AA Intersectional semifinal loss to Fordham Prep and later at a club game at the Metropolitan Oval. The Red Storm saw enough.

“If it wasn’t for him I probably wouldn’t be going to St. John’s,” Mirkov said of Inneh.

Knowing Matteo, who he watched as a player and was trained by as a youngster at camps, was watching didn’t make Mirkov nervous. He didn’t let the thought that this was his chance to impress his dream school get to him. He trusted his talent and his Terrier teammates.

“I just knew if my teammates played well and I play well and I play as a team player, I would do fine,” Mirkov said.

The All-Queens first team selection by TimesLedger Newspapers has been a key cog for St. Francis Prep. Known for his loyalty and team-first approach, he chose to play with the Terriers last season instead of his Albertson Academy team.

The Terriers offense ran through the highly skilled and smart midfielder. Mirkov had three goals and eight assists last year and 15 goals and a St. Francis Prep record 29 assists for his career. Mirkov believes he will be comfortable in St. John’s defensive style.

In his mind it’s where he belongs.

“Everything looks good because it’s home,” Mirkov said.

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