Photo courtesy of UTEP Athletics
Going into the 2022-2023 season, the UTEP soccer team is trying to improve and build some success this season, which starts with sophomore forward Justice Tillotson. She transferred from Michigan State University and joined the Miners soccer team in 2021.
For the 2021 season, the Miners soccer team finished with a 4-12 record, going 1-4 in conference play. Tillotson looks to be a reason for the soccer team’s improvement this upcoming season.
Justice comes from Rochester, Michigan and was captain of her high school varsity team. Tillotson was named to the District Finalist Team as a freshman in high school in 2017 after scoring 10 goals with five assists. Tillotson was named to the Regional Finalist Team as a sophomore and junior, having nine goals and 12 assists during her junior season in high school.
Tillotson was at Michigan State for two seasons before transferring to UTEP and explains her reason for departing from her former school. She only appeared in two matches for the Spartans before leaving the program.
“After a year of COVID and being with all those girls and hanging out together, I thought it was best that I change things up and find a new place to call my home and transfer here, because I knew one of the coaches and we had a long-standing relationship. So, I was excited, and it sounded fun,” Tillotson said.
When not on the soccer field, Tillotson is a big movie fanatic, and tries to improve her cooking skills when she finds free time.
“I love to watch movies. Cooking is a new thing I have been trying. It’s not been working very well so far, but definitely getting somewhere with that,” Tillotson said.”
Tillotson is inspired by a couple of professional soccer players.
“Rose Levelle is definitely somebody I look up to, and obviously everybody loves Alex Morgan. She has been everyone’s role model since they were kids. Rose Levelle is new, and brings a fresh flare to the game,” she said.
Tillotson talked about what it’s like living in El Paso compared to Michigan and the differences between the communities.
“I’d say that community-wise it is very different. I think El Paso is very tight-knit and has almost a family feeling to it. (It’s) where when you’re walking down the street, and they are like ‘hey how are you?’ Michigan it is not exactly the same,” she said. Everybody’s super full of joy, and the energy is always really high. (It’s) hard to be down when the sun is shining.”
Tillotson also discussed personal goals for the upcoming season.
“I would say it’s a stretch. I do want to score in every game. It’s a hard goal, but I want to reach that, and I would like to make first team All-Conference,” Tillotson concluded.
The Miners soccer team opens up the season in a scrimmage against Colorado College at 7 p.m. Aug. 10 at University Park.
Daniel Alec Lopez is the sports editor and can be reached at [email protected]