Rough Rider Filip Mirkovic Breaks Pitt Assist Record

Written by Michael Lewis

Filip Mirkovic certainly has enjoyed quite a whirlwind journey over the past few months.

The Manhattan, N.Y. resident starred for the Long Island Rough Riders, played with the Wrexham Dragons in $1 million winner-take-all The Soccer Tournament, and has set a record at the University of Pittsburgh.


Mirkovic broke the men’s team’s assist record in the Panthers’ 3-1 comeback home win over Virginia Tech on Oct. 6. 

The senior midfielder’s corner kick set up the equalizing goal late in the match.

“It’s a huge accomplishment,” Mirkovic said. “I’m so happy. I was grateful, I was just so happy to win in the moment. You think about winning the games, you’re not really thinking about ‘Oh, I broke the record.’

“But after the game it hit me, when they mentioned that on the scoreboard. It was just an amazing feeling. I’m really happy because it’s something that I’m really good at and helping the team out in any way I can. The best way is me providing these assists.”

With the Panthers trailing Va. Tech 1-0 in the 78th minute, Mirkovic did what he did best, sending a corner kick into the box that Jackson Gillman headed home for a 1-1 deadlock.

“We work on that from set pieces from the training ground,” he said. “I became pretty confident my teammates know where they’re going end up. We got lucky enough to get a good header.”

The 6-2 Mirkovic has accrued a team-high nine assists this season.

The Panthers (5-4-2) started slowly but have picked up steam during the season in the Atlantic Coast Conference. In the most recent United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I poll that was released on Oct. 10, they were ranked 11th in the nation.

“It’s fantastic,” Mirkovic said. “We started off a little rough, losing two big games to Marshall and Georgetown. But that was very early in the season. We were still adapting to the new team that we have. We have 16 newcomers that joined us this year. It took a little while to get them on the same page as us with the system.

“We’ve made so much progress throughout these last few games. We’ve earned our spot back in the rankings. We’re in a very good spot right now. … We’re really starting to look dangerous.”

Mirkovic’s goal is to qualify for the NCAA tournament and then go from there.

“Now’s the time when things are getting serious,” he said. “All these wins, losses and draws add up and a lot can change quickly, game by game. You’ve got to make sure you’re ahead of the game and prepared for these circumstances that come along with whether it’s good or positive or negative. We’re on the right track for sure.”

His involvement with Wrexham certainly did not hurt raising Mirkovic’s profile a bit at Pittsburgh. After all, how often does a college student play with a team that represents the TV program, Welcome to Wrexham?

“There were a bunch of times people congratulated me about it and asked me about my experience,” Mirkovic said. “Even random people in my class. They hear the name; they know who I am on the soccer team. They check my Instagram, social media, they check it out. It’s been pretty cool.”

Mirkovic had to leave the Rough Riders prior to the USL League Two playoffs, but he said that he will always cherish his time with the team during his two-season tenure.

“I always will have a part of my heart that’s a Rough Rider, for sure,” he said. “The support I got from them, from Tom Bowen [head coach], from the whole staff, sending me to Wrexham, trusting me in the process. Getting me back for the second year to join them in the season, it’s a big thing. I really appreciate that.

“We had two seasons great seasons, great summers together. I did the best I could and did my job while I was there. I had to come early because Pittsburgh preseason starts earlier than a lot of other schools. I was already back here June 25, much earlier than everyone else, you know, I couldn’t go to the playoffs. I couldn’t finish the season correctly. But the amount of time that I was there was well spent and a lot of fun. The competition was great. The group of kids were great. Great players, great staff.”

A graduate of Lab High School for Collaborative Studies in Manhattan, Mirkovic still has a college season to finish. But he has set his sights on playing soccer after he graduates from school.

“I want to go pro – to professionals,” he said. “That’s my next step. That is my dream. It has been my dream forever. It’s always on my mind, and the next step will be the probably the MLS draft. I’m going to enter it and we’ll see where that goes from there.”

It would just be another step in what has become one unforgettable journey for Mirkovic.


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