PHILADELPHIA — With the 2015 MLS SuperDraft held in Philadelphia, Thursday, Woodbury native and 2011 Bishop Eustace Prep grad Tyler Miller felt the hometown brotherly love, even if he spent most of the day in airports and airplanes around the country flying to Norfolk, Va. for his older brother’s wedding this weekend.
The Seattle Sounders FC traded for the pick they used to select the National Soccer Coaches Association of America second-team All-American goalkeeper who just completed his playing career at Northwestern University this past fall as the school’s all-time leader in career shutouts with 36.
Seattle chose Miller 33rd overall after acquiring the pick in a deal for future considerations with the New England Revolution.
“It's a great honor to be drafted by a top class organization such as Seattle,” Miller exclusively told South Jersey Sports Digest on Thursday after touching down in Virginia. “I would like to thank my family. Without them I wouldn’t be the player, and more importantly the person I am today. I also have to thank Northwestern for the opportunities it gave me. And finally I want to thank the Seattle Sounders FC organization for giving me this opportunity.”
Seattle’s head coach, Sigi Schmid thinks his team got a steal at that point of the draft.
“We thought Tyler Miller was a very, very good young goalkeeper, and for him to still be on the board at that time we were very pleased with that,” said Schmid, who guided his team to the 2014 Western Conference finals before falling to the eventual MLS Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy. “Miller is a guy that can certainly be part of our goalkeeper corps, especially with us losing Josh Ford, so we needed to find a third goalkeeper and I think he fulfills that. He’s a young one that has great potential.”
Sounders FC General Manager and President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey said the team was very impressed with the Woodbury native and did what they needed to do so they could acquire the services of the 6-foot-4 keeper who was also a first-team NSCAA Academic All-American — the first in Northwestern program history. He’s also the only player in Division I to earn both All-America and Scholar All-America honors.
“Our second pick, Tyler Miller from Northwestern, is the goalkeeper we rated most highly, a big kid who we think has a bright future,” Lagerwey said. “We flipped picks with Real Salt Lake in addition to giving them money, took Roldan, then flipped back up with New England. If Miller is with us, as we think and hope he will be, then we think that is a fair exchange.”
That’s an interesting “if” though.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Miller, who played his youth soccer for Pittsgrove SC in Salem County, headed overseas to Germany in pursuit of furthering his soccer career. In making that decision, he skipped the MLS Draft Combine, despite being one of 55 players invited.
“You have some risk in Miller in terms of whether or not he comes back, but I think long-term it’s a good investment. He’s (playing and working out with a club team) in Germany right now, we’ll see if he comes back. Given the need for a third keeper it was a worthwhile risk to take.”
EDITOR'S NOTE: We’ll have more from South Jersey product Tyler Miller as he talked about Germany, his decision to skip the MLS Combine, his travels in the past week and about his experiences playing soccer in South Jersey. Look for our follow up story on the Bishop Eustace product later this weekend. PLUS: We'll have other stories from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Convention as we caught up with Delran legend Peter Vermes who is the head coach of Sporting KC of MLS, Vineland's Jillian Loyden, Rowan and Clearview product Maria Dorris and more.
Mike Shute is the Lead Content Editor at South Jersey Sports Digest. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org