Miller rides career turnaround into USMNT invite

RyanMiller Photo (Ljg) 

BY ADAM SERRANO

Ryan Miller's name isn't one many would have expected to receive a U.S. national team call-up a month ago, but considering how far he has come in his career over the past two years, nothing should come as too much of a surprise.

Miller is currently in camp with the United States ahead of the January 22nd friendly with Chile at the Home Depot Center. After a disappointing start to his career in MLS, Miller found success in Sweden, which led to his surprising call-up. He joins a camp where no player holds more than 7 caps for the U.S. national team. The camp may be made up of many new faces, but Miller's inclusion was still a surprise to many, including himself.

"It's a dream come true and its great to play with a group like this. I'm soaking everything in and learning as much as I can," said Miller. "It makes it a lot easier that this is my  first camp, if you were walking in with the World Cup squad, you'd be intimidated, but everyone here is in the same situation so we're all having fun with it."

The Illinois native was a star for Notre Dame finishing his career with 86 straight starts for the Fighting Irish, a school record. Miller's success at Notre Dame led to him being drafted by the Columbus Crew in the third round of the 2008 MLS Draft ahead of players like Geoff Cameron and Brandon McDonald. Unfortunately for Miller, he did not experience success in MLS as he bounced around the league playing for the Crew and D.C. United, making zero appearances in league play. Miller's career in MLS ended after being waived by D.C. United in March of 2009. 

After his stint with MLS, Miller headed East, to Sweden where he joined Swedish Superettan — second division — side Ljungskile SK. After impressing with Ljungskile, Miller joined Halmstads BK of the Allsvenskan where he has appeared in 26 matches for the Swedish first division club while battling a nagging knee injury for most of the season.

U.S. head coach Bob Bradley is no stranger to Miller, having seen him play a few ages above his son Michael on the Chicago Sockers youth club.

"Last year he established himself as a player who played week in and week out. He's an athletic outside back with good speed," said Bradley. "Now I just need to see how far he's come in all these years. There are some good starting points, just in terms of his mentality on the field and his athleticism and the fact that I think his time in Sweden has helped him."

Miller will have his opportunity to show Bradley how far that he has come in the last year during Saturday's match against Chile. The right back has performed admirably during camp and looks likely to play a role off the bench against the South American team. To have the opportunity to state his case for the national team shows just how far Miller has come in the last few years.

The fleet attacking right back feels that much of his recent ascension in his professional and national team career is due to his ability to get back on the field. During his brief time in MLS, Miller was forced to the bench behind MLS veterans like Frankie Hejduk and Bryan Namoff before eventually departing for Scandinavia.Through all the recent trials, Miller harbors no ill will towards MLS or those who were placed in front of him. He remains just a player looking to make the most of his recent shot at success. 

"To be honest, it was just about getting an opportunity. As a young player, I was behind some great players so there is no hard feelings on that because they deserve it," said Miller. "It was just about me finding the right opportunity, but I found it and now I'm here so I'm really happy about it."

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32 Responses to Miller rides career turnaround into USMNT invite

  1. Primoone says:

    Would be great to see him get some minutes.

  2. Bill in Md. says:

    Go Irish! Great to see Ryan do well

    in Sweden and in gaining the USMNT

    callup.

  3. Oranje says:

    if only the U18s would follow in everyone elses footsteps and stopped inviting the same kids over and over and over and over again.

  4. Jimmy Bobo says:

    I think this kid has a really positive attitude. For him, starting in the Swedish second division was the right move. I guess it is all about finding a club where you can get some playing time and then moving up the ladder if you deserve it. Other players could learn from Ryan Miller.

  5. Brad says:

    too bad (for him and the USA) that he’s not a left back…

  6. Alex G says:

    Let’s see how he copes on saturday against Chile, Good luck to Ryan.

  7. evan says:

    yes, why is it that in this nation of millions we have 100′s of right backs and no left backs, except Bornstein and Pearce and maybe Dunivant???

  8. Colin says:

    *cough*ADU*cough*

  9. Jimmy Bobo says:

    Yes, of course, I was always thinking of the one whose name I dare not utter. Nevertheless, you deciphered the true meaning of the post.

  10. EN says:

    -A worn jersey
    -Words spoken in hatred
    -Ritual fire

    Someone cursed the spot (He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named) and the only way to free it again is to find the Chosen One and kill this evil wizard (of sorts…at least he had the hair of an evil wizard for a time…)

  11. Felix says:

    Jonthan Spector, Eric Lichaj, and Ryan Miller – the Chicagoland area have produced some good right backs.

    Throw in legend Brian McBride and the future starting ‘keeper for the national team, Brad Guzan, we’re doing our part for the Nats!

  12. evan says:

    Jeff Agoos?

  13. Colin says:

    Southern California (particularly LA area) has Chicago beat. LD, Boca, Conrad, Bornstein, Edu, Eddie Lewis, MB, Benny, Sacha, Rogers, Rimando, Wynalda, etc.

  14. Brad says:

    texas can field a good team too…

  15. The Second Gunman on the Grassy Knoll says:

    If by MB you’re referring to Michael Bradley, then you’ve been misinformed. Jersey born and spent his later years in Chicago. Yes, the Poppa Bradley and the family lives out there now, but I wouldn’t credit MB’s skills/development to SoCal.

  16. Chris says:

    Um… I’ll just say this before Ives does, but New Jersey would probably beat all of them with Josmer and Rossi up top, Tim Howard in goal, Eddie Gavin and Baby Sweats in the midfield.

  17. Chris says:

    I think a Cali/NJ match would be awesome.

  18. jonk says:

    Seriously. If the Cosmos want to put on an “inspiration” match, they could do far worse than a Cali-NJ grudge match.

  19. StevenG says:

    I think the jury is still out on Lichaj as a good right back.

  20. AJ says:

    Ryan was a left back in Sweden this year for half the season……

  21. Chris says:

    I think he’s our number two right now, behind Cherundolo. I wouldn’t exactly call that the jury being out. He shut down Gareth Bale, and I think he’s the only defender in the PL to force him to switch sides. Sure, he had a crap game after that (against ManCity) and got benched by his idiot manager, but I think we’ve seen enough to realize that the kid has got some talent.

  22. Jamie Z. says:

    I still think Lichaj has a future for club and country, it just may not be with Villa. Houllier seems to have made an example of him (undeservedly), and it sure seems to me Houllier has the backing of the board until he does something awful. Unfortunately, Kyle Walker looks to be a stud, and if his loan deal is made permanent at the end of the season, Lichaj may find himself looking for a new club.

  23. Rainstpub says:

    OK Ives, I have a good idea for you. Although you may have done this, all-time teams for areas, ie chicago, NY, NJ, LA ( and no, not the entire region of southern california, be more specific).

    I think you would have some great posts, good arguements, and a huge list of players many of us have forgotten about.

    Anyone else up for that?

  24. ThaDeuce says:

    Okay, which one is miller in the photo? Never heard of him.

  25. Oranje says:

    We have 100′s of right backs? Where are they all hiding?

  26. Matt says:

    “To be honest, it was just about getting an opportunity. As a young player, I was behind some great players so there is no hard feelings on that because tehy deserve it,” said Miller. “It was just about me finding the right opportunity, but I found it and now I’m here so I’m really happy about it.”

    If only more US athletes, in any sport, had this kind of positive attitude. Good on him.

    PS – Ives how easy is it for US players to make a jump like this? Can any out of contract ex-college player trial for a D-2 squad in Sweden or are there work permit issues?

  27. Rainstpub says:

    The one on the right

  28. Lubbock Utd. says:

    If you’re not good enough for MLS why are you on the USMNT? Imagine if USA Basketball was looking at American minor league players in Mexico or China. This guy makes no sense.

  29. Joamiq says:

    He’s done this

  30. Mike says:

    Like most people from Lubbock, you make no sense. Scandinavian leagues are as good and in some cases better than MLS. We’ve had several USNT players come from the Scandinavian leagues.

    You must be a life long TTU student, rarely knows what the heck they’re talking about.

    Enjoy the plateau.