National Letter of Intent day came and went this year with a good group of boys and girls from Minnesota signing letters to play for Division I and II schools. However, a verbal commitment was also made to Creighton University (Division I) from one of Minnesota’s brightest up and coming soccer stars that was not reported.
Eric Miller, who has played for the Minnesota Thunder Academy for 3 years and who plays his school soccer at Woodbury High School, only verbally commitment to Creighton University. Because Miller is still a junior that’s all he can do at this point. The young man was sought after by some of the better Division I schools in the country.
“The time table seems to be stepped up with soccer,” said a well-spoken Miller. “The top kids in football seem to decide in their senior year, but soccer seems to have upped it. They are recruiting kids who are younger and getting kids to commit earlier.”
Miller says he thinks the reason is so many students are graduating earlier and plans on doing the same thing himself. He says he is on track to have enough credits to graduate after next fall and will start classes at Creighton by this time next year.
Miller, who holds a 3.86 grade average, was recruited by numerous schools, but the colleges he was most interested in and seriously considered beside Creighton were Wake Forest, Indiana, Northwestern and Butler.
Eric Miller has been a name that soccer coaches have been talking about for several years. While Miller’s attacking qualities are what have gotten people to notice, he is also a very good two-way player which is unusual at his age. The high school junior says he is the youngest of three children in a family that is very athletic: “My dad was a 3-sport athlete and my sister was a dance team captain,” said Miller. “My brother was a track and cross country captain.”
Miller has excelled for his club and ODP teams. He has been on the Minnesota ODP team from 2006-2010 and has made the regional team each of those years as well. He captained the Region II ’93 (2008-2009) team and has made it to several interregional teams and international teams, playing in both Spain in 2008 and Argentina in 2009. He has been selected again to attend the interregional team this year which he will be attending in late March. “We are going to Italy, Austria and Germany in a 10-day trip that is going to be just unbelievable,” said an excited Miller.
This past year, Miller was one of only two Minnesotans selected to attended the 2009 Adidas Elite Select Program (ESP) program along with Paul Yonga. ESP is a personal-invitation-only event where the very brightest talent in the US is selected to attend.
Miller, who’s been a three year starter for Woodbury High School, also made the Pioneer Press All State Team in 08 and 09. He was leading scorer in his conference in 2008 and made the Star Tribune all conference team in 2009. He also was selected for the MSHSSCA All State team for 2009 and made the MSHSL’s All State Tournament Team as well.
Greg Holker, Mens’ Soccer Coach at Augsburg College, is Miller’s ODP coach and has nothing but praise for the young man: “Eric is one of the best players to come out of Minnesota – certainly one of the best I have seen,” said Holker. “He is capable in so many ways, and he is a good student of the game. He’s really clean on the ball and he can strike it well. He’s capable of going at players on the dribble, his defending is solid, and he’s good in the air. He has so many great qualities that where he is best on the field is probably yet to be solved. He’s done very well out wide or as a fullback, but is also good at center back and is capable up front. I believe he will have a significant impact at Creighton and in Division I soccer.”
“I really like the continuousness of soccer,” said Miller as he explained why he loves the sport so much. “The flow of the game is so unbelievable sometimes, compared to other sports that are so stop-and-go. The game is so unpredictable and so much fun to play because it’s always changing – so you’re always improving and always learning new things about the game.”
If Miller ends up attending the Nebraska college, he will follow in the footsteps of a former Woodbury high school teammate, Brent Kallman. Kallman as a freshman played 13 games this past season for Creighton, staring 7 of those. Andrei Gotsmanov was another Minnesota soccer player who was a star for Creighton and was drafted in the 2009 MLS draft by the New England Revolution.