Colin Miller can rest easy now knowing he has put in the work.
The C. Milton Wright grad became the starting goalkeeper for the Providence men’s soccer team as a junior in 2016 and after his redshirt senior season this past fall, he earned a coveted invitation to the 2019 Major League Soccer Player Combine this past week in Orlando, Fla., in advance of Friday’s MLS SuperDraft.
One of 60 invitees, and one of seven goalies, Miller’s approach to the week-long showcase was the same as what helped get him there: Be prepared, keep it simple and enjoy the experience.
After making a fine impression with a number of sparkling saves in the two 11 vs. 11 games his team won by shutout at the combine, he headed home to Bel Air on Thursday to spend time with his family and find out what his future might hold. The first two rounds of the draft will be held Friday starting at 1 p.m., with the third and fourth rounds taking place via conference call at a later date.
“Friday, I’ll watch it all play out with my family having an open mind and open heart, looking forward to what’s next,” Miller said. “I’m optimistic about getting an opportunity from the combine, but if it doesn’t come, I’ll look to continue my playing career at the [United Soccer League] level or elsewhere.”
Providence has a tradition of grooming quality goalkeepers with Chris Konopka in 2007 becoming the first of three from the program to be selected in the MLS draft. Miller hopes to become the latest.
He didn’t become a Friars starter until after the beginning of the 2016 season, but once given the opportunity, he took firm hold of the position. That year, Providence reached the NCAA tournament quarterfinals with a memorable 5-4 comeback win at Maryland, which came into the game undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the country, and a 2-1 win over Creighton.
The following summer, Miller played for Detroit City FC, which competes in the National Premier Soccer League and had crowds up to 5,000 for home games. Miller said he views that year as pivotal in setting up his chance for a soccer playing career.
“My junior season, getting out and making an impact on the field and then the environment over the summer in Detroit — I got to train, learned to eat right and take care of my body, play games and get better in the professional environment,” he said. “I just loved the process.”
At 6 feet 3 and 190 pounds, Miller is a dominant presence who has good command of the penalty area. His game sense rarely leaves him out of position and his calm demeanor provides a steady influence. This season for the Friars, he started all 19 games with nine shutouts and a 1.06 goals-against average.
“He was with us for five years, so quite a significant time,” Providence coach Craig Stewart said. “From the start, what we saw from him as a recruit with the upside and the potential he showed to now, where he has got to and the opportunity he has currently — I think it’s a pretty good story and credit to him for the work he put in.”
Just like Miller followed other successful goalkeepers at Providence, the same held true at C. Milton Wright. There, it came from within the family. After Miller closed his high school career in 2013 by leading the Mustangs to their first state tournament appearance since 2000, his younger brother, Ryan, took over in goal the following year and led the team to the program’s first state title during his senior year in 2017. Ryan is in the middle of his freshman year at St. John’s University and Colin is proud to see his brother following his lead in the net.
“Ryan is great,” Colin said. “Growing up, he was someone that I was always around and could train with and someone I could fall back on. He leaned on me and I leaned on him through all the ups and downs of our careers. Stuff like when we’d have rough games or come out on the wrong side of close games, or when we’d have really good games — we’re kind of a sounding board for each other.”