Timbers U-23s defender Eric Miller has a summer to remember

U-23s Eric Miller Kitsap Pumas

PORTLAND, Ore. – It was a summer to remember for Portland Timbers U-23s defender/midfielder Eric Miller. Far from home or the comforts of his Creighton campus, Miller split a busy summer with the Timbers U-23s and the U.S. U-20 National Team in 2012, making many lasting memories.

Miller capped the summer with a call-up to the U.S. U-20 National Team, as he was named to head coach Tab Ramos’ 18-man roster for the prestigious Northern Ireland Milk Cup July 21-26. It was one of three national team call-ups for Miller in 2012.

“For me, playing in the Milk Cup was a pretty incredible experience,” Miller said. “From the opening game until the last game it was a fantastic experience and I think as an individual and as a team we all improved and took a lot out it.”

Miller, a native of Woodbury, Minn., appeared in three matches in the Milk Cup, starting two games at right back, as the U.S. U-20 National Team faced Denmark, Turkey and Chile during the tournament. The U.S. U-20s followed a 1-0 loss to Denmark with a win over Turkey. The Americans then lost 4-3 to Chile in the third-place match. The Northern Ireland Milk Cup is an annual, invitational youth tournament, contested by top teams from around the world.

When not on national team duty, Miller helped the Timbers U-23s to a successful 2012 campaign in the Premier Development League (PDL). The Timbers U-23s finished in second place in the Northwest Division and qualified for the playoffs.

In his first season with the Timbers U-23s, Miller played in six regular-season matches, logging 540 minutes and scoring a goal. He also scored the team’s first appearance in the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Miller missed the month of June while on national team duty, as the U.S. U-20 National Team held a training camp and participated in a South American tour.

“The main thing I will take away from my summer of 2012 is just a number of really great experiences and great friends I've made,” Miller explained. “In Portland, I got to experience a whole new part of the country and a whole new passion for soccer that I've never seen before. With the U-20s, I just got to improve and play at a level I have never played at before with some awesome players, and I also made some great friends.”

With his summer in the books, Miller now turns his attention to his sophomore season as Creighton University this fall. The Bluejays are looking to build upon a standout 2011 campaign that propelled them to the semifinals of the NCAA tournament last season.