Player Spotlight: Tyler Miller, ‘It’s a dream come true’

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

From playing with Seattle’s USL side, Seattle Sounders 2, to traveling cross-country with the U.S. Men’s National Team – the journey has been a dream come true for LAFC’s goalkeeper Tyler Miller.

Inspired by his brothers, the Woodbury native found his passion for the game through some friendly brotherly rivalry:

“I got into soccer because my brothers […] played soccer as well as we were growing up. So for me, it was an opportunity to kinda be like them and I always looked up them growing up. I wanted to do everything that they were doing. So soccer was the big thing. That was my main thing, we were able to bond – have fun together.”

After tending goal at Northwestern and a short stint in the German fourth division, Miller arrived in Seattle to support the established starter, Stefan Frei.

Miller was selected with the first pick of the 2017 MLS Expansion Draft on December 12, 2017. He made his club debut on March 4 – along with his first clean sheet against his former team.

“{When] I moved out to LA last year, it was a good transition. I got my first opportunity to play. It’s been good so far.”

And that it has.

Life for Miller in Los Angeles has been different. He lives in Santa Monica now and enjoys hanging out with fellow teammate and neighbor, Walker Zimmerman. There are fewer rainy days and less uncertainty about his preparation every week.

Earlier this year, he inked his first keeper glove deal with West Coast Goalkeeping – a Seattle-based company Miller developed a “bond” with while with the Sounders – receiving the opportunity to take part in designing his own keeper glove, the Quantum Miller Pro – with a small keychain version to match.

“Over the past couple of years, we’ve been working on a pair of gloves for myself. And to be able to launch that is exciting – I see all these little kids now; its like they’re wearing my gloves which is just awesome.”

So far this season, Tyler has recorded: 18 matches. 1,620 minutes. 47 saves. 12 victories. Six shutouts – to be exact.

And his work with the Black-and-Gold hasn’t gone unnoticed as the 26-year-old keeper received his first senior team camp call-up in January – though he wasn’t selected for a game-day roster.

Six months later, he was called up once again. This time, Miller would jet off to training and appear on the bench for both of the USMNT’s friendlies against Venezuela and Jamaica – then earned a spot on the final 2019 Gold Cup roster.

“It’s an amazing feeling. I mean to think about where I was a year and a half ago, wasn’t even playing for Seattle and now I’m starting for LA. To be here now with this amazing team, part of this Gold Cup roster is something I’ve always dreamt about. So it’s a dream come true to be a part of this team.”

Even though Miller remained on the bench throughout the tournament, it was an experience he’ll never forget – telling reporters upon returning to LAFC, he is “grateful” for the opportunity.

Since returning to the club from international duty, Miller appeared back in goal in the 3-1 win over Houston Dynamo on July 12. And again, seven days later for the fourth installment of El Tráfico.

Motivated by his family, Miller is also known for his philanthropic events as he hosted the second annual ‘Tyler Miller’s Beach Soccer Tournament Fundraiser’ this year to benefit the Austin Everett Foundation – an organization that aims to empower kids in their fight against cancer through the strength and support of athletic teams.

“[It] runs in my family and so that was something that motivated me to really just try and take that initiative and do whatever I can. Because I know how difficult it is for families that have cancer. And so being able to help them in any way I can; in any way possible is really important to me.”

Over 100 fans attended the event where Miller, along with teammates Dejan Jaković, Tristan Blackmon, and Walker Zimmerman, coached four teams in a beach soccer tournament. Along with the tournament, the event also hosted a silent auction with autographed items donated by Miller’s friends and teammates – to help raise additional funds for the foundation.

Aside from planning future fundraisers – Miller has appeared on LAFC’s podcasts and various shows on Youtube, two of which were started by his teammates: Steven Beitashour, Jordan Harvey and Zimmerman. When asked if he has considered joining the podcast community; Miller expressed his interest to be on TV: “I’m hoping to get on TV one day. But I’m taking my time.”

I have no doubt Miller will be on television one day, but for now, LAFC has captured the nation and fans nationwide will have a chance to watch Tyler and his teammates this Friday night, as they host Atlanta United at the Banc of California stadium. The match will air on ESPN at 7 pm PST.

Featured Image: Daisy Jimenez

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Aracelv1

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

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