BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, January 21, 2013
After playing professionally in Sweden since 2009, Ryan Miller is making a return to MLS where he has signed with the Portland Timbers.
Miller, 28, turned professional in 2008 after a four year college career with Notre Dame. In 2008 and 2009 saw limited playing time with the Columbus Crew and DC United. During that time he was also loaned out to the defunct Cleveland City Stars who were then in the USL.
He then left MLS to sign with Ljungskile of Sweden's second tier, the Superettan. He impressed during his time and in 2010 transferred to Halmstad of Sweden's top division, the Allsvenskan.
Miller was a mainstay for Halmstad who were inconsistent during his years at the club. They were relegated to the Superettan in 2011 but just last season earned promotion back to the Allsvenskan.
For Miller, he was not looking specifically to move back to MLS but the offer to join Portland seemed like a good fit. The fact that the Timbers consistently draw big crowds and now have an offensive-minded coach in Caleb Porter were the key factors in his decision.
"My goal has always been to come back and play in the MLS," Miller told YA on Monday. "I didn't necessarily plan on making that move now, but the fit with the coach, organization and city was too perfect to pass up. Everyone knows the Portland fans have to be considered one of the best in the league. So for me, being able to play a style that fits me perfectly with a great group of guys in front of those fans, it was a no brainer."
The decision to leave Halmstad was difficult for the Barrington, Illinois native since the club was set to return to the Allsvenskan after earning promotion. Miller, however, was not confident that the club were prepared for the season ahead in Sweden's top flight and this weighed in his decision to leave.
"Of course it was [a tough decision]," Miller said of leaving Halmstad. "It certainly would have been nice to be able to enjoy the spoils of all the hard work from last year. But in all honesty, I don't think the club has done nearly enough in the offseason to be able to sustain playing in Allsvenskan. I hope I'm wrong, but we will see."
Miller and the Portland Timbers will open their season at home on March 3 against the New York Red Bulls.