The Seattle Sounders took a bit of a gamble when they traded Sean Okoli to the New England Revolution in order to move up in the draft order and select Northwestern goalkeeper Tyler Miller. Although Miller was considered one of the top goalkeepers in the draft, he came with a risk: He skipped the combine in order to trial in Germany.
As it turns out, Miller's trial went reasonably well and he signed with fourth-division club SVN Zweibrucken. Based on the other goalkeepers on Zweibrucken's roster, it looks like Miller should see plenty of playing time. But we also wanted to get Miller's perspective on the whole situation, so we reached out to him with a few questions over email. Here are his answers:
How much contact have you had with the Sounders since being drafted?
I've had numerous conversations with Sigi Schmid, Garth Lagerwey, and [goalkeepers coach] Tom Dutra since the draft day. We spoke almost everyday about the Sounders and my opportunities with the club as well as Germany.
How did being drafted by the Sounders affect your decision-making process?
The Sounders are one of the elite clubs in the MLS and it made my decision very difficult. I was very excited when I heard they had drafted me, and I had to talk with my family a lot about what the best decision would be.
Have you left the door open, even mentally, for potentially signing with the Sounders at a later date?
I left things open with the Sounders. I will be in Germany until the summer and then weigh my options at that point. I am going to focus on finishing out the second half of the season with SVN Zweibrucken, then see what happens in the summer but returning to the Sounders is a definite possibility that I am very excited about. [Editor's note: Zweibrucken's season ends in late May and Miller could potentially start training with the Sounders immediately after. He'd likely have to wait until the summer MLS transfer to open on July 7 or the USL Pro window to open on July 15 before he could suit up.]
What can you tell us about your new team?
SVN Zweibrucken is a small club located in Zweibrucken (population: about 34,000). We play in the Regionalliga Southwest in the German fourth division. They brought in several new players in the winter transfer market so currently we are trying to build chemistry with more than a month left in preseason before our next regular season game.
What was the most attractive thing about playing in Germany?
The most attractive thing for me was the possibility of gaining exposure in the European market. There are tons of teams all throughout Europe and scouts constantly watching games so the opportunity to move up can happen quickly. I am excited to see what happens this summer.