Nashville SC

Local view: Eric Miller with Bridget McDowell of MLS Female

Nashville SC right back Eric Miller has bounced around quite a bit in his six-year pro career. Drafted by Montreal Impact, he played two years there before two and a half with Colorado Rapids, and just over a year with Minnesota United. He joins Nashville SC after spending the back half of 2019 with NYCFC, though he made only 11 appearances between those two teams.

To learn more about him, I asked Bridget McDowell who covers MNUFC for MLS Female about Miller, since that’s the club for which he most recently earned significant playing time (18 appearances in 2018 after a mid-season trade).

For Club and Country: What sort of player should NSC fans expect out of Miller?

Bridget McDowell: Miller is versatile, a role-player, willing and able to adapt. His play is not flashy – he’ll commit the occasional foul, lay his body on the line if absolutely necessary, but he’s often the guy you forget about, which is perfectly fine to see in a defender.

FCAC: He only got sparing minutes in his year-plus in Minneapolis. Was it just a case of hoping a hometown kid would come good and it didn’t happen?

BM: United brought him in as a versatile defensive depth piece in 2018 and he faced trial by fire immediately on arrival, filling in wherever a mobile body was needed along the backline. He was nursing some injuries so his numbers that season (13 starts, 1,145 minutes) were pretty good, all things considered. The Loons’ wholesale defensive upgrade saw him drop back in the depth chart — Chase Gasper quickly earned the starting role at left back when Calvo was jettisoned and Romain Metanire only missed minutes at right back when on international duty. The fact that Miller’s a Minnesota native raised everyone’s hopes of him rising up the ranks, but his impact was limited with the 2019 roster.

FCAC: Mid-season trades are obviously a little more rare. What made the Loons interested in parting with him during the Summer Window?

BM: The move was inevitable. It was pretty clear that Miller wasn’t going to get off the bench. He proved himself a perfectly capable defender for Minnesota in 2018 and in Colorado prior, so a trade meant the possibility of more minutes for him and a roster spot (albeit less veteran depth) and TAM for Minnesota.

FCAC: What sort of guy is he off the field?

BM: Kind, generous, easygoing, professional. Eric was one of a few regulars in the rotating groups of players who appeared at club and community events, including regular visits to the children’s hospitals in the metro. He’s also old-school when it comes to the post-game interviews. I remember the interview after his first appearance for the club in 2018. It was miserably hot and most players were either shirtless or sleeveless when the press came through, but Miller insisted on pulling on the polyester training shirt before facing a camera, even after PR told him it wasn’t required. “I like to stay on brand.”

Many thanks to Bridget for not only this Q&A, but also the Abu Danladi version of same. Check out her work – and the fantastic work of other women covering Major League Soccer – at MLSFemale.

Eric Miller photo courtesy Nashville SC.

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