Logan Miller, whose prolific scoring record helped propel the Kitsap Pumas to their second consecutive Premier Development League (PDL) Northwest Divisional Title last season, made the jump to the United Soccer League (USL) earlier this week by signing with Wilmington Hammerheads FC.
Although the Hammerheads struggled to find results last season finishing in last place in the Eastern Conference of the USL with a record of 3-15-10, with the addition of dynamic, powerful players such as Miller they are sure to be more competitive this coming season.
While Miller was initially used by the Kitsap coaching staff as a substitute in the midfield to help grind out results in tough games, he assumed a more consistent role once he was moved to center forward towards the end of the season.
“At first I was just a role player for the team,” said Miller. “Our midfield was playing really well and we were getting results so it was tough for me to break into the starting eleven. But we weren’t scoring a ton of goals and the coaches decided I could help make a bigger impact for the team up front instead. After training in that position for a couple weeks I got my chance.”
In total, Miller appeared in 12 games for the Pumas scoring 6 goals and adding 3 assists en route to leading Kitsap to an undefeated PDL regular season. His outstanding scoring record towards the end of the season earned him both PDL Team of the Week and PDL Team of the Week Honorable Mention honors.
“Once I started playing up front scoring goals and creating chances came easy for me,” said Miller. “We had such quality players at every position that always seemed to find me in dangerous areas. My teammates and the instruction I received from the coaches made it an easy transition for me.”
While Miller’s performance certainly helped the Pumas to be successful in the win category, especially once he was moved up front, it was the growth he experienced from adapting to a new role that he appreciated most.
“The level of play at training, day in and day out was extremely high,” said Miller. “Even when I wasn’t getting many minutes at the beginning of the season the level of training allowed me to keep developing and stay sharp so that when I did get to play I was ready.”
However after suffering a serious injury towards the end of the season he had to finish the year playing on a broken foot. Following the Pumas loss in the Western Conference Semifinal to FC Tucson Miller took some time away from the game to repair his injury.
After recovering from surgery he was asked to sign with Wilmington.
“Last year [Wilmington] had a tough season and as a result they had a few more roster spots open up for this year,” said Miller. “When they offered me a contract I was completely taken by surprise. It is so tough to get your foot in the door in the USL and I feel so fortunate to have this opportunity.”
As Miller moves on to test his ability at the next level he credits his time at Kitsap, especially the instruction he received from the coaching staff, for preparing him for this coming opportunity.
“The coaching staff was very good at relaying what it takes to be a true pro,” said Miller. “They always demanded a very quick speed of play, and emphasized what it takes both on and off the field to have a successful career. I am ready to get to work and see what I can do at a higher level.”
Although our Puma faithful will surely miss watching Miller challenge for headers and cause problems for opposing defenses this next season, it is a true testament to the club as they have helped push another player on to play at a higher level.