Kyle Miller is an outstanding goalkeeper at Boerne Champion, who are having a successful season in 2020. Boerne-Champion is currently 11-1-1, have given up only 11 goals, with six clean sheets and are ranked 50th in the state. Kyle also spent last summer and fall with the UPSL’s (United Premier Soccer League) San Antonio Runners, a semi-professional team that is full of college and aspiring professional soccer players. Having played at a much higher level for his age, Kyle learned a lot and has brought it back to the Boerne-Champion soccer team. Kyle took some time to answer some questions from the Soy_SAF staff.
How old where you when you started playing soccer and what was the first team you played for?
I started playing club soccer at age 8. I lived in Florida at the time and played for my local soccer club, Indian River Soccer Association. I focused full time on the goalkeeper position starting at age 10 and have played in goal ever since.
Who is your mentor or biggest influence when it comes to playing soccer?
I would say my biggest mentors have been my coaches at the Runners, Scott and Mason, and my high school coach, Coach Tierney. The coaches at the Runners have challenged me in so many ways but also encourage me. They have helped me not only improve my skill as a keeper, but also my strength as a leader. I can tell they truly care about me and that makes me want to work even harder for them. Champion’s Coach Tierney is a very strategic coach and he expects nothing but excellence from me and the team. The specific game strategy coaching he provides me and our team is spot on. He calls out our individual and position areas of improvement but also gives us a clear plan to improve them. He has helped me think way more strategically about the game and my role on the field.
Who is your favorite player and why?
My favorite player is definitely Manuel Neuer with Bayern Munich. He’s basically my same size and build and he’s also athletic and aggressive. He doesn’t do all the flashy dives and acrobatic saves as some of the other keepers but he plays smart and strong in and out of the box. In my club in Florida, my coaches played me in the keeper sweeper position and modeled my play after Neuer’s style.
Who is your favorite team?
Honestly, I don’t really have a favorite team right now but I do enjoy watching EPL. When we lived in Florida, we were big fans of the Orlando City Lions starting when they were in the USL. We used to tailgate as a family before matches and there was always a pick up game in the tailgate area. Those were fun memories of being a fan.
Besides playing goalkeeper is there any other position you play?
For fun, sometimes my club coaches put me in as forward when we were up by several goals, but no…I’m a goalkeeper.
What has been some of the keys to your’s and Boerne Champion’s success this season?
Our team at Champion this year is solid. The team chemistry is great and there aren’t any selfish egos on the squad. We have worked a lot on playing it out of the back this year and that forces all of us to think more about our field vision and improve our individual touches and passing skills. My team relies on me to do my job in goal and I expect the same from them on the field, but we also encourage each other and celebrate improvement. I think Coach Tierney has equipped us to be great, now we just have to show that we can be with our record
What was your experience like playing for the SA Runners in the UPSL?
I have improved as a goalkeeper and field leader more in the last season with the Runners than I have in the previous four or five seasons on other teams. Playing against grown men and experienced college level players has elevated my game and required me to focus more on fundamentals and less on my size and aggressive style of play. It was difficult at first to step up and be a leader with guys 5 or 6 years older than me, but those guys are true competitors and expect a lot from me. The coaches are invested in the team culture and we take that pretty seriously. We don’t compromise.
What are your plans after high school? Are you planning to play in college or go pro?
That’s up to God, but I would definitely like to play at the collegiate level and I’m actively in the recruiting process with schools in Texas and Florida. I’m also open to other opportunities to play at an even higher level if they present themselves but right now I’m focused on the success of Champion H.S. soccer and the SA Runners.
What advice would you give kids looking to play Varsity High School soccer?
I know for my varsity team, you have to earn your spot each week. It doesn’t matter if you have seniority, how much your parents support the team, or how many trophies you have from your club experience. Varsity soccer isn’t rec soccer. The best players will always play on Tuesday and Friday nights. Also, if you go around acting like you are the best player on the team, you’re probably not going to earn the respect of your teammates and they won’t want to play with you no matter how good you actually are. Team culture is the key to success. I would say let your skill and your results do the talking for you…but put the team wins first over your own individual recognition.
Thank you Kyle for taking some time to interview with Soy SAF and we wish you best of luck the rest of the season. Boerne-Champion is still in full swing of High School District play and will be looking to make a deep run towards a state championship. The San Antonio Runners of the UPSL will start their season in the spring of 2020.