Parlez-vous francais? Eric Miller doesn't, but he's eager to learn.
The Montreal Impact took the former Creighton star with the fifth pick of Thursday's Major League Soccer SuperDraft in Philadelphia. His selection by the Impact necessitates learning to speak French as it is the official language of the Canadian city located in the province of Quebec.
“My French is pretty limited at this point,” Miller said, laughing. “I'm sure I'll pick it up quickly.”
Miller decided to give up his final season of eligibility at Creighton when he received an opportunity to sign a Generation Adidas contract. Generation Adidas players do not count against the MLS senior roster and usually earn a much higher salary than the league minimum. They also are guaranteed scholarships to continue their college education should their professional careers not pan out.
Miller had said after Creighton ended its season with a first-round loss in the NCAA tournament that he intended to return for his final season. The Generation Adidas contract proved too enticing, and being picked as the fifth player in the draft reinforced to Miller that he had made the right decision.
“I knew it was going to be really tough to leave,” Miller said. “I loved everything about Creighton and I loved Omaha. It wasn't easy to leave something that was so good and move on to something that I really didn't know how it was going to go.
“Hopefully, this validates my decision. I'm going to a tremendous club and a great city. I'm really excited to get things going.”
The Impact finished fifth last season in the Eastern Conference and made the MLS playoffs. Montreal was set to pick 10th Thursday but traded up in order to select Miller, who played primarily as a defender at Creighton.
“He fits the profile of the player we were looking for,” said Impact Sporting Director Nick DeSantos in a story on the team's web site. “He's a versatile defender who can play at either fullback position.
“He's played center back as well. He's got very good feet and a great sense of the game. We are very excited.”
Miller, who turned 21 on Wednesday, said he had a very good interview with the Impact at the recent MLS Combine. Still, the Woodbury, Minn., native said he went into draft day not knowing if the team had any interest in him.
“I really had no idea what was going to happen,” Miller said. “No one really knew where they were going or what was going to happen. I was very surprised to go to Montreal, but I'm very, very happy.
“I was probably more anxious about this than I had been with anything in my life. I just wanted to know where I was going and get started on the next step of my career.”
Miller started 62 of 63 games over the past three seasons at Creighton and scored four goals, including three this past season. He also has been a member of the United States' Under-20 national team.
He is the sixth Creighton player to be selected in the first round of the draft. Richard Mulrooney, the third player selected in the 1999 draft, is the only former Bluejay to be selected higher than Miller. Johnny Torres, now a Creighton assistant coach, was the fifth pick in 1998.
Creighton remains the only collegiate program in the nation to have at least one player picked in either the SuperDraft or the supplemental draft since the MLS began in 1996. Miller is the 32nd Creighton player drafted into the league.
Miller will head to Montreal in a week, hoping to get settled before heading to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for preseason camp.
Miller said his status as a Generation Adidas player provides him with a cushion as he begins his professional career.
“Having a couple years with a guaranteed contract is super nice because it gives me time to develop and there's no pressure to compete right away,” Miller said. “But I'm hoping to have success right away. I want to contribute and help the club out as soon as possible.”
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Video: CU's Miller drafted by Impact