The Scottish mafia in Vancouver has a new member, and new Designated Player Kenny Miller already feels like he’s among family.
Whitecaps FC unveiled the Scottish international on Monday at BC Place. He joins fellow Scots Barry Robson, head coach Martin Rennie, and assistant coach Paul Ritchie. And although assistant coach Carl Robinson is Welsh, he’s an old teammate of Miller’s from their time at Wolverhampton Wanderers FC in the early 2000's.
“There’s a few friendly faces out here already,” Miller said. “I’ve played with both Carl Robinson and Paul Ritchie at some stage in my career. And obviously Barry Robson making the step a few months before me was always going to make it easier to settle.”
WHITECAPS FC STRIKER KENNY MILLER
- Scotland’s national team captain
- Tied for sixth overall in total goals scored in all of Europe during the 2010-11 season with 26 goals
- Including 21 goals in 18 games with the Rangers - more than a goal a game
- From 2009 to 2011 scored 56 goals in 108 matches in all competitions
- In total, scored 187 goals in 547 career club matches - more than one goal every three matches
- One of only five post WWII players to have played for both Old Firm giants Rangers and Celtic
- Won Scottish Premier League, Scottish FA Cup, and Scottish League Cup with Rangers and Celtic
- Arrived in Vancouver on Sunday, July 15, and will join his teammates in today’s training session
Settling in easily – and quickly – with Whitecaps FC is vital for Miller, 32. The squad has defended well this season, but they have struggled at times to find the back of the net. The 'Caps have scored the fewest goals of any of the teams currently in a playoff position. The hope is Miller can address that issue.
“We’ve been one of the better teams in MLS for that statistic – I think we’ve got more clean sheets than anyone in this league,” Rennie said during the press conference. “But we aren’t scoring quite as many goals as we would like. We want to be more proactive with what we’re doing going forward, and when the opportunity came forward to sign Kenny Miller, we really were excited to do it and jumped at the chance.”
Miller has amassed 187 goals in 547 club matches, primarily in the Scottish Premier League and England’s top-two tiers, so far in his career. It remains to be seen if his success in Europe will translate to North America. But Miller says the opportunity to join an MLS team was one he couldn’t pass up.
“I’ve talked about it a lot with my agent and my family over the last few years,” Miller said. “It’s something I’ve definitely wanted to do at some point in my career and what a fantastic opportunity to come to a great city, a fantastic club who are having a really good season and are sitting in a fantastic position.”
Whitecaps FC are currently in fourth place in the Western Conference. They next host the LA Galaxy on Wednesday (7 p.m. PT, TSN2, MLS LIVE), but Rennie says Miller likely won’t figure in the match.
“Hopefully, I can get in the team soon and play my part,” Miller said. “And hopefully, we can push us on and secure a playoff spot, which would be a fantastic achievement for the club.”
Martin MacMahon covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com.