Thursday, March 29th, 2018 --
The past few months have been good to Arizona players looking to make the jump to the professional level. Six players, both men and women
, have signed professional contracts. Among these players is goalkeeper and Cave Creek native Cassie Miller, who signed with PSV in Eindhoven, Netherlands.
Miller, 22, was a five-time state champion with Sereno Soccer Club and she attended Cactus Shadows High School. She also played locally for Arizona Arsenal, SC del Sol, and Tempe Pros.
She was a member of the 08, 09, 10, and 12 Region IV ODP teams and she was a fixture in U.S. National Team player pool representing the U.S. at the U-15, U-17, and U-20 levels. As a member of the U-17 Women's National Team, she helped the U.S. capture the gold medal at the 2012 CONCACAF Women's U-17 Championship and she represented the U.S. and the 2012 World Cup in Azerbaijan.
She then enrolled at Florida State University (FSU) where she was a four-year starter, appearing in 94 matches and recording 48 shutouts, a FSU record. In 2014, Miller helped FSU capture its first ever NCAA National Championship.
In late January, Miller signed with PSV, who has advanced to the Championship Round of the 2017–18 Eredivisie. The winner of this Championship Round qualifies for the 2018-19 UEFA Women's Champions League. As Miller gears up to help her side in the playoffs, the Arizona Soccer Association had a chance to catch up with her to discuss her youth career, college career, and now pro career in Europe.
ASA: Thoughts on signing your first professional contract?
Miller: I am extremely humbled and honored to have not just the opportunity to sign a professional contract but to start my professional career overseas in the Netherlands for the club PSV. For the last few years, I have always wanted to start my career overseas to experience different styles and views on the game and to broaden my development as a goalkeeper. I have always dreamt of playing as a professional soccer player, but never did I imagine it allowing me the opportunity to travel abroad to do so. I am very appreciative of this opportunity and excited to better my level year after year.
ASA: Playing overseas is a dream of many players. How did you end up in the Netherlands?
Miller: Talking with old teammates and the assistance of my staff at Florida State helped me to understand how to take the next step to find a successful team abroad.
ASA: How is training going and how is living in Europe?
Miller: The city of Eindhoven is a very cute and a friendly business city that is located in the South East region of the Netherlands. I am very happy to call this new city home, as I bike everywhere I go and love walking around the city. The train system allows for transportation throughout Europe pretty easy; I have already been to Amsterdam, Dublin, Paris, Koln, and many smaller cities around the area. So to say that living in Europe is amazing, that is an understatement. Training's here are also very great. The complex and fan base are great and it is a fun environment to be around.
ASA: Has anything surprised you?
Miller: The culture is just very different. Food has its differences and it is much healthier. Also, many people bike. That surprised me the most. There are more people of bicycles than cars on the road. In America, the bikers must really watch out for the cars, but here it is just a known thing for the cars to watch out for the bikers.
ASA: What was it like playing at Florida State University?
Miller: Florida State gave me the best experience both academically and athletically than I could have ever hoped for. The tradition, professionalism, and care that comes from FSU is one of a kind. I thank everyone along the way for everything they gave me to help me succeed in all areas. I will always bleed garnet and gold.
ASA: What was it like winning the national championship?
Miller: My most memorable moment at Florida State University was winning the NCAA National Title. It was such a surreal moment and there are no words for it. That team was so special and bringing the first natty back to Tallahassee for our program was such a highlight of my career.
ASA: FSU is pretty far from Arizona, how did you end up there?
Miller: I had very supportive coaches throughout my youth in Arizona that helped me in my college recruiting. Both my goalkeeper coach and head coach at Sereno throughout that time helped me in contacting and visiting different schools. With their guidance, I looked at all the pros and cons. With that, I knew what I was looking for in a program. The moment I stepped on the campus of FSU I knew I was home. The campus was absolutely gorgeous, the soccer complex and staff were first class, and the academic side fit me perfectly.
ASA: You have represented the U.S. at many level, what was that experience like?
Miller: Representing America has always been an honor. Being a part of the youth national teams has excelled my level as a goalkeeper and it allowed me to learn and compete at such a high-level day in and day out. I continue my career to one day be on that squad again. Representing America is such a humbling experience.
ASA: How did playing in Arizona help you prepare for college and now the professional level?
Miller: Arizona made me the player I am today and each club I was apart of prepared me to be a professional athlete today. I was coached by many of the best ones and they were all top class. I can list so many coaches that helped me throughout my time that made me the goalkeeper I am today. Most of them are now successful coaches all around the nation. AZ prepared me and so many other players to be successful. You hear about Julie Johnston, Sydney Leroux, Nick Jackson, Brooks Lennon, and Ashley Hatch. You hear so many successful players around the nation that call Arizona home. It makes you feel proud that I came from such a great youth soccer location.
ASA: Thanks Cassie and good luck this season!