To put it the way Loyola College senior forward Doug Miller put it, he's "ecstatic!" over his amazing good fortune at the Major Soccer League's College All-Star Showcase this week.
Miller was all-everything for the Greyhounds: Player of the Year in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, MVP in the MAAC tournament, All-South in the Atlantic Region and selected to the Maryland Coaches' All-Star team. He scored 35 goals in his Loyola career, 24 of them last season.
But none of that could top the last seven days.
Last Thursday, Miller became a last-minute addition to the MSL's College All-Star team in Kansas City. Monday, he began impressing MSL coaches in practice. Tuesday, he scored with 2:27 left to give the East squad a 6-5 victory in the Showcase game.
Yesterday, he got the crowning jewel, becoming the No. 1 pick of the Kansas City Comets in the college draft.
"The Lord works in mysterious ways," said Miller. "Initially, I wasn't going to go to college at Loyola either."
Miller, 22 and a native of Succasunna, N.J., went to Olympic Festival soccer tryouts at Rutgers the summer he graduated from high school. His plans were to enter a community college in the fall to get his grades up to the point where he could transfer to a Division I school.
"But Loyola's assistant soccer coach Dennis Krupa was at the festival," said Miller. "He saw me and asked me to visit Loyola. I did and Coach [Bill Sento] liked what he saw and offered me a scholarship. I didn't have the grades or the SAT scores to get in, but I got a special admittance."
Miller is a success story in more ways than one. His major is public relations and he had a 2.8 grade-point average last semester.
"I love the indoor game," said Miller, who plays in indoor leagues here twice a week. "I had never seen indoor soccer played in an arena until I got to Maryland and when I saw it, I thought 'This is the best thing since vanilla ice cream.' "
* BLAST TAPS DEFENSE: The Blast made University of Virginia midfielder Kris Kelderman its No. 1 pick in yesterday's draft. Kelderman, 6 feet 1, 175 pounds, will be used as a defender in the indoor game.
The Blast also chose: Evansville forward Tim Ernst, 5-9, 165, in round two; South Connecticut State defender Gary Cronin, 6-1, 170, in the third; and Virginia forward John Maessner, 5-9, 165.
"We came to K.C. with a plan to draft players who fit with our style of play, and we're happy with the results," said Blast coach Kenny Cooper. "Kelderman caught our eye in the very first practice. Not only was he solid defensively, but he hits the ball well with either foot and got involved with the offense."
* WHAT A CARD DEAL: The MSL announced anothering marketing deal yesterday, this one with World Soccer Properties Inc., a trading card company in Westport, Conn. The company is planning a first run of 26 million cards. The deal runs through the 1994 World Cup and according to Ellen Ehrman, the MSL's director of marketing, will produce royalty revenue of six figures per year.