Erika Miller named to Duke Invitational All-Tournament team
Whether it is Kiah Allen scoring a game winning goal for the Tennessee Lady Volunteers, Ryan Creel starting for Kentucky in their huge upset win over defending national champion Notre Dame, or Erika Miller making the all-tournament team of Duke’s prestigious Nike Invitational, the fact is that FC Alliance is making a major statement beyond the club and high school ranks.
With the nearly 150 college signings since 2010, it was bound to happen. Not just a few, but many FC Alliance graduates are playing major roles for their college teams. This includes alumni competing at the very highest levels of NCAA soccer. While the wins, goals, assists and saves are racking up, no performance can be more scintillating than Erika Miller’s recent effort for Arkansas against North Carolina and Duke.
Miller, who played for Coach Josh Gray on 95 Girls Black, recently was one of two Razorbacks named to the 11-player tournament team of the Nike Invitational. Her award was primarily given for the incredible job she did defending Duke's Toni Payne, a member of the US Women's U20 National Team. Miller kept the athletic Payne from getting in on goal time and time again, despite the Blue Devils using her as their primary target up front.
“Erika has always been driven to be a successful collegiate or professional player,” said Gray. “While she was at FC Alliance, she would play or train every single opportunity she had. Her worth ethic at practice was excellent.”
When Arkansas visits Tennessee in a huge SEC match later this year, it is possible that five former FC Alliance players will be on the field. Among them is Kiah Allen, who recently received media attention for scoring the Lady Volunteers lone goal against Tulsa in a 1-0 victory earlier this season. Allen’s strike was on a free kick from 30 yards out.
On the boy’s side, four FC Alliance players are starting for East Tennessee State. Daniel Aldeman, Dalton Guzman, Fletcher Ekern and Nicholas Muth have all claimed starting roles for the 2-1 Buccaneers. When they face off against Kentucky on September 13, another FC Alliance reunion will take place. The Wildcats, who recently upset national #1 Notre Dame, start Ryan Creel in the midfield. Creel played for the 95 Boys Black. It won’t be Creel’s first FC Alliance reunion this season. In the win against the Fighting Irish, he went up against former 95 Black teammate Mark Mishu.
The list of FC Alliance players thriving in college goes on. 14 alumni appeared in a recent game between NCAA Division 1 rivals Middle Tennessee State and Austin Peay. Molly Dwyer, formerly of the 96 Girls Black, has already scored two goals in five games for Furman. One of those came against SEC foe Mississippi State in a 2-1 win.
“We are very proud of what our players are accomplishing at the collegiate level,” added Gray. “Our staff has done a tremendous job preparing them. A lot of our kids are making an impact their freshmen year.”
Erika Miller versus the North Carolina Lady Tarheels. Furman's Molly Dwyer has 2 goals.