By Terry Jacoby
Cassie Miller is an NSCAA First Team All-American goalkeeper for the Florida State Seminoles. The senior was a Honda Award Finalist, NSCAA All-Southeast Region First Team and an ACC All-Tournament Team pick last year as a junior.
During her freshman season at FSU, Miller recorded an NCAA-record 19 shutouts on the season, including six straight during the Seminoles’ run to the school’s first NCAA title. They defeated Virginia 1-0 in the 2014 NCAA championship game.
Miller played on the 2010 U-15 U.S. Girls National Team; 2010, 2011, 2012 U-17 Women’s National Team; and was a 2013 U-20 WNT pool member. She participated in the 2010 Nordic Cup and 2012 La Manga, Spain U-19 Tournament, both with the U-17 WNT. She also was a member of the U-17 WNT that captured the gold medal at the 2012 CONCACAF Qualifier and participated at the 2012 U-17 World Cup.
Miller was a member of the 2008, 2009, 2010 & 2012 Region IV ODP.
The Cave Creek, Ariz., native was a two-time NSCAA Youth All-American (2011 and 2012) and earned Arizona Division II First Team honors in 2011-12 at Cactus Shadows HS.
What about soccer grabbed your attention?
“My parents had me try a lot of different sports growing up and told me that whichever sport I liked the most, go with that one. I just fell in love with soccer. I played soccer and basketball up through high school but eventually stopped playing basketball because I knew I wanted to play soccer at the next level.”
How did you end up in goal?
“My height was a big factor. My first club team I was 7 or 8 and we were all alternating playing goalie. They threw me in there one time and I had a lot of action that game. My mom said I did crazy good.”
What was special about the national championship team at FSU?
“We had a lot of strong leadership that carried the youngsters along and made everyone feel like a part of the team. We were very close and did a lot of team bonding off the field. That team just had great determination. There was another level of grit and intensity that set us apart from other teams in the nation that year.”
You’ve played with many national teams over the years. Do you remember the first time you put on a USA jersey?
“I was probably 15 or 16 and it was a friendly. It meant a lot at the time but I think now that I’m older I appreciate it and understand it better.”
- Miller, like many college athletes these days, finished her high school requirements early so she could take a semester of classes at Florida State before her freshman season officially began in the fall. It’s a great way for players to get acclimated to their new surroundings and a few classes under their belt. “I got here in January 2013 and it made a huge difference especially academically for me,” she said. “I knew how to organize my day and got to know my teammates during a more relaxed time and that was a big help.”
- After redshirting in 2013, Miller played every minute of the season in goal for the Seminoles as Florida State went 24-1-1 and earned its first NCAA National Championship in program history. The freshman was the final stop for a defense that led the ACC and finished second in the NCAA with a FSU record 0.34 goals-against average. She allowed just nine goals on the season to set an FSU record.
- As a freshman, Miller helped Florida State to a 9-0-1 record in conference play, its first undefeated conference season in program history. The Seminoles did not allow a goal in all six games of the 2014 NCAA Tournament, becoming just the second team to win a national championship by posting six shutouts in the NCAA postseason. She recorded an NCAA-record 19 shutouts on the season.
- As a sophomore, Miller started all 25 matches of the season in goal for the Seminoles who advanced to the College Cup for the fifth consecutive season. She led an FSU defense that tied for first in the ACC with 15 shutouts, good for 10th best in the NCAA. She finished with eight solo shutouts to increase her career total to 27, second-most in FSU history in just her first two seasons as a Seminole.
- Miller started in all 22 matches of the season in goal for Florida State as a junior and earned her first NSCAA All-American honor, receiving a spot on the First Team. She allowed only nine goals and recorded 58 saves. Of her impressive 13 shutouts, five were against ranked and finished the year ranked fourth in the nation with a 0.398 goals-against average and fifth in the NCAA with 13 shutouts.
- Penalty kicks are often considered high-scoring opportunities but not when Cassie Miller is in goal. Last season she made saves in kicks from the mark at No. 6 Duke and against No. 10 North Carolina in the ACC Tournament as the Seminoles advanced and won their fourth consecutive ACC Championship. She also made a save on a Christina Gibbons penalty kick in the 85th minute of the match against No. 4 Duke on Oct. 20.
Hear This! Quote
“They made me the player I am today and really pushed me to a new level.” – Florida State Goalkeeper Cassie Miller
Miller’s club career started for three seasons with the Gilbert Arsenal Soccer Club in her native Arizona. “That was just an awesome experience,” she said. “They made me really fall in love with the sport. I still stay in touch with my coach there.”
After a season with Tempe Pros Soccer Club, Miller landed with the Sereno Soccer Club (2006-10) and was a team captain from 2006-12.
“They made me the player I am today and really pushed me to a new level,” she said. “I played with a lot of the boys teams within the club and a few older teams.”
Miller was a five-time US Youth Soccer Arizona State Cup Champion with Sereno.
“We had a lot of success and that’s what got me seen by college coaches,” she said. “Our Gilbert team always ended up in second place to Sereno so maybe that’s why I switched. We were good in our state but when I was younger we would get blown away by all the California teams. But as we got older we started being a lot more competitive.”
Miller’s goal is to someday play for the U.S. Women’s National Team and while the phone hasn’t rung yet she better not stray too far from the phone.
“I want to be there and stay there and to do that I have to keep working hard and getting better,” she said.
To improve, Miller realizes that she needs to keep working out, both in and out of the net.
“I think something that’s evolving with goalies that wasn’t emphasized that much when I was a kid is being good with your feet,” she said. “You might be good with your hands but 90 percent of your game is with your feet. What I did was play a lot in the field before I got to college. I would play half a game in the field and the other half in goal and I think that has helped make me the goalkeeper I am today.”