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Miller talks about Halmstads transition
Outside back Ryan Miller has recently moved clubs in the Swedish game; moving up to the Allsvenskan (top level); joining club Halmstads BK. The Chicago native and Bridges alum sat down and answered some questions for Bridges F.C.:
1. How has the transition between clubs gone?
The transition has gone really well so far. I think what has made it so easy is that the coaches and staff have been awesome and really helpful. The coaches communicate really well if they think I need to do something differently and are committed to making me better. My teammates have also been very accepting and are all really down to earth making it fun to hang out.
2. You spent some time back home over the Holidays. How was that? What did you do?
My time over the holidays is always my favorite time because I am able to spend most of it with family and friends. I hung around the Chicago area for the most part. I did take a couple of vacations, one of which was to Steamboat Colorado with a few friends. Steamboat is probably one of my favorite places in the US. I also had to make sure I was in shape for preseason. In order to get in shape for preseason I work out pretty hard on my own while also training as frequently as possible with Bret and the guys at the Sockers. This year was a little more difficult because I was rehabbing my ankle halfway through December, but eventually healed and trained well.
3. What are your expectations with Halmstads this upcoming season?
I have pretty high expectations for both the team and myself this upcoming season. The team struggled a little last year, but I think a lot of that had to do with unlucky injuries. If the team can stay healthy, we have a really explosive and exciting group of players this year. I think that our team has to potential to open a lot of eyes and push for the gold. Of course a little luck would have to be involved, but the talent is certainly there.
Personally, I want to establish myself as the best right back in the league. I generally am able to impress people with my work rate feeding into the attack but I also want to prove that I am a really solid defender. I think that taking one game at a time I can accomplish that. After this year’s world cup, I also see an open position at right back with the national team and would love to see myself get an opportunity to prove something in the January camp. I think that is a high goal, but I believe I have the work ethic and ability to make it realistic.
4. What do you feel their expectations of you are?
I think I did really well last year with Ljungskile and therefore I believe they expect me to carry that on to this year. They expect me to be a consistent defender while giving an attacking presence on the wing.
5. Have you started pre season yet? If so, where and how has it gone?
Preseason started on January 7th with our first game being March 14th. It has gone well so far. I tore my meniscus in my right knee the second week of preseason but it is slight enough for me to play on it. I had to sit out for about 3.5 weeks, but since then I have been playing full. Other then that, the team has worked really hard with double trainings almost everyday. I think that we are fit and have been faced with some tough games and have faired well. We spent two weeks in Barcelona Spain, which was a lot of fun and really nice weather. The one crazy thing about our preseason is it is spent outdoors and the weather in January and February is very similar to Chicago. So we are on a turf field that they plow the snow off of before each training. I can’t express how cold those first 15 minutes are each day.
6. How are you getting along with new teammates?
I’ve gotten along really well with my teammates. For the most part, we have a really young team, which makes the guys really fun. In general, I think Swedish people are just really friendly.
7. Still have a language barrier?
There hasn’t really ever been a language barrier. Everyone in Sweden learns English at an early age because if they want to go anywhere else in the world, they can’t speak Swedish. Therefore, everyone’s English is good. I have also been learning Swedish with Rosetta Stone, which is going pretty well. All the football vocabulary is picked up pretty quickly as well, so I understand what the coaches are talking about when they give their talks.
8. What do you miss most about Chicago?
I miss my friends and family the most. I think being close to friends and family is a priceless part of life. However, I keep in touch frequently via Skype and get good chunks of time to be back in Chicago as well during the year.
9. How’s the culture surrounding the club? Food? Lodging? Social opportunities?
The culture is good. I think Sweden in general is very “westernized.” Most of the television programs are American channels with Swedish subtitles. The food is really good and again very similar to the US. They do have Mexican food, but being that we are pretty far from Mexico, it lacks a little. The social life is very easy to get used to as well. The guys on the team have made it easy and being that it’s not a huge town, you are frequently in the paper so many people know who you are and treat you well as long as you are playing well of course.