When Vancouver Whitecaps announced on Sunday that they had come to an agreement with Designated Player Kenny Miller to mutually terminate his contract, it ended months of questions and speculation surrounding what the future held in store for the 34-year-old Scot.
The Whitecaps extended Miller’s contract by six months last July. That took him up to June 30th this year. Since then, Miller has had to deal with a string of non-stop questions from local media about what his plans were for after the end of his contract and if he would be heading back to his former Scottish club Rangers for a third stint, as was constantly reported by the Scottish press.
Miller dealt with the questions with patience and class, and there was more of that on display on Sunday during his farewell conference call.
"I said from the minute I arrived back in Vancouver in January that I was looking forward to working with the new coaching team and if I had a contract put in front of me then, I would have signed it," Miller told reporters. "The longer the thing went, the more you open your eyes and the more the situation becomes clear."
That clarity was provided to Miller by that fact that despite press reports, "there wasn't an offer on the table".
The best way that Miller knew to secure a further contract extension was to score goals. He scored a brace in the "First Kick" win over New York and followed that up with another in the home win against Houston three weeks later. Two of those goals were penalties though and he had hadn't found the back of the net since.
The lack of productivity and his high salary saw the Whitecaps hold off on making any renewed offer. Miller was slated to make $940,000 this year and was the second highest player on the Caps’ books after fellow DP Pedro Morales.
Miller felt he had to do the best for himself and his family, and both parties agreed that the best way to achieve this was to terminate his contract early, giving him the maximum amount of time to find a new club, as well as staying healthy in the process.
"It's the nature of the business that we're in,” Miller noted. “Clubs have got to look after their best interests and players have to look after theirs. The club obviously want to move in a direction and I wanted to do something as well.”
What that something will be is still unclear. Despite the aforementioned rumors of a return to Rangers, nothing definite is on the table for the Scot.
"I've nothing in place as yet. What this does is it gives me six or seven weeks to, one, get a holiday, which I've not had since I've been out here. So it's a couple of years since I've been on holiday with the family. And then we can sit down when my agent can earn his money and hopefully find us a new club come the 1st of July."
Although he wouldn’t rule anything out, including what would be a very unlikely return to MLS, Miller just wants to make sure that wherever he goes his family is happy and he gets the playing time he still craves.
"I still feel great, I still want to be playing, I still want to be considered to be a first choice player. Until that goes out of me I want to play as long as I can, as long as I feel like that."
Despite the quick goodbye, Miller has nothing but good things to say about the Whitecaps and his time in MLS.
"It's been very enjoyable. To be honest, it's something, even earlier in my career, I'd talked to my agent about potentially coming to, I say the States but obviously I ended up in Canada, but in MLS. But we talked about coming out and giving it a go and seeing what it was like.
"I've no regrets whatsoever about making that step," Miller continued. "The football is different. There's a different mentality to the game I think, which sometimes takes a little bit of adjustment and a little bit of time to get used to."
Miller ended on a high, coming on as a second half sub in the Caps' 3-2 win over San Jose at the weekend, in a game that marked the 40th anniversary of the original NASL Caps first ever match.
"It's been good to be a part of a club moving forward. Obviously it was the club's 40th anniversary yesterday [Saturday] but with it being a club that was in it's second year in the League when I came in to it, there's a new feel to it, there's a chance to build something and a chance to have new success.
"It was always something that interested me and it was exciting to come and be part of that. It was great to part of it for the two years and I've thoroughly enjoyed my time. This is what happens in football. You've got to move on to new places. Players move on, coaches move on. For me, it just felt that this was the right time to do that and I wish Robbo and the Club all the best in the future."