Orlando City has announced the signing of rookie defender Kamal Miller, the Lions’ second-round MLS SuperDraft pick, a day ahead of the start of the 2019 MLS season. Today is roster compliance day and, as such, the Lions had to make a decision on Miller’s future with the team.
The 21-year-old center back was selected by Orlando City with the third pick of the second round, 27th overall, in this year’s MLS SuperDraft. Starting all four years in college, the Canadian international captained the Syracuse Orange his junior and senior years.
“We have been extremely impressed with Kamal throughout this preseason,” Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “He has come to camp with the right mentality and has earned a spot with our group,”
The signing of Miller means that Orlando City has signed two of its four selections in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft, after first-round selection, Santiago Patiño, signed an MLS deal prior to the draft. The signing of Miller gives the Lions 28 players on their roster heading into Saturday’s game against New York City FC.
What this means for Orlando City
While the timing of the signing may surprise many, the signing itself does not. Most second-round SuperDraft picks end up being signed by the club that drafted them and Miller has been playing consistently in James O’Connor’s first team during the preseason. He played well and held his own in Orlando’s home 2-1 win over New York City FC in the Orlando City Invitational.
Miller is now the fifth center back on the roster, joining Carlos Ascues, Shane O’Neill, Lamine Sané, and Alex De John. That group might soon be augmented by Swedish international Robin Jansson if the club can complete the deal. As the Lions seem to prefer a three-man back line, center back depth is vital in 2019. Meanwhile, Miller will be filling in one of the final spots on the roster and will likely serve as a backup during his rookie season.