Nate Miller enters his fifth season as the head coach of the Spring Arbor University men’s soccer program.
In 2016, Miller led the Cougars to one of the most successful seasons in program history and was named the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) NAIA Mideast Region Coach of the Year. He guided the team to a 15-4-4 record and a Crossroads League championship – SAU’S first conference title since 2012. The Cougars also made their fifth all-time appearance in the NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship and, after upsetting No. 11 Bryan College (Tenn.) in the Opening Round, advanced to the second round of the national tournament for the first time since 1977.
Spring Arbor ended the season ranked No. 15 in the NAIA Men’s Soccer Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the highest ranking for the program in nearly 40 years. The team led the league in scoring averaging more than two goals per match and finished the campaign with 49 goals in 23 matches – the most goals scored in a single season in more than 10 years.
Through his first four seasons, Miller’s teams have produced 10 First Team All-Crossroads League selections and six Second Team picks, as well as the Crossroads League Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016.
Miller is no stranger to the Crossroads League and to the teams that make up one of most competitive conferences in the country. He was the assistant men’s soccer coach at Taylor University for three years and helped turn around a struggling Trojan program that was 14-23-1 in the two years prior to his arrival. Under Miller, the Trojans enjoyed a 40-19-2 mark, including Taylor’s 2011 campaign where the team went 19-2-1 and achieved a No. 17 ranking in the NAIA Top 25 Poll.
As a player, Miller was a starting midfielder from 2004-08 at Taylor University. He was a two-time MCC All-Conference selection in 2005 and 2006, and an All-Region Team selection in 2007.
Able to spot and develop younger talent, Miller played a crucial role in bringing in top level players and developing them into elite players in the league. In addition to his coaching duties at SAU, he is also the head coach of Lansing United in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), which is the 4th tier of US Soccer. Miller also serves as the head coach of the 1998 Michigan Boys ODP and the Jackson Rush U15 team.
Miller holds a USSF A License and possesses the NSCAA Premier Coaching Diploma. His knowledge of the game is a solid foundation to the job, and his desire to lead young men toward a common goal as it fits into the Spring Arbor community bodes well for Miller.
Outside of his coaching experience, Miller worked for the Crossroads League as the Assistant Commissioner for over a year before taking the reins at Spring Arbor. Prior to coaching he worked as a financial planner for Balasa Dinverno Foltz Private Wealth Management firm in Itasca, Illinois.
Miller earned his Master’s degree in Coaching and Athletic Administration from Concordia University Irvine (Calif.) in 2016.
He and his wife, Darcy, have one son, Cohen, and a newborn daughter, Stella, and reside in Spring Arbor, Michigan.
Tim Daniels begins second season as an assistant coach on the Spring Arbor University men’s soccer staff in 2017.
"I'm thrilled to add Tim to our program," said Miller. "He is going to make us better in a number of ways. He has a sharp soccer mind, is a hard worker and, most importantly, loves the players."
Daniels joins the Cougars coaching staff after spending the past season as the first assistant at Naples High School in Naples, Florida. He owns a United States Soccer Federation (USSF) E License, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science from fellow Crossroads League member Taylor University in 2015.
A Wheaton, Illinois native, Daniels was a three-year captain as a player for the Trojans, which is where the relationship between him and Miller began. Miller, who was an assistant coach at Taylor from 2010-12, recruited Daniels to TU and coached the standout midfielder for two seasons before accepting the head coaching position at SAU.
"Tim and I have a relationship that goes beyond soccer and I have complete faith that he will make a tremendous impact in our program and in our guys," added Miller. "I've always wanted to make this happen, so for it to be a reality now, I am very grateful and fortunate. He is going to hit the ground running and help us get prepared for August."
Daniels was a three-time All-Crossroads League selection and earned All-American honors following an outstanding freshman season at Taylor. He played and started in all 22 games during his rookie campaign, tallying 16 goals and six assists to lead the Trojans to a regular season league championship, a league tournament title and the program's first-ever appearance in the national tournament.
In addition to the accolades he earned on the field, Daniels was a two-time NAIA Scholar-Athlete and a Capital One Academic All-American.
Prior to attending Taylor, Daniels was an IHSA All-Sectional player at Wheaton Academy, where he was also named to the ESPN Rise Top 50 Goal Scorers watch list.
Daniels continues to play the game and is currently a member of the National Premier Soccer League's (NPSL) Lansing United.
Billy Irvine begins his third season as the goalkeepers coach on the Spring Arbor University men’s soccer staff.
Irvine was a standout keeper for the Cougars from 2012-14. He appeared in 34 career matches and registered nine shutouts. He was a member of the 2012 squad that captured the Crossroads League Tournament championship, sending SAU to the NAIA national tournament for the first time in 33 years. The Cougars finished the campaign that season with a mark of 16-4-2.
In 2013, Irvine and the Cougars looked to repeat as conference champions, but after advancing to the title match for the second consecutive season, fell to the top-seeded Indiana Wesleyan Wildcats. Despite missing the NAIA national tournament, Spring Arbor advanced to the NCCAA National Championship Final Four.
Irvine enjoyed his best season his senior year in 2014, logging over 1500 minutes between the pipes and owning a record of 11-3-2 with five clean sheets. He ranked third in the conference with 75 saves and fourth with a 1.02 goals against average.