Without knowing the Miller brothers, most fans sitting across from the Rock Bridge boys’ soccer team’s bench would be hard-pressed to identify the two Bruins assistant coaches as brothers.
Mike, 23, is shorter and stockier, with red hair and bright blue eyes and a face that belies his age.. He played soccer at the University of Chicago, where he graduated with honors with a philosophy degree.
Owen, 24, is tall and rail-thin with thinning brown hair and an angular face. He played at Westminster College in Fulton.
Owen played defense and Mike was a star forward.
Both love soccer and share their passion by coaching the Bruins, imparting what they know about “the beautiful game” to the junior varsity and “C” teams.
They are also graduates and former players for rival Hickman.
Tuesday they stood on the sidelines with head coach Kirby Keth, implementing zone defense and plays off of corner kicks. It’s something neither do for the money.
“It comes out to about one dollar an hour for the amount of time we spend out here,” Owen says, laughing.
Rock Bridge’s season ended Tuesday in the the Class 3 District 10 tournament at 179 Soccer Park in Jefferson City.
Missing their co-captain and team leader Josh McNutt, who was serving a one-game suspension, and their leading scorer Alex Cook, out with mononucleosis, the Bruins couldn’t muster enough offense to beat Jefferson City, falling 1-0.
The Bruins fought off several of the Jays’ attacks before a corner kick slipped through the hands of goalie Zach Burleson and trickled into the net. The Bruins ended their season 11-14.
Keth said he was impressed and grateful for everything the brothers have given to the program.
“They’re two very intelligent young men that know the game,” he said. “They’ve taken their experiences and implemented our style. They jumped on board and added great value.”
While Mike said he learned a lot about coaching this season, he also said he enjoyed going through the experience with his brother.
“We’ve been playing soccer together our whole lives,” he said. “To be able to coach together, it’s kind of a nice continuation of that.”