Back in Blue

Defender Cory Miller's first Q&A since his return to Indy Eleven
Published Aug 11, 2017

The Big Bald Assassin is back.

After rejoining Indy Eleven following ten months of extensive rehab, defender Cory Miller is once again a “Boy in Blue” and is ready to help the squad make their Fall Season push for the playoffs, and ultimately, the 2017 Championship Final.

Read the club’s first interview with the player including quotes from head coach Tim Hankinson below:

Scott Stewart: You’re finally back on the pitch, and as a major bonus, it’s back with the team you’ve spent the last three years with in Indy Eleven. What does it mean to be able to return here?

Cory Miller: It means a lot to return to Indy. I’ve been working for the last ten months to get back to playing and get back on this team (laughs) so I’m excited to be back for my fourth year.


SS: The process from surgery to rehabilitation was a difficult one, no doubt. How long have you been waiting to get back on the field?

CM: It’s been a long road for me. I got back playing on the practice field just a few months ago and I know a bunch of our fans have seen pictures and things but I’m finally at the point where I can contribute on the game field. It hasn’t been fun, but I’ve had a lot of help through it.


SS: There are obvious physical challenges in a situation like this, but the mental side of the injury might be equally as difficult. What was that battle like for you?

CM: The first four or five months it was easy to stay mentally driven but you reach a point where you hit a plateau. I was mentally drained with nothing happening and no real opportunities coming along the way so finally the gates open and I’m thrilled it’s here.


SS: Our fans have been waiting to see you in an Indy Eleven jersey for quite some time. What will your first game back at “The Mike” be like for you?

CM: I’m so excited to play in front of our fans again! I’ve been getting messages for the last six months about when I would be back so the first home game is going to be extremely exciting and I’m pumped to be back, that’s for sure.


SS: Finally, you’ll be donning the No.16 shirt again. What does that number mean to you?

CM: The No.16 is the number I’ve worn since day one as a pro, going on seven years now. I haven’t put on another number ever so I’m excited that they saved it for me to keep. Now I just want to help the team however I can and continue to help the guys get ready doing whatever I can. If I get to play, it’s just a bonus. I’m getting back in form and we want to be back in the playoffs again.


Scott Stewart: Cory [Miller] is a player you’re quite familiar with after working with him nearly all of last year. What does a player like him bring to your side?

Tim Hankinson: He’s got great athleticism and pace. He can run with anybody and he’s a very physical player; he enjoys that part of the game. For me, this would start the process of being the comeback player of the year.

Last year, he was filling in for an injured centerback and started a number of games before the season-ending injury to his ankle in Edmonton. That led to reconstruction, which is a pretty major deal. So, for him to have done all of the rehab to the level that he has and still be in training with us every day, it gives us the depth with he and Kwame that will see us through to the rest of the year.


SS: His resilience and perseverance to push through something like this and battle back through nearly ten full months is remarkable. What does that tell you about his commitment to the game?

TH: Every athlete is different when they have a major injury. There are those that don’t make it back. They don’t have the discipline to rehab properly or don’t have what it takes to put their mind and heart into the rehab to push beyond boundaries that are uncertain.

Our medical team has been a big part of that. [Athletic Trainer] Brian Gerlach and our doctors were fantastic and it was a total team effort, and he’s a well-liked person in the locker room. The emotional support the team has given him along the way has been integral.


SS: Finally, you have bolstered your options defensively with bringing Cory back. How important is it for you to have a selection headache of sorts right now?

TH: It’s extremely important to have options in selection. Right now, we have six defenders with our starting back four, and I think the depth and experience of the squad will help as guys can step in any situation. We’re well covered now.