Ten Years Ago: The rise and fall of Miles Joseph
May 4, 2006
This past offseason, there was a lot of talk about Metro upgrading their wing play, which led to the acquisitions of Chris Henderson and Peter Canero. While we're yet to see the dividends from these signings, the failings of the two make us remember the early Metro years, when the wings were defined by Brian Kelly and Miles Joseph. Kelly, who joined Metro in 1997, patrolled the left side for over three years. Joseph spent over four seasons on the right; both departed the team in 2000, before the Mathis-fueled run. Unfortunately for Joseph, the potential he showed during the inaugural 1996 season never materialized into anything long-lasting.
Joseph was drafted out of Clemson with the 12th overall pick in the 1996 College Draft, one spot bellow Scott Lamphear, who never played a minute for Metro. Together with Damian Silvera, Zach Thornton, and A.J. Wood, he was due to miss some time with the US Olympic team (one cannot fault the Metros for taking so many promising young players; who knew they would strike out in every case for one reason or another). Miles then became the first sub in Metro history, entering the inaugural match for Mickey Kydes, and then assisted on the club's first ever goal. The next week he started, and kept his place in the lineup from that point on, minus the Olympic sojourn. Joseph would end up starting in 23 league matches plus all three playoff contests, and ended the year with four goals (three in a two-game stretch in September) and four assists.
With all the horrid players to walk through Metro in 1996, and the failed potential of Silvera and Wood already obvious, Joseph was anointed as the bright young future. And who could fault us for believing that? Here was this 22-year-old, a finalist for Rookie fo the Year, running up and down the wing, getting past defenders, and even scoring goals. And Steve Samspon agreed, calling up Miles to the national team for two matches during that offseason. So everything looked rosy for Joseph.
But in 1997, Miles was no longer an automatic starter, sharing the duties with Braeden Cloutier. He did end the year with ten assists in league play, which still stands as one of the best totals in Metro history. But it was all downhill from there. An injury sidelined Joseph in 1998, limiting him to just three starts (he did score three goals and added one in the playoffs). A terrible 1999 when he failed to put one into the net (not like the rest of the team was much better) was next. And after three despicable games in 2000, Joseph was shipped to Columbus for a draft pick; the penultimate original Metro shown the door. A year with the Crew was followed by a year in Dallas, which was followed by some playing indoors, which was followed by Miles leaving professional soccer before he turned 30.
So what went wrong? Why did he peak at such an early age? Was it the quality of the league catching up with Joseph? Was it his inability to cross the ball, which is pretty essential for a winger? Who knows; but we can't wonder what could have been if the promise shown by Miles in 1996 was ever fulfilled.
And no discussion of Miles can be complete without discussing the fate of his left-sided counterpart, Brian Kelly. Another winger who couldn't cross, an almost parallel career by the highly-touted Duke product saw a second straight Metro Rookie of the Year finalist in 1997, six goals and some good play in 1998, a decline in 1999, and a trade in 2000, to the Galaxy for Roy Myers. Kelly would play two games with Tampa in 2001 before, like Miles, leaving pro soccer at an early age.
And whenever we see a bad cross at a Metro game, we think "just like Brian Kelly" if it comes from the left, and "just like Miles Joseph" if it comes from the right...