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Bulls Abroad: Miller called up for Costa Rica's October tour of Middle East & Korea

Roy Miller has got the call from Costa Rica for a mid-October jaunt to Oman and South Korea

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Costa Rican press calls them "Legionnaires": the national team players who work abroad, but assemble to fight for their country whenever called upon.

There are 17 Legionnaires in the latest Costa Rica squad, picked to contest two friendlies in October's FIFA-mandated window for international matches. The New York Red Bulls' Roy Miller is one of them.

This is good news for Miller's international future. Costa Rica has a new coach - Paolo Wanchope - taking the team forward from the World Cup to (he hopes) the 2015 Gold Cup and 2016 Copa America Centenario. Wanchope has already bagged the 2014 Copa Centroamericana, bringing Miller in for the final only.

But the group picked to play Oman (on October 10) and South Korea (on October 14) is arguably stronger than the one that went to Brazil, and includes many of the big names missing from September's CCA success. Many of the heroes of the run to the World Cup quarterfinals will be present: Keylor Navas, Oscar Duarte, Yeltsin Tejeda, Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell.

They will be boosted by Bryan Oviedo and Alvaro Saborio - guys who would definitely have been in Brazil were it not for unfortunate injuries.

There are some intriguing newer faces called up as well. Felicio Brown is sort of the Costa Rican version of John Anthony Brooks: a tall, Berlin-born defender who got some attention from the German national youth-teams. He'll get his first cap for Los Ticos on this trip, one assumes.

Mayron George and John Jairo Ruiz are young forwards (both are 20 years old) who may have a role to play in the next World Cup cycle.

But Wanchope's squad is mainly established players from the top tier of his player pool. Miller has done well to retain his place among them. For him, this call-up is something of a personal triumph.

For RBNY, it is a nuisance. Miller will miss the October 11 clash with Toronto FC, along with Tim Cahill (who will be playing for Australia) and Ambroise Oyongo (called up by Cameroon).

It is, of course, possible for any of those three players to decline the call-up and stay with RBNY, but it is hard to see why they might do so. For Cahill, the October friendlies are a crucial part of Australia's effort to prepare for Asian Cup in January. Oyongo has been invited to help Cameroon qualify for Africa Cup of Nations (also in January) - so his matches aren't friendlies. And Miller has the chance to establish himself as part of Wanchope's core squad for 2015.

Mike Petke suggested RBNY was trying to persuade the various national teams to let their respective Red Bulls off the hook, but that would also entail persuading the players that their future international prospects wouldn't be irreparably harmed.

Most likely, all three join their national teams as requested.

For Miller, that means a lot of travel.

The Costa Rican federation took the time to detail the team's travel plans (at least, for those making the trip from Costa Rica): almost 24 hours on the road (or in the air) to get to Oman; then 150 miles from Muscat to Sohar for the match on 10/10; from there, a middle-of-the-night trip to Dubai for an eight-hour trip to Seoul.

The Legionnaires get to make their own way to Oman, and will presumably make their own arrangements for getting back to their respective clubs from South Korea.

A direct flight from Seoul to JFK takes about 14 hours.


Roy Miller has played more than 10,000 competitive minutes for RBNY. Maybe Papa Red Bull could break out the private jet to get him back from Korea in the most comfortable way possible?