Vancouver Whitecaps DP Kenny Miller: Contract extension allows me to concentrate on playoff run

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Designated Player Kenny Miller is staying with the Vancouver Whitecaps. At least for now.

On Wednesday, the Scottish international forward signed a sixth-month extension to his current deal, meaning he’ll be staying in Major League Soccer until at least June 2014.

More significantly, it means the Whitecaps don’t have to worry about another club wooing him away until the end of the season.

The 33-year-old entered the final six months of his contract a few weeks ago, and that meant foreign clubs were free to throw money at him in the hopes he’d join them upon the end of his existing deal.

“It’s important,” Miller told reporters at the club’s downtown office on Wednesday. “When you get to within six months of the end of your contract it gives you options, it gives other people options to try and take you to their club or whatever.

“This takes that out of the equation. It allows me to concentrate on what I should be concentrating on – which I was – which is, making sure we get into the playoffs and have a successful end of the season and the team continues this good form. And hopefully, personally I can maintain that as well and get even better.”

After struggling to adapt to MLS out of the gate last season as a midseason signing, Miller has been a key player for the Whitecaps this year, bagging six goals in a dozen appearances.

The veteran dealt with two months on the sideline with a hamstring injury, however, and has repeatedly left Whitecaps camp for regular call-ups to the Scottish international team.

Vancouver head coach Martin Rennie explained that the deal offers continuity in the short term and allows both parties to evaluate a more long-term option in the offseason, where there’s more time and the pressure of competition is absent.

“We were in a position where we could have lost a really valuable part of our team and we didn’t want to do that,” Rennie said. “So, we’ve got ourselves in a position now where we know we’ve got him now right through to the end of our season, and all being well, beyond that.”

Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.