With Orlando City only having one pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, Head Coach Jason Kreis and his staff needed to be smart with who they chose from the bevy of talented players coming out of college. As the sixth pick came down, the Lions decided to go with forward Chris Mueller out of Wisconsin, one of the most prolific creators coming out of college.
"It's incredible," Mueller said of being drafted by Orlando. "It's honestly a feeling that you've been dreaming about since you were a little kid. I can't even put it into words. We were just down there. It's such a beautiful city, beautiful stadium. I'm so grateful to be a part of such a great organization."
As happy as Mueller was about being drafted by Orlando, the Lions head coach was even happier that his team was able to pick such a talented player with their only pick of the day.
"Obviously really, really pleased," Kreis said. "He was a player that that we had done a lot of scouting around this entire college season. Guys that have been really focused on that scouting, came into the combine, before the combine, and said this was their favorite pick. So to end up with him when we were still at number six, we feel quite fortuitous and very happy about it."
Mueller's collegiate career at Wisconsin was a tremendously successful one, with the forward garnering multiple accolades including a 20 assist season his senior year, the first time a division one player has had that many assists in over a decade.
The forward also stood out in the MLS Combine just one week ago, clocking the fastest time in the 5-10-5 test, second-fastest over 10 meters, fastest in the agility test and 10th-fastest over 30 meters. His elite level speed and his ability to create chances for his teammates was a talent that Jason Kreis could not overlook.
"He's a versatile player," Kreis said. "He can play as a striker, he can play as a second striker and he can play in any of the three positions that would be under a lone striker, so another player I feel that's really versatile and is a very hungry young man."
With that versatility and talent that comes with Mueller, it also fills a need for Orlando City. Throughout the offseason, many of the acquisitions the team has made have come in the midfield. With this draft pick in Mueller, Kreis took a more focused approach than he has in previous years in the draft, picking more for need and versatility rather than just picking the best player.
"This was the first, every other year that I've been a part of the combine I've always gone in and said we're just gonna get the absolute best player available," he said. "This was the first time that we got a little bit more focused, just because of positional needs. Everybody knows we have a ton of midfielders, so we were really looking for two positions of need. This happened to be one of them and we really, really feel fortunate, as I said, to pick up this player that we're extremely high on."
For Mueller himself, he feels that he is ready to make an impact for his new team and is hoping to be able to contribute to the playoff aspirations of the team.
"I feel like they selected me for a reason, because maybe they see me hopefully making an impact," he said. "I'm just excited to get down there and start working with everybody. I'll play whatever role they need me to. I just want to get out there and help out."