‘Soccer Junkie’ Chris Mueller Enjoying First Week as a Pro

Mueller Soccer junkie

Chris Mueller’s first week as a pro has been admittedly exhausting.

“But it’s been exciting,” Mueller reassured Tuesday in his first media availability. “I’ve been waiting for this my entire life.”

His week began, ironically enough, at Orlando City Stadium. He and 71 other collegiate hopefuls were in town for the MLS Combine from Friday to Wednesday. Then it was up to Philadelphia for the SuperDraft on Friday.

Six picks in, Mueller’s name came off the board.

The plan “was to pick somebody we think can contribute in 2018,” head coach Jason Kreis said shortly after selecting Mueller. “We definitely think that about Chris.”

Mueller led the nation with 20 assists as a senior at Wisconsin in 2017 to earn his second straight All-Big Ten First Team selection. Mueller led the Badgers to the Big Ten title and was named the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year.

He impressed further at the Combine, where he put up the fastest time in the 5-10-5 agility test. Finishing first out of the SuperDraft player pool is one thing, but beating a squad of seasoned pros is quite another.

To begin his second training session as a Lion, Mueller lined up alongside his teammates for the infamous beep test – a true measure of a player’s fitness and agility.

He led the pack much of the way. After several rounds, teammates began falling out until it was just Mueller and fellow former first-rounder Richie Laryea.

Laryea won.

Nevertheless, “Yeah, I do,” Mueller responded when asked if he thought he made a good impression.

He’ll have another chance to impress tomorrow before the team heads up to Jacksonville to continue preseason camp. There, Mueller and his teammates will have an extended opportunity to get to know each other and their new tactics.

“Where it’s snowy and muggy back in Chicago (where Mueller’s family lives and where he went after the SuperDraft), I’m coming here to the sunshine, getting to play every day. I couldn’t ask for more.”

As excited as Mueller is about his new job, it doesn’t come without challenges. Mueller is one of the youngest faces at one of the deepest positions on the roster.

“We need to compete every day,” Mueller said. “Everybody’s gotta be on each other’s heels. That’s how everyone’s getting better.”

For Kreis, that may be his favorite part about his draft pick.

“He’s a soccer junkie,” Kreis said. “I think that’s important.”