Chris Mueller, former member of the UW-Madison men’s soccer team, became the first Badger to be called up to the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team Monday evening. Mueller was one of 22 men called to training camp on Nov. 30 by U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter.
Mueller spent four seasons with the Badgers as both a midfielder and forward, before being drafted by Orlando City SC with the 6th overall pick. As a senior, Mueller was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year in 2017. That same year, Mueller helped lead the Badgers to the Big Ten Conference title.
He left UW with the eighth-most career goals (22) for the team, and set a school record for assists in a season (19) in 2017, breaking the record previously set in 1981. His senior season, he started in all 21 games and had more assists than anyone in the country.
Mueller’s season by season growth showed a steady numerical increase in everything from games played and started, to assists and goals. Mueller credits a book he received from a friend following his sophomore season with the long-term commitment he’s had to the sport.
“After my sophomore season at college I picked up a book from a friend that had really changed my mentality and pretty much changed my life because it sent me on this trajectory of personal growth and constantly trying to learn and be the best version of myself that I can be every day,” Mueller told MLS soccer in August.
Mueller credits the end of his sophomore year as being pivotal, and his senior season was a culmination of his growth over the preceding three. He had a series of notable games and led the nation in both assists (19) and assists per game (.95). Mueller had a goal and an assist in the Badger’s game with in-state rival Marquette. An overtime assist in a late season matchup against Notre Dame led the Badgers to victory, and subsequently to the Big Ten title.
In 2016, his third year on the team, Mueller became the first Badger to be selected for the Midwest All-Region first team since 2013 and the All-Big Ten First Team since 2013. He was selected again for both in 2017 after his final season at UW.
This season Mueller had 10 goals and seven assists with Orlando City SC.
This will be Mueller's first chance to earn a cap with the National Team. Mueller will first appear on the USMNT roster Dec. 9 at the USA - El Salvador friendly, set to be played at the Inter Miami CF stadium in Fort Lauderdale, FL.