For new Seattle Sounders FC goalkeeper Trey Muse, this isn’t his first time in an MLS preseason.
During his senior year in high school back in 2017, Muse was invited to join the Seattle first team for preparations that season. The possibility of bypassing college soccer altogether was floated.
However, a spot on the Indiana men’s soccer team would come first for the up-and-coming goalkeeper, who spent the past two college seasons at the Big Ten school. There, he cemented himself as one of the best in the nation, back-stopping a defense that was one of the best in the nation and made it to two straight College Cups.
In the wake of his sophomore season, Muse elected to forego the final two years of his eligibility, signing a Homegrown contract with the Sounders in January. Now, he’s in preseason and going through the rigors of being a full-fledged pro.
“I’m just trying to get acclimated to the style of goalkeeping here and how hard the training is, it’s something I’m getting used,” Muse told topdrawersoccer.com over the phone. “I feel like I’m fitting in with the group pretty well, just picking up on everything I can. It’s a very fortunate situation to be in.”
Muse took a roundabout path to a Homegrown player deal, as he’s not originally from the Seattle area. A native of Kentucky, Muse was targeted by Seattle’s club scouting network as a potential academy goalkeeper while he was still in high school.
The club reached out to him and his parents, inviting him out for a trial. After a successful tryout, he joined the Sounders Academy for his final two seasons of high school. The spring of his senior year, after going through preseason, the possibility of signing a contract hovered over him. Eventually, college became the option for him in the near term, and he was added on to IU’s 2017 recruiting class in May of that year.
“I was in need of a school and Indiana was in need of a goalkeeper so it really worked out,” Muse said. “The timing of it was spot on because it was very slim margins for me and a perfect fit for both sides.”
Shifted into the storied environment at Indiana provided the right kind of stepping stone for Muse. He was back close to home, and during his two seasons he continued to develop and provided a consistent presence in goal.
Over his two years in Bloomington, Muse put up impressive numbers. He notched 30 shutouts in 49 games, making 112 saves across two years. Even more importantly, it helped Muse take a step forward in his development.
“The quality of players at Indiana was something that helped me to start progress more,” he said. “It was a step ahead of the academy, which was what I needed. I needed harder games, better training sessions in order to continue progressing. Once I got to IU and was in that situation and with the games it was there was a target to take us down, and so there was a lot of pressure there, and so I think that pressure helped me a little bit.”
After Indiana’s season came to an end last fall, it was another juncture in his career. The combination of a variety of factors eventually led him to accepting Seattle’s offer to return to the Pacific Northwest. From the chance to compete for a U.S. Under-20 World Cup spot, to learning from Stefan Frei and getting minutes with the Tacoma Rainiers in the USL.
“It helped me make my decision a little bit easier because I knew coming into this situation I would become a better goalkeeper and a better person out of it,” Muse explained. “From there, just to be able to learn and have time to develop and not be pressured into having to produce right away so that I know that I have years under my belt to develop and to be able to pick Stefan Frei’s game and implement it into mine. It’s really good to be able to be a young goalkeeper under such a great group.”
While Muse wasn’t a part of the U.S. U20 Concacaf Championship roster (his college teammates, Justin Rennicks and Griffin Dorsey, were on the team), he has a firm goal in mind when it comes to targeting a chance at the Under-20 World Cup.
“I wanted to push for a goalkeeping spot there and I want to press for the number one position as well,” he said. “I felt like with coming to Seattle, the group itself would help me progress and be able to push for that number one spot. With that being said, when I signed, I knew I had five months to get ready so I felt like coming here I would be in a real good situation to prepare for that situation and push for that spot.”
For now, preseason beckons for Muse. The Sounders head to Arizona for a 10-day stint, where they’ll face a trio of MLS teams. The goalkeeper is on the hunt for a place to live, as he signed his contract and then a few days later began the first leg of preseason in Southern California. He’s excited to be back in the Pacific Northwest and eager to begin a new stage of life.
And on the field, he has a clear plan in mind on his overall approach to his first pro season. Get better, and push others.
“I want to help prepare the two guys ahead of me, particular [Stefan Frei], just to help him get ready for his matches,” he said. “From there I want to be able to take in as much as I can from those two goalkeepers [Frei and backup Bryan Meredith] and the goalkeeper coach Tom Dutra to help me get better every day. I want to take it as an understudy deal with such a good group and learn every day be here in this top environment.”