Seattle is starting to feel like home for Sounders FC goalkeeper Trey Muse.
Muse, 20, enters his second season as a professional after signing a Homegrown contract with the club in January of 2019. A highly touted prospect following two seasons with Indiana University – Muse led the NCAA in goals-against average (0.26), save percentage (90.3%) and shutouts (18) as a true freshman in 2018 – the Kentucky native was eager to face a new challenge.
Even Muse couldn’t have imagined his rookie season being such a whirlwind.
“I just had great people to look up to in terms of goalkeeping,” said Muse. “I couldn’t have imagined 2019 to play out the way it did with the First Team. It was just a great experience to be a rookie in the league and to able to experience [winning MLS Cup].”
Muse (center) holds the MLS Cup alongside his teammates and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan | Mike Fiechtner
Must left his hometown of Louisville, Ky., when he was just 16 years old to join up with the Sounders Academy. At a time when most of his friends were studying algebra or taking their drivers’ test, he moved across the country to pursue a professional soccer career.
It wasn’t always easy, but Muse’s time in Sounders Academy afforded him unique experiences that made the whole venture worthwhile.
“I think being around Clint [Dempsey] was huge,” added Muse. “[My parents] wanted me to get pictures with him, and I was like I can’t do that!
“One time when I was in the Academy, [the First Team] pulled me up and I was doing PK’s with Deuce and I remember telling my parents. That was pretty cool.”
On the pitch, Muse’s stellar performances in the Rave Green youth system catapulted him onto the national scene. By end of his three years in the Academy, he’d traveled with the First Team to preseason and broken into the United States Youth National Team, earning him the moniker of one of the top prospects in the country.
When he left Seattle for Indiana University, where he would lead the Hoosiers to back-to-back College Cup berths, Muse dreamed of returning to the club that had helped mold him.
“From day one, it was [important] just to continue to get games,” said Muse. “From there, I’ve always wanted to be back in Seattle, so I’m very thankful that it worked out last January.”
In 2019, Muse made 22 starts for the Tacoma Defiance in the USL Championship, posting 97 saves and three clean sheets. The Defiance finished the campaign on a five-match unbeaten streak, largely keyed by Muse’s stellar performances in goal.
Just as importantly, he spent a full season in a professional environment, working alongside Stefan Frei and learning from Club Director of Goalkeeping Tom Dutra.
“Big improvement,” Dutra said of his second-year goalkeeper. “His mentality is a lot better. His work rate is a lot better. He’s spent a whole year with us. He’s made very good strides and I’m very happy with the work that he’s done.”
Dutra congratulates Muse on a good save during a training session in the 2020 preseason | Josh Lavallee
Goalkeepers are a bit of an enigma in the soccer world. They tend to enjoy longer careers and, as a result, peak later than field players. Only one player can win the starting job, so young guys have to bide their time. When called upon, they have to grasp their opportunity with both hands – no pun intended.
Fortunately for Muse, he can get high-quality professional matches on a weekly basis with the Defiance. In Frei and in Dutra, he has two mentors at the pinnacle of their profession, guiding him as he continues his development.
“I definitely have big aspirations here with the club and I just want to be the guy eventually,” said Muse. “That’s why I’m taking notes from Stef and Tom Dutra to hopefully get there one day. I’m trying to just find confidence in myself to possibly be that guy one day.”
The 2019 season surpassed Muse’s wildest expectations. Heading into 2020, he’s got two objectives on his mind: supporting his teammates and making a first appearance for his adopted hometown club.
“I’d love to make my debut this year. I know that’s not really my decision, but it takes a lot of hard work and effort in training.”