BOZICH | The best college soccer goalie in America is from Louisville (and IU)
By Rick Bozich
“Hey, Jude,” a Beatles’ classic from 1968. Let it run for the entire 7 minutes and 11 seconds.
Then play it again. And again. Actually play “Hey Jude,” about 133 or 134 times a row.
Can’t do that?
Didn’t think so.
That’s roughly how many consecutive minutes of shutout soccer that Trey Muse, the best collegiate goalie in America, played for Indiana University last season.
The record book reflects that it was a 966-minute scoreless streak, the fourth longest stretch of perfection in NCAA Division I soccer history. No surprise Muse delivered 18 shutouts for Todd Yeagley’s national runner-up team.
Muse was a 12-year-old middle schooler in Louisville when his father switched him back to goalie, the position Dave Muse played at the University of Kentucky.
Trey did not imagine himself playing 966 consecutive minutes in goal. Actually, he didn’t envision playing .966 seconds in front of the net. From the moment Muse began playing soccer locally at 4, he had never played goalie.
Forward? Loved it? Mid-fielder? Enjoyed it? Defender? Muse excelled.
But goalie? He did not like the way his knees and elbows hurt after he tossed his body around in pursuit of saves. But he trusted his father’s wisdom.
“For a few months I absolutely hated it,” Muse said. “I wasn’t a big fan of it because it was new. The technique of it was a lot different than what I was used to.
“I didn’t really like the pain that it brought from diving on the ground. That was really difficult. I remember going home and my knees would be super bloody, diving on the ground and not really having the right technique … I didn’t really enjoy it because it hurt …
“I trusted (his Dad’s) decision in it. It was good to see his point of view because he understood a lot more than I did at 12 years old.”
Exposure in the competitive world of travel soccer and two seasons at Male High School were all that was required for Muse to prove that he was better than your basic Louisville-area middle school soccer phenom.
The Seattle Sounders FC 2 of the USL recruited him to Washington for two years in their developmental academy. He finished high school in Seattle, learning from professionals.
At the end of the second year Muse had a decision: Stay with the Sounders' program. Find a club in Europe. Or play college soccer.
Yeagley convinced him to matriculate to Bloomington and help the Hoosiers win their ninth NCAA title.
Nearly happened. IU lost to Stanford, 1-0, on a golden goal in the second overtime in the national championship game in Philadelphia, the only defeat in the Hoosiers’ 18-1-6 season.
“I try to just put it away,” Muse said about his memory of Stanford’s winning goal. “I think at the beginning it felt like I was really close. I knew I was inches away. I thought that maybe there was something different that I could do.
“But now I try to put it away and get away from that moment and realize there is more to life than one goal or one failure.”
Especially with another college season at a program that begins every season with a discussion of the College Cup.
“I’d feel better if we had won it.,” Muse said. “It’s settled with me a little ... it was kind of difficult to live with knowing we were very close. I’ve gotten better with it. I think it’s still an amazing accomplishment … we definitely want to win a national championship this year.
At 6-4 and a trim 200 pounds (despite a powerful weakness for Buckeye Chocolate Chip ice cream), Muse dominates with outstanding first-step quickness, keen anticipation and an intimidating wingspan. He’s a natural at goalie.
He finished last season with 65 saves and only seven goals allowed in 25 games.
Good? No, make that great. But not quite great enough.
In early August Muse will return to Bloomington with eight starters as Indiana figures to open training camp ranked the No. 1 team in the nation.
As usual, there are many balls in the air around Muse. He and two IU teammates will try out for the US National under-20 national team -- and if he is selected for it, Muse will have to decide if he wants to miss several critical weeks with IU in November to play for the national team.
“I don’t know,” Muse said. “I would love to be there. I think it will be difficult with school and with games. I would hope to be there but we’ll see how all those things turn out.”
Then, at season’s end, Muse must pick either a third college season or beginning his pro career overseas. He worked through the same process last winter, traveling to The Netherlands for a tryout before returning for his sophomore season.
Trey Muse did not return to finish second to Stanford again.
“It would mean the world to all our team (to win a national title),” he said. “Everyone this fall and this spring has been putting in so much work, especially after the national championship. We don’t like that bitter feeling and taste in our mouth.”
And if the Hoosiers win it all, will Trey Muse celebrate with more ice cream?
“I’ll be catering,” he said.
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