Q&A: Draft pick Tommy Muller

Quakes draftee talks about his aspirations to be a professional, the Goonies, and playing piano

The Earthquakes selected Georgetown central defender Tommy Muller with the 15th overall pick on Thursday's MLS SuperDraft in Indianapolis. The 5-foot-11, Altamonte Springs, Fla native captained a Georgetown squad that reached the 2012 NCAA College Cup Final in Hoover, Ala. Muller was a three-year starter for the Hoyas, scoring four goals and recording four assists in 64 career appearances. The defender spoke with SJEarthquakes.com shortly after being chosen and enthusiastically shared his hopes and insights for the season ahead. 

SJEarthquakes.com: What were your initial thoughts and emotions after being selected by the Quakes?
Tommy Muller: It was actually funny because my computer was a couple seconds behind the live feed. I get a call from my friend at Georgetown and everyone’s yelling in the background. My first thought was, ‘Wait, did I get picked?’ It was definitely an exciting moment for me. I was with my family and best friend here in Orlando, Fla. It was exciting and a dream come true.

SJEQ: How were you feeling leading up to the SuperDraft?
TM: I felt good, especially after the [MLS] Combine. The Combine really allowed me to show well and show my abilities and I think I did that. Going into the SuperDraft, I was pretty confident that I would get selected at some point and was really thankful that it was so soon by such a great team.

SJEQ: What do you expect the transition to be like from college to the MLS?
TM: I think it will definitely be a step in terms of speed of play and thinking on the ball. It will be a lot quicker and these guys are all pros. There are no bad players like sometimes there are on college teams. For me, the speed of play and individual ability will be at a higher level but it’s something that I’m looking forward to trying to match.

SJEQ: What excites you most about becoming a professional soccer player?
TM: I started playing soccer since I was four and I’ve loved it since I was four. It’s always been my dream. Growing up, I always wanted to be a professional soccer player and that was always my answer to any career-related question. As I went to Georgetown and developed further and further, I thought that it could be a reality. For me, it’s just like, man, this is a dream come true. I’ve dreamed about this day. It’s definitely exciting to start this next chapter and I’m thankful that it’s in soccer.

SJEQ: What are your goals for preseason?
TM: For me, coming into the team as a new guy and a rookie, I want to work hard and prove that I can help the team in whatever capacity that may be. I’m looking forward to meeting the guys, working hard, and proving myself there.

SJEQ: Is there anyone on the Quakes that you look forward to playing with most?
TM: Chris Wondolowski, the goal-scoring machine, isn’t a bad guy to have up top. I just look forward to giving him the ball. I’m also just excited to play with professionals and being a member of the team. I think I can learn a lot from every player so I’m excited for the opportunity.

SJEQ: Have you been to the Bay Area before?
TM: I actually have not. I hear great things about it from people at Georgetown who live there. I’m really excited about heading out west.

SJEQ: What do you know about the Goonies?
TM: I got grilled in a previous interview for not knowing about it but I’ve been doing my homework since. “Goonies-Never-Say-Die.” People tweet it at me so I’m going to continue doing my homework and hit the books about it.

SJEQ: Have you seen the movie?
TM: I have but it has been a while. I know the clip that the organization is talking about. I definitely need to watch it a couple more times.

SJEQ: What professional soccer player do you admire most?
TM: I’ve always loved Steven Gerrard when I was growing up. He’s a central-midfielder for Liverpool FC. He’s a great leader and is just a legendary professional that I look up to.

SJEQ: What are your thoughts on the ‘California Clasico’ rivalry?
TM: I know that there are a lot of West Coast rivalries. I saw Portland play Seattle but I have not yet been to the California Clasico. I know it’s exciting and I’m looking forward to jumping in.

SJEQ: You received an award for your skills on the piano in high school. What do you bring to the table from a musical standpoint?
TM: (Laughing) I’ve played piano my entire life. I was actually in an orchestra in high school where I played a 36 Mozart piano concerto. I actually received an award for it. My mom was really proud. So I can play the keys a little bit.