Chris Mueller ties Deshorn Brown as the highest MLS SuperDraft pick in Menace history. Photo credit: Lyle Hunt
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Friday, Jan. 19, 2018 – Through the years, Major League Soccer teams have drafted 48 Des Moines Menace alumni, with half of these draft picks coming in the last seven years alone.
Chris Mueller, Lucas Stauffer and Tommy Barlow are the latest additions to this long list.
Early in today’s Major League Soccer SuperDraft, Orlando City SC made Mueller the sixth choice. In the second round, Vancouver Whitecaps FC selected Stauffer (26th overall) and the New York Red Bulls called on Barlow (39th).
As a senior at Wisconsin, Mueller was the 2017 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. In a season that ended with a run to the NCAA Sweet 16, Mueller badgered opposing defenses while collecting a conference-leading 38 points. He scored nine goals and distributed a national-best 20 assists, running his career totals to 22 goals and 35 assists.
The forward from Schaumberg, Ill., played 129 minutes in two matches for the 2016 Menace before a shoulder injury cut his Premier Development League season short in early June.
“The Des Moines Menace, I give them a lot of credit to my development as a player,” Mueller said after learning his MLS fate this morning. “Coach (Mike) Matkovich taught me a lot of valuable things that I’ll bring along with me through my professional career. I can’t thank Des Moines enough.”
Mueller signed an MLS contract on Jan. 8. He participated in the league’s annual combine, Jan. 11-17 in Orlando City Stadium, proving himself on the field that today became his new home turf.
A two-time All-BIG EAST first-teamer, Stauffer played 86 matches at Creighton, starting his final 67 appearances for the Jays. He tallied a career-high 10 points (on two goals and six assists) as a senior in 2017, and he was invited to the recent MLS Combine.
The defender from Owensboro, Ky., was a late addition to the 2016 Menace, and he was a staple in the Menace’s lineup last summer. Stauffer earned a spot on the PDL’s 2017 all-Central Conference Team.
Playing alongside Mueller at Wisconsin, Barlow bagged 25 points last fall. In his senior season, he topped the Big Ten with 10 goals and assisted five more. And he ended his productive career with 23 goals, 15 assists and 61 points for the Badgers.
A forward from St. Louis, Barlow sparked the 2016 Menace with seven goals (in 11 matches) – including a hat trick, a couple game-winners and a dramatic, last-minute equalizer (in a 1-1 home tie with Thunder Bay on July 9) that kept Des Moines on track for the franchise’s third straight division title.
The first two rounds of the 2018 MLS SuperDraft were announced today in conjunction with the United Soccer Coaches’ national convention. The draft concludes Sunday with the third and fourth rounds conducted by conference call.
More than 120 Menace alumni have played professionally, with 34 alums signing MLS contracts. In 2017, 50 former Menace players – including six on MLS rosters – suited up for pro teams.
- The Menace alumni chosen in the first round of previous MLS SuperDrafts are Deshorn Brown (2011 Menace; Colorado; the sixth pick in the 2013 draft), Daniel Johnson (2015; Chicago; 11th in 2017) and Andrew Duran (2011; Seatlle; 15th in 2012).
- Every Menace team from 1998 to 2017 has included at least one MLS draft pick.
- Mueller, Stauffer and Barlow are the third, fourth and fifth members of the 2016 Menace to be drafted by MLS teams. Last year, Jalen Brown (New York City FC, 38th) and Austin Ledbetter (FC Dallas, 53rd) went in the draft’s second and third rounds.
- Mueller and Barlow were teammates with Chicago FC United (a PDL Heartland Division foe of the Menace) in 2017.
- Here is the updated list of 48 Menace alumni selected by MLS teams.
ABOUT THE MENACE: The Des Moines Menace provides the highest level of soccer in Iowa. Preparing for its 25th season, the Menace men’s team competes in the Premier Development League (PDL). Entering its seventh season, the Menace women’s team is part of the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL). With loyal support, the Menace men’s and women’s teams play their home games at the Valley Stadium in West Des Moines to provide family-fun entertainment. The Menace organization provides the growth of the game of soccer in Iowa with their youth soccer programs, including Junior Menace (ages 3-9), Menace Youth Academy (ages six and older), and youth tournaments, camps and clinics.