DAVENPORT, Fla. – It had been a frustrating start to the year for forward Alex Muyl.
After enjoying a standout season with Georgetown in which he led the team in assists and came second only to fellow Red Bull Brandon Allen in goals scored, Muyl couldn’t wait to get going in New York.
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“I’m really excited,” Muyl said after signing with the club in December. “This has been a goal of mine my whole life, and to be able to start my career in a place that I know, in a place that I’ve grown up, around people that I’ve grown up with, is an honor. I’m excited to start.”
Unfortunately, he would have to wait for the next phase in his career to get started. In the lead up to the 2016 season, Muyl suffered an ankle injury that forced the Homegrown product off the pitch and into the trainer’s room. For the entirety of the team’s first trip to Orlando, Muyl was resigned to individual rehab drills while his teammates prepared for the upcoming campaign.
“It was really mentally tough,” Muyl admitted. “I felt like I was ready to go, I was feeling pretty fit, I was feeling positive, and to get an injury before preseason even started was kind of a nightmare scenario.”
His situation was far from ideal, but according to head coach Jesse Marsch, there was a silver lining to be seen. His time on the sidelines was certainly frustrating for a young player looking to break into a new side, but it also afforded Muyl some extra time to take in his new environment and learn the system from afar.
“I think it might have actually been a benefit to watch for a little while,” Marsch said. “He could see what happens on the field, what goes on and how people interact. Now that he’s healthy and back on the field, he’s adapted quickly.”
In recent weeks, Muyl has worked his way back to the pitch. And after a successful youth career in the Red Bulls Academy (Muyl was top-scorer for the Red Bulls U-16 and U-18 teams), the forward was finally ready to showcase his skill on a much bigger stage.
It didn’t take long for Muyl to start turning heads, either. After getting his first minutes in a preseason defeat to Orlando City SC, Muyl played in both of New York’s friendlies on Saturday and impressed against both the University of Central Florida and Toronto FC. In his first taste of action at the next level, it was evident that—while not a finished product—the 20-year-old has what it takes to contribute against top competition.
“He’s a sharp soccer guy,” Marsch added. “The game is fast for him, but I think he can meet those standards. He’s smart, he can find the game in good ways, he can run, he’s aggressive, he’s good around the goal, so he’s got a lot of qualities that we think will be good to fit into this group. It’s been exciting to see him get going.”
Now back with his teammates, Muyl is focused on staying on the pitch and getting ready for his first season in Major League Soccer.
“It was a new situation, but it’s moving in the right direction,” Muyl said of his first foray into preseason action. “I just wanted to work as hard as possible, get my fitness back, and start to get comfortable on the ankle again. From that standpoint, it was really good.”