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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Make it like Mueller

Senior+defender+Karlie+Mueller+plans+to+play+professional+soccer+as+soon+as+Spring+2016.
Photo by File

Senior defender Karlie Mueller plans to play professional soccer as soon as Spring 2016.

With one minute and five seconds remaining, the game rested on Karlie Mueller’s shoulders. If she scored, the Aggies would win. She put her eyes on goal and ran to the ball, planted her left foot and delivered a strike. The ball soared toward the far right post, intended to be a cross for someone to put a shot on goal. Instead, the ball dipped past the swarm of players and settled in the back of the net as her Aggie teammates mobbed her in celebration.

That was how the senior scored her first-ever goal as an Aggie this season. Mueller recalled feeling full of emotion after the goal, as she thought of Quinn Pesicka, a fourth grader with whom she had developed a close bond, who passed away three months earlier to the day. 

“Scoring my first goal was awesome,” Mueller said. “It was a long time coming and for it to come on a really special night with the golden-goal game and the three month anniversary of Quinn’s passing, it was like a signal from above. It was just a really special night getting my first goal and the circumstances that were there.”

Born and raised 1,007 miles away in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Mueller has called College Station home for the last three-and-a-half years. The senior has obtained 90 caps in her Aggie career, and said it has been a long, enjoyable journey.

“It’s really cool because not a lot of people can reach that mark and it just goes to show how successful my class has been and the team has been,” Mueller said. “Reaching that 90-game mark is like ‘Holy cow, I’ve played in that many games already?’ and it’s hard to believe. It goes by so fast. We’re just cherishing every moment we have to put on these jerseys and play for this program.”

Mueller played from a young age and even travelled to play for a club soccer team in a different state. 

“I actually played on a club team out of Omaha, so I travelled three times a week,” Mueller said. “It’s about three hours one way. I would leave right after school, my parents would drive me there and I would do my homework on the way. Then we’d drive home and get back at around 1 a.m.” 

Mueller is one of just three seniors on the current roster. Her former teammate, Allie Bailey, played for the Aggies from 2011 to 2014. Bailey said not only does Mueller play well, but she is also a team leader.

“She’s so tough at that right back position, and she did a really good job with so many seniors leaving, filling in that leadership role for the team,” Bailey said. “She’s so good at getting down the line and getting into A&M’s attacks. I know she’ll do whatever it takes to win.”

Mueller plays as a right back, which means she is a defender on the right side of the field. Despite playing as a forward for her club and high school teams, she was recruited by various schools for multiple positions. 

Nebraska, Minnesota, Penn State and Kansas battled heavily to recruit Mueller, but she said nowhere else could compare to A&M after visiting campus.

“I knew right away when I had stepped on campus, met the coaches and saw the facilities that this is where I wanted to be,” Mueller said. “After my visit, I just called [coach Guerrieri] immediately on the Monday I got home and committed. I knew where I wanted to go and so did my parents. The atmosphere, the traditions and the whole environment here is second to none.”

A&M head coach G Guerrieri said that Mueller’s tenacity is what makes her so successful as a defender. He said he will remember her smile the most.

“She can be a real pest to a big strong forward, and she’s got good pace so she’s always been able to keep up or be faster than a lot of players,” Guerrieri said. “I enjoy her smile and seeing her have fun. If you look at pictures of her after we defeated Penn State and made it to the Final Four she was going through just sheer joy and those are the kinds of memories that make me happy.”

As far as the future is concerned, Mueller said she plans to play professionally as early as this spring, as long as she is able to get drafted by a club. Ultimately, she said she plans to go back to South Dakota to attend nursing school in an accelerated 12 month program to pursue her dream of becoming a pediatric oncology nurse.

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