Georgetown is officially a soccer school. Following the Georgetown men’s soccer team’s historic winning 2015 season, the Hoyas made a big splash in Major League Soccer’s offseason with two signings: forwards Alex Muyl and Brandon Allen, who were signed by the New York Red Bulls in December, marking their transition from Hoyas to professional athletes.
The MLS’ Homegrown Player Rule allows teams to sign players from their youth academies directly instead of picking them through the standard draft process. Both Muyl and Allen, natives of New York and New Jersey, respectively, spent their youth careers playing for the New York Red Bulls’ youth academy. The two players join four other college players who were recently signed to homegrown contracts. One of them was Mael Corboz from the University of Maryland, the brother of Georgetown’s own sophomore midfielder Rachel Corboz and women’s soccer alumna former two-time All-American midfielder Daphne Corboz.
“I think we’re a pretty special group. We always wondered if we were ever going to play with the first team. But now since we have a contract it’s amazing. I’m glad to see that they’re bringing these young guys up to play with the first team and giving us a chance,” Allen, currently a senior, said.
Muyl, a junior, chose to leave school early after a successful junior season.
“I felt like I was ready to make the step to the next level. Obviously I loved my time at Georgetown and I had a really positive experience there, but this is something I’ve wanted since I was a little kid, and with the way the Red Bulls are doing now, it’s just a very attractive opportunity,” Muyl said.
The deals come off a remarkable season that put Georgetown’s soccer team in the spotlight. After a rocky start to the season, Georgetown went on an unbelievable 18-game unbeaten streak, led by both Georgetown’s stalwart defense and Muyl and Allen’s offensive prowess, which included Georgetown’s first Big East championship in program history. Muyl finished the season with six goals and 10 assists, and Allen tallied an impressive 12 goals and seven assists. However, the team’s run was cut short in the Sweet 16 when it failed to advance in penalties against Boston College.
“I think it’s just really disappointing. Any team would be really happy with the way our season ended, but with the group we had and the way we knew we could play, I think just even with all that stuff, it still feels a little bit like we just let ourselves down, like we underachieved a little bit,” Muyl said.
Following the season, Allen was named a finalist for the MAC Hermann trophy, as well as First Team All-America and First Team All-Big East. Muyl was named to the Second Team All-Big East, and First Team All-Great Lakes Region.
The two Hoyas enter a talented Red Bulls squad that won last year’s MLS Supporters Shield before falling in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Columbus Crew. The attackers will start behind a talented attacking core, led by striker Bradley Wright-Phillips who tied the MLS record for goals in a season with 27 in 2014, as well as other talented attackers such as Mike Grella, Lloyd Sam and Dax McCarty.
“It’s going to be pretty special; the guy’s amazing,” Allen said of playing with Wright-Phillips. “I’ve trained with him already. He can do some incredible stuff with the ball. I’m looking forward to learning from him. Hopefully, I’ll pick up a few things from him that I don’t know yet.”
The two rookies may spend significant time playing with the New York Red Bulls II in the United Soccer League, but both have high hopes of becoming established on the first team’s roster.
“I want to make an impact like I did in college. My first impression in college was amazing. Hopefully I can turn that into MLS and hopefully score a couple my first season,” Allen said.
Muyl said that his versatility may increase his chances of seeing more playing time.
“I could play as a center striker, I could play out on the wings [and] I could play underneath. So for me I’ll play anywhere that I can help the team. And I think that I’m happy that I have the ability to play in all these different spots because it gives me a better chance to get involved and help the team,” Muyl said.
Georgetown currently has four players on its roster from the New York Red Bulls’ academy, in addition to players from other MLS academies. According to SBI.com, Red Bulls Head Coach Jesse Marsch said that “Georgetown is Red Bulls South” during the MLS combine. Red Bulls’ Sporting Director Ali Curtis clearly showed his intention to cultivate talent in the academy with Allen and Muyl’s homegrown signings, hinting at a possibility of more signings of past academy players in the future, especially from Georgetown.
“I think it’s a really positive step because it sends a message to the other kids who are still in the academy who have a lot of talent, who maybe in the past they might have felt that they didn’t have a chance at the Red Bulls,” Muyl said. “I think that this is really making a statement about the way the club is moving forward. I think they’re really investing in themselves and they want to invest in the future.”
The Red Bulls begin their season March 6 against Toronto FC at Red Bull Arena.