It was a series of saves IU Coach Todd Yeagley said he’d never seen before.
At the time, the Wisconsin Badgers had been bearing down on the IU defense during their Oct. 21 meeting in Bloomington.
The series of saves came after a restart. First, it was a kick save. Then, seconds later, it was a punch. As the Hoosier defense scrambled, the next Wisconsin shot went over the crossbar. The crisis was averted.
The crowd came to its feet, but IU freshman goalkeeper Trey Muse remained calm as he got ready for the ensuing goal kick.
The Hoosiers were still yet to allow a goal in more than nine games at the time, a program record. Muse was up to the challenge.
That isn’t the only challenge he’s been up to in his freshman season. Muse’s name now sits in fourth place on the all-time NCAA shutout-streak list at just over 966 minutes.
For a player who didn’t play in an exhibition match and committed a few weeks after the rest of his freshman class did, it’s hard to think what IU soccer would be in 2017 without Muse between the pipes.
“We had confidence in Trey,” Yeagley said. “He’s really mature for a freshman. He has size, shot stopping ability, good feet — a lot of qualities that you look for in a keeper. You just weren’t sure how quickly he could acclimate.”
Muse’s young soccer career has already taken him all around the world. He is originally from Louisville, Kentucky, where he played at Male High School for three seasons. He then moved to Seattle, Washington, and played in the Seattle Sounders Development Academy.
The IU freshman goalkeeper has also had the opportunity to play with the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team.
With the U-18 National Team this past summer, Muse played in the Slovakia Cup, starting once for head coach Omid Namazi.
With the Sounders, he got the opportunity to play with the Academy team, Sounders 2, Seattle’s representative in the United Soccer League.
He even got to train with the Major League Soccer team, which won the 2016 MLS Cup, as a high school student.
Sounders Academy Technical Director Marc Nicholls said once they identified Muse through national team connections, he was brought into the academy.
Once in Seattle, Nicholls said Muse was responsive to the change and blossomed under the tutelage of the Sounders coaching staff.
“It was the same mentality goalkeeping-wise,” Muse said. “They were always hard on us, the coaches, and with the first team, the players, and especially the goalkeepers were looking to keep the best effort and making sure I was pushing for everything in training so the effort in training would transition to the game.”
It’s not a huge surprise that Muse is a goalkeeper. He comes from a soccer household. Muse’s dad, Dave, won the Kentucky Gatorade Soccer Player of the Year award and was a former goalkeeper at Kentucky from 1993 to 1996.
What may be a surprise is that Muse didn’t start playing goalkeeper until he was 13.
Even with just about five years of goalkeeping experience before going to Seattle, Nicholls said Muse is composed as a keeper and is a calming influence on those around him.
The mix of his dad’s influence, experience with the youth national team and time in Seattle has only bolstered his progression.
Yeagley credits those reasons as to why he has progressed as quickly as he has.
“I think our team and our backline felt that,” Yeagley said. “Let’s make it easier on Trey to begin with because you need to get some shutouts and you feel good with clean sheets.”
Getting Muse to IU was a bit of a different scenario than for the rest of his freshman class. He visited Bloomington at the end of April 2017 and signed shortly afterward. The addition of Muse to an already stacked freshman class was quite a coup for the Hoosiers.
“The tracking of him was a little more unique,” Yeagley said. “Our needs were kind of evolving at a later stage than were maybe early in the recruiting with Trey.”
Nicholls said it was important for Muse to play, and that’s a big reason why he came to Bloomington instead of signing with the MLS Champions.
“The goalkeepers tend to develop later and have prolonged careers, so we wanted him to be in an environment where he was competing and could play matches,” Nicholls said. “With S2’s season over and the first team in the playoffs, Trey is able to play a couple matches a week at a good school in a competitive environment.”
IU goalkeeper coach Zac Brown is new to the coaching staff this year and has quite a goalkeeping group on his hands. Sophomore Sean Caulfield, along with freshmen Jacob Gruber and Drew Nuelle, all have talent. That enables the group to push each other every day.
“Inheriting the whole group of goalkeepers is really special,” Brown said. “I walked into a really talented and elite back four, that whole group defensively, and a group of goalkeepers that’s all pushing to be at the next level. To have a group like that is really special. And Trey within that gets all the details right everyday. He’s very professional, and he wants to get better.”
Throughout the season, the Hoosiers have gotten down to business each and every game. But this is still a team that likes to keep it loose.
One way Brown has done this in training is with something he calls ‘Hoosier Trivia.’ The concept is very simple. The day after every game Brown gives the goalkeepers trivia questions about the other IU athletic teams.
Brown said since the athletes are always around each other, it’s good that they get to know what else is happening around the athletic department.
“If you’re not having fun when you’re out here, you’re doing things wrong,” Brown said. “I want our group to be relaxed and enjoying the moment. It’s a little bit of fun before we get to work.”
Muse is a player that Nicholls said has a high ceiling and has a potential to play at a high level.
As the regular season winds down, IU has a chance to make the 2017 season stand with eight other seasons in its storied history. The backline has been the story for most of the season.
Muse has been a major part of that story. Whether it’s in Seattle, his hometown of Louisville or in Bloomington, Muse just wants to win.
“In Seattle, we won a MLS Cup, so that’s a goal here — we want to win the tournament and we’re striving hard for that,” Muse said.