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Originally published Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 8:00 PM

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Local soccer players Sean Morris, Taylor Mueller will get a chance in MLS

Sean Morris, a Seattle University player from Bishop Blanchet High School, was taken by the Sounders in the MLS supplemental draft. Taylor Mueller, a Washington player from Eastlake High, was drafted by the Portland Timbers.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Sean Morris kept clicking refresh on the MLS Supplemental Draft tracker online, but it wasn't updating fast enough.

Taylor Mueller was in class at the University of Washington, trying to keep up with the same draft, but his computer wasn't cooperating.

Two local soccer players. One shared dream of playing professionally.

Each will get his chance.

Despite failed attempts to find out for themselves, both eventually learned they were drafted by MLS teams on Tuesday. Morris, a senior midfielder at Seattle University, got the message from Sounders FC assistant coach Brian Schmetzer that he had been selected by the hometown team. Mueller, a senior defender for the Huskies, heard from his sister that he was heading down I-5 to the rival Portland Timbers.

Making an MLS roster will be a steep challenge for each, but all Morris and Mueller wanted was a training-camp invite.

"That was probably one of the best feelings I've felt in my life," said Morris, from Bothell. "I actually had to sit down when I was reading the message."

"I can't think of anything better," said Mueller, a Sammamish native.

Morris had planned for this moment in advance, opting to take the winter quarter off from school. He's three quarters from a degree in general science, but that can wait.

"This is something that I wanted to make a real run at and put everything I could into trying to build my playing career," Morris said.

Mueller will try to balance soccer and studying. He received permission from his professors to continue taking courses online as he works toward a degree in sociology.

"I just explained the situation to them, and they were very understanding," said Mueller. "That's something that should be helpful, but it's also tough at the same time."

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In the next few months nothing will come easy. Both Morris and Mueller were the last picks in the supplemental draft by their teams, and that's after each was passed over in the three-round SuperDraft.

The underdog role, however, suits Morris well.

"I wasn't a super high-profile recruit (out of high school) — kind of like now," said Morris, who went to Bishop Blanchet High School. "I just did everything I could, worked as hard as I could to make the team as a freshman."

Mueller, a former standout at Eastlake High School, is looking forward to the battle for roster spots. Expansion Portland is building its team in preparation for its inaugural season in 2011.

"I'm very big into competition," he said. "Coming into UW I was that way, and I like to hold to that same mentality everywhere I go."

And while Morris is going to the local team he follows, Mueller isn't bothered by going to its chief rival.

"My roommate was talking about how he has to be a Timbers fan now," he said. "It's kind of funny how that works, but I think everybody's really happy for me."

Note

• Sounders FC defender James Riley has been named Korean Athlete of the Year by Sports Seoul USA.

Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or jmayers@seattletimes.com

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