April 7th, 2012. Charleston Battery holds a 2-1 road lead over the Richmond Kickers in the opening match of the season. Coach Mike Anhaeuser takes a look towards his bench with the hopes of preserving the lead and leaving Richmond with three points. Anhaeuser calls on twenty-four-year-old Taylor Mueller, who replaced Zach Prince in the 74th minute, to keep the Kickers from finding a late equalizer. Mueller and co. would go on to hold off the Kickers attack over the final quarter-hour of the match to start the season 1-0-0. The rest is history.
Over the next eight years, Mueller would go on to win a USL Pro Championship and help extend Charleston's active playoff streak to thirteen years, making 214 appearances for the club in the process. He sits third in all-time appearances for the Battery behind only John Wilson and Dusty Hudock. In 2015, Mueller would don the captain's armband leading the backline as Charleston became one of the most dominant defensive units in the USL Championship over recent years. On Tuesday, Mueller said goodbye to the Battery and reflected on his time with the club.
"Moving on from the club was a very difficult decision for me," said Mueller. "I had an incredible eight-years here in Charleston and it was a special time in my professional career. This club gave me a chance and I have quite a few memories that I'll never forget." Included in those memories was the 2012 USL Pro Championship that forced Mueller to learn the ropes as a first time professional. "I started things off with a bang, winning a Championship in my first season, and taught me what it took to win a championship in this league."
In his final season with the club Mueller lead the team in clearances and blocked shots, 142 and 25, respectively while playing a part in every shutout for the Battery this season, highlighted by a gutsy performance with ten men against high flying Indy Eleven at MUSC Health Stadium. Mueller even had a part to play on the offensive side of things, scoring two goals and adding one assist. The veteran defender logged over 2,700 minutes and was named the Derek Revord Defensive Player of the Year.
"Taylor has grown so much as a professional since he joined the club," coach Anhaeuser said of Mueller. "And not just as a player on the field. He was such a tremendous asset to the community, whether he was attending community events or out coaching local youth players. He taught other guys how to be professionals."
From the entire Charleston Battery family, we thank you, Taylor, for your contributions to the city of Charleston, on and off the field.