FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – NSC Minnesota's jubilant fans and players had barely finished the last few words of Oasis' “Wonderwall” before Luke Mulholland had to turn his focus elsewhere.
Mulholland played 89 minutes as NSC Minnesota claimed the first NASL (second-division) title by securing a scoreless draw – and a 3-1 win on aggregate – against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Lockhart Stadium on Saturday night.
By Tuesday morning, the 23-year-old English midfielder found himself training with the New England Revolution on the Gillette Stadium turf.
“I literally came straight from the championship game to here,” Mulholland told MLSsoccer.com after his first session with the Revs. “I was in Fort Lauderdale and went straight to here. It's crazy.”
Mulholland's hectic year makes the jaunt from south Florida to New England almost seem like a mild transition.
The former Wingate University star kicked off his professional career earlier this year with a spell at USL-PRO side Wilmington Hammerheads. Mulholland bagged nine goals and notched four assists during his time in southeastern North Carolina. His displays at the third-division level earned him a short-term move to NSC Minnesota in August and he soon established himself as a fixture in Manny Lagos' starting XI.
With the NASL season now complete and the Revolution trying to sort out their roster for next season, Mulholland has continued his rapid progression up the professional ladder with a temporary spell at a MLS club. He joked that he still isn't quite sure where to call home after his busy year.
“The first couple of months at Wilmington, I was still in college [at Wingate],” Mulholland said. “I was driving back and forth every week, it was like a three-hour drive. I graduated and we got done with the season at the end of August. Then I went to Minnesota for a couple of months and we just won the championship on Saturday night. It's definitely been a good experience in my first year.”
Mulholland will do his best to make New England his new address heading into next season. Uncertainty reigns in Foxborough these days with the Revs currently in the middle of searching for a new coach, but Mulholland said he plans to use this training stint to press for a place in the club's preseason plans and, perhaps, locate a more permanent place to fix his attention next season.
“Coming in as a newcomer, you're going to be nervous,” Mulholland said. “Hopefully, I'll get to know a couple of the lads now and come back in preseason, I can be more myself straight away and play my usual football.”