VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Vancouver Whitecaps have a new midfielder in their midst as they prepare for their season opener against the Montreal Impact on Sunday (6 pm ET; TSN1/3, TVAS in Canada | MLS LIVE in US).
After a 10-year career in England, seven of them spent in the EPL, why MLS and why now? The answer is the quality that Mutch feels the league provides and where it currently finds itself in the world's game.
"I looked at the standard of the league now and the players that are playing in this league and it's unbelievable," Mutch told MLSsoccer.com. "You've got some real high, top-quality players that play in the league and I think the standard is as good as the [English] Championship, if not better.
"A lot of the MLS teams as well could compete in the Premier League now, but the manager as well had a big factor. So having the opportunity to come and do that, I wanted to just jump at the chance and try something different as well, because you only have a short career."
Mutch got to experience soccer on this side of the Atlantic when he visited with Crystal Palace on their North American tour in the summer of 2016. Part of that tour saw Palace play out a 2-2 draw at BC Place against the Whitecaps, and put him on Vancouver's radar.
It also gave Mutch a taste of what the game was like over here, and he liked what he saw. He's followed the continued growth of the league these past two seasons and was keen to be a part of it sooner rather than later.
"When you look at what teams are spending, like LAFC, LA Galaxy, Atlanta, they're bringing in [top talent] and it's a tough league to play in," Mutch said. "I just wanted a different experience. I just wanted to enjoy my football again and that was a major factor. [‘Caps coach Carl Robinson] really made me feel that, so I was just really happy to come here and it was my first option to try and make this move happen."
Mutch had been at Crystal Palace since January 2015, initially staking a place as a regular starter before a coaching carousel saw him pushed further and further down the depth chart.
That led to him going out on loan to Championship side Reading for a spell last season before returning to Palace for the current campaign, one which hasn't seen him involved at all for the Eagles.
That's a tough time for any player to find himself in, and Mutch knew he had to make a move to get his career going again.
"It was difficult because I didn't play enough games," he admitted. "The manager changed three or four times, and every player just wants to play games and it got to a point where two years down the line, I had to change something, and I feel that this is the best opportunity for me to get my career back on track."
Buoyed by the opportunity of a fresh start, Mutch is now raring to get going in Vancouver. He's been training hard and keeping his fitness up, despite the lack of actual games, and feels he's in the perfect shape to play a full 10-month MLS season.
The question now is where he fits into Robinson's Whitecaps side and where he'll contribute best.
"I want to be a box-to-box midfielder and I want to score goals," Mutch said. "That's how I see myself playing. I want to bring assists and goals to the team from a midfield position."