Chris Mueller - Orlando City - tight shot

Orlando's Chris Mueller on why he started a book club and the secret to his success

Chris Mueller is more than just an Orlando City player with a bright future.

He’s also started a book club called Be The Best, where he shares books and advice about life. He describes the community as one where like-minded, goal-oriented individuals gather to become the best versions of themselves every day.

Mueller, who had three goals in Group A to power the Lions to the Knockout Round, reflected on how books have transformed his life ahead of Tuesday’s MLS is Back Tournament Final presented by Wells Fargo against the Portland Timbers (8:30 pm ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes in US; TSN, TVAS2 in Canada).

“I wanted to use my platform and in kind of a unique way where I can inspire people just to go out and pick up books and bring them the awareness that this type of information is even out there that can vastly improve the quality of their lives,” Mueller said. “I think reading has done that for me and that’s all I really wanted to do was continue to spread those messages and those words.”

Meuller notes that one book transformed his life: “Mind Gym” by Gary Mack. He read it while at the University of Wisconsin, where he was named the 2017 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year before being selected No. 6 overall in 2018 SuperDraft. It provided a fork-in-the-road moment where Mueller’s passion and commitment really took off.

“I think that since I was a young player, maybe I talk about it there,” Mueller began, “after my sophomore season at college I picked up a book from a friend that had really changed my mentality and pretty much changed my life because it sent me on this trajectory of personal growth and constantly trying to learn and be the best version of myself that I can be every day.”

Mueller referenced another book after Orlando’s 3-1 win over NYCFC in the group stage. It was “It Takes What It Takes: How to Think Neutrally and Gain Control of Your Life,” where there’s a foreword by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson is also a co-owner of the Seattle Sounders in MLS and fellow Wisconsin alum.

Mentality and mindset are common buzzwords from Mueller, a 23-year-old winger who’s entered the US men’s national team conversation with his play at MLS is Back. The hype arrives after Mueller combined for eight goals in his first two MLS seasons, but already has four in 2020 and is a key part of the Oscar Pareja-led rebuild in Orlando.

“I’ve seen how those books and those messages from gurus and entrepreneurs and top sports players, what their messages have done for me in my life,” Mueller said. “I can attribute a lot of my success today to having been so honed in on my mentality and reading those books.”

Whether you’re an avid reader or not, Mueller might be onto something. Or at least he hopes so with the BTB Book Club.

“I just wanted to find a way to give that back to people as well, kind of in a different way, use my platform in that sense,” Mueller said. “And whoever wants to join can, it’s no sweat off my back, right. I’m just trying to help in some way shape or form."

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