Patrick Mullins’ ability to adapt is something to be admired. He’s played for four different MLS teams, including the New England Revolution, New York City FC, D.C. United, and Columbus Crew SC, and made meaningful contributions to each team.
Playing for a new club in a new city would trouble some players, but going to Columbus has been a seamless transition for the former New Orleans Jesters standout.
“It hasn’t been my first experience coming into a new group. I have done this a few times now in MLS. I think I have learned exactly what I wanted to do when I arrived in Columbus from those past experiences. I wanted to make sure my learning curve was small and taken care of as soon as possible. That being said, of course I can’t do it on my own. We have a great group here that has made it extremely easy on me.”
Mullins has been able to leave his mark at every club, leave a legacy at every stop of his career.
With the Revs, Mullins made 21 appearances (14 starts) and registered four goals and one assist in 1,198 minutes of play in the 2014 season. He quickly proved that he was worthy of being selected 11th overall in that year’s draft.
The New Orleans, LA native would made 31 appearances (13 starts) with NYCFC during the next two seasons, tallying six goals and five assists.
Mullins would then enjoy a strong run of form from 2016 to 2018 after moving to D.C. United. He would make an incredible 44 appearances (26 starts) en route to 13 goals and three assists with the Black and Red. He would actually make history on September 23, 2017 in a match against the San Jose Earthquakes, scoring four goals in just 31 minutes to become the first player in MLS history to score four times in a half and the fastest player to score four goals in a single match. Ironically all four goals would come against former Jesters teammate and goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell.
A trade earlier this season would have Mullins move to Crew SC. He’s already made five appearances there, registering one goal and one assist.
In all, Mullins has made 101 appearances (54 starts) over 4,971 minutes of play in MLS. He has tallied a total of 24 goals and 10 assists as a professional in America’s top-flight.
His successful run as a pro followed a decorated career at the University of Maryland, where he was a two-time Hermann Trophy award winner as the nation’s top player in both 2012 and 2013. He was a two-time First Team All-America selection and Soccer America Player of the Year in addition to being a two-time First Team All-ACC performer and a two-time All-ACC Championship Most Valuable Player. Overall he contributed 47 goals and 35 assists in 92 career matches at Maryland. Mullins helped lead the Terrapins to the NCAA College Cup in both 2012 and 2013, finishing first in the nation in scoring as a senior with 19 goals and 46 points.
He spent his summers with the NPSL’s Jesters, playing with and against talented players from across the Southeast. Mullins and the aforementioned Tarbell were two that made the jump to the next level.
Mullins was quick to speak highly of his NPSL and college experience.
“I think the approach I’ve had playing with the Jesters and the University of Maryland or any of the pro teams is that being a high-level athlete is a day-to-day process and it’s about improvement and pushing myself to the limit. That’s something that started at a young age with influence from coaches like Kenny Farrell and Sasho Cirovski. It has stuck with me as a man, as a professional player. It’s the inner citadel of what makes me strong as a player and that’s something I pull on a lot. To know that I will have another day. There is another training session to continue to get better. If it wasn’t perfect today, that’s okay because you still gained ground, you still improved. That came from the confidence from playing with the Jesters and Maryland and doing it over and over again.”
Mullins adds attacking prowess to a talented Crew SC roster that already included U.S. Men’s National Team standouts Zack Steffen, Wil Trapp, and Gyasi Zardes. He has quickly become a fan favorite with the Black & Gold, even earning praise from Head Coach and Sporting Director Gregg Berhalter.
“You see his goal scoring ability. Quality in high pressure moments was great. He’s good in the air, he’s strong, he looks to involve his teammates and those are all things that will help us a lot.”
Mullins has made the transition to Crew SC look incredibly easy.
“Since I have arrived I have found things here to be very detailed and very specific. It makes it easy on someone when they first come to know exactly what to do. From a team perspective the instruction from coaches has made made my transition extremely easy. The group has guys that have been part of Columbus and the Crew for a long time. It makes it easy to come in and be part of the team. I have been fortunate, I think I have done a good job doing that and have had some success on the field as well. With a goal, an assist, and even beyond that I have been effective in my minutes to make something happen when the team has needed it.”
He has truly been impressed with the Crew SC organization from top to bottom.
“The professionalism of making sure every detail is analyzed, from a diet standpoint to your training video sent to you immediately after practice so you can review things. Of course the amount of detail expected from each player. That’s something that sticks out, a differentiating characteristic when it comes to this club and this coaching staff from where else I have been.”
And better yet Mullins and Crew SC are well on their way to accomplish the goals they have set for the season.
“We want to be in the playoffs and pushing for a top three spot. I think we definitely can do, we had a great win against NYCFC, who is currently in that spot. I think we have a real chance to make up ground on them. For me personally my goal for the short-term and this season has been the same since I arrived here: be patient and also work hard to contribute what I can to the team. The coaching staff reiterated that to me. They wanted me to be patient, really focus on getting better each day in what they’re asking, and letting everything else take care of itself.”
It’s always exciting to see an NPSL alum excelling at the highest level of the game, but it’s even more rewarding when that player has proved to be a difference maker, a gamebreaker. In the case of Patrick Mullins, he may very well be the missing piece of the puzzle, a world-class player that will bring another championship to Ohio’s capital.
Photo Credit: Ken Tishenkel/ISNSoccer.com and Richard Kruszyns