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Tacoma Defiance sign centerback Taylor Mueller

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The 31-year-old USL Championship veteran is a Kirkland native and UW grad.

Houston Dynamo v Charleston Battery - Carolina Challenge Cup Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images

Tacoma Defiance have added a third centerback to their roster. Taylor Mueller, a 31-year-old Kirkland native, has joined the team after spending the past eight seasons playing for the Charleston Battery in the USL Championship.

Mueller played for the University of Washington during college, earning Defensive MVP as a senior in 2010. He started his post-college career when the Portland Timbers selected Mueller with the second pick of the third round, the 38th overall pick, in the 2011 MLS Supplemental Draft. Mueller wouldn’t play a single game for Portland, instead playing for Washington Crossfire in the USL PDL during 2011. The following season he signed with Charleston Battery, where he made 213 appearances with 194 starts spread over nearly a decade. Last season, he played a career-high of 3,210 minutes across the USL regular season and playoffs, and the US Open Cup.

At 31 years old, Mueller is the oldest player to sign directly to Tacoma. He beats out David Estrada for that crown by one year. He’s being brought in to simultaneously help solidify the defense as an anchor at centerback, and mentor the young players that comprise the bulk of the roster. Surrounded by teenagers and men in their early-20s, Mueller will immediately lift the team’s average age. His signing is quite a departure from Tacoma’s usual approach to roster construction, but makes sense given the current situation at the centerback position. Mueller joins 20-year-old Sam Rogers and 19-year-old Abdoulaye Cissoko at the position, lending a much needed veteran presence and mentor figure to the group. The departure of Aleks Berkolds this off-season makes Mueller’s signing all the more valuable, as the team lost one of its most solid defenders.

Taylor Mueller brings the Defiance roster to 13 signed players, with three more players who are likely to play a majority of their minutes with Tacoma signed to the first team.

Defiance roster

Defenders (5): Antonee Burke-Gilroy, Abdoulaye Cissoko, Nick Hinds, Taylor Mueller, Sam Rogers

Midfielders (3): Josh Atencio, Jesse Daley, Danny Robles

Forwards (5): Alec Diaz, Azriel Gonzalez, Shandon Hopeau, Ray Serrano, Marlon Vargas