Commerce City, Colo. – No matter the jersey, the city, or the coach, Brian Mullan has consistently won throughout his 11-year Major League Soccer career. And his drive to succeed remains strong, which is why the 34-year-old agreed to a new multi-year deal to play with the Colorado Rapids.
When asked by ColoradoRapids.com why he wants to keep playing, Mullan’s answer was simple.
“To compete,” he said.
“Even when I try not to get competitive, I get competitive. So, to win another [MLS Cup], that’s the only reason.”
Mullan and former San Jose Earthquakes teammate Jeff Agoos are the only two players in league history to win five MLS Cup championships. He won his first title in 2002 with the Los Angeles Galaxy under head coach Sigi Schmid, his second with the Earthquakes in 2003 under Frank Yallop, his third and fourth in Houston with Dominic Kinnear as his coach (2006 and 2007), and his most recent in 2010 in Colorado under Gary Smith.
The Aurora, Colo. native has actually made it to the postseason in each of his 11 years in MLS, and advanced to the title game in six seasons.
“It’s instilled winning in me,” he says, of being on successful teams. “It gives you that taste and you never want to taste anything else. The drive is still there and I guess I owe that to all the players and coaches I’ve played with.”
Now a veteran, he remembers the impact that former national team players had on him as he was beginning his career. It’s something he tries to pass on to his younger teammates in this phase of his career.
“I was lucky to play with some great players - players I grew up watching, like Alexi Lalas, Cobi Jones, and Jeff Agoos,” Mullan said. “To see their work ethic, how they not only worked hard but worked smart – it’s definitely something that every player needs to see. They were the ones that when you messed up, they let you know it, and if you did something right, they let you know. I’ve been fortunate to play with those kinds of players.”
Mullan is one of the many experienced players that return to form the core of the 2012 Rapids team.
“This team has a lot of desire,” he said. “It reminds me a lot of the Houston Dynamo in their heyday – the willingness to work hard and to win games. We came up a little short offensively this year with all the injuries, but that will hopefully resolve itself next year.”
And once again, Mullan will be adjusting to a new coach after the Rapids parted ways with Smith after the season. The team has yet to announce who the new coach will be.
“I think the team doesn’t know what to expect,” Mullan said. “But I think what a new coach does bring is a desire for the entire team. They’ll want to work as hard as they can to show they belong and that can only lead to good things.”