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U.S., Orlando Forward Chris Mueller Signs Pre-Contract With Scotland's Hibernian

U.S. men's national team and Orlando City forward Chris Mueller will be heading overseas this winter after agreeing to a pre-contract with Scottish Premiership club Hibernian.

Mueller, 24, is out of contract with Orlando at the end of the MLS season and was eligible to negotiate with other clubs six months before its expiration as a result. By virtue of losing him for free, Orlando will retain Mueller's MLS rights, should he elect to return to the league, but it won't gain anything on the transfer for a player with two senior national team caps. Mueller scored twice in a friendly vs. El Salvador last December, but he was not named to the June Nations League final four squad or the Concacaf Gold Cup roster (he was on the U.S.'s extensive preliminary squad).

Since being drafted No. 6 overall by Orlando out of the University of Wisconsin in 2018, Mueller has scored 20 goals and assisted on 22 more in 96 games (63 starts).

“I am very excited to have Chris Mueller join Hibs," Hibernian chairman Ron Gordon said in a statement. "He’s an exceptional player with a knack for goal. This signing speaks to our commitment to build and improve on last season. I know he will be an exciting addition to our very strong squad. I am confident he will become a fans' favorite. 

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"Most importantly, I’m delighted that Chris saw Hibs as the right club for him and the next step in his blossoming career. I am very much looking forward to welcoming Chris to Hibs and Easter Road."

On Jan. 1 he'll head to Scotland, a destination that was once a more popular destination for U.S. players abroad. DaMarcus Beasley, Claudio Reyna, Carlos Bocanegra, Alejandro Bedoya and Maurice Edu are all among the American legacy at Rangers, though the latest they were involved with the club was 2012. More recently, Perry Kitchen played for Heart of Midlothian, Matt Polster was briefly with Rangers, Emerson Hyndman had a couple of short loan stints to Rangers and Hibs and Jonathan Spector made one appearance for Hibs on a short-term deal. Timothy Weah more prominently spent time on loan at Celtic, while Ian Harkes is currently at Dundee United and Christian Ramirez just secured a move from the Houston Dynamo to Aberdeen.

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