Photo of goalkeeper Tim Melia courtesy of US Soccer
By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
November 20, 2017-Great River, Long Island native Tim Melia has a great deal to be thankful for this Thanksgiving as he helped lead Sporting Kansas City to the 2017 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup championship and was selected as the MLS Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year with over 50% of the vote.
The now 31-year-old grew up playing in the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) for such notable teams as the East Islip Red Raiders, Albertson Red Storm Arrows and the LIJSL Select Team plus also played for the Olympic Development Program (ODP) teams of the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) and Region 1.
In college, he competed for Oneonta State and then Lynn University. Tim bounced around the pro soccer circuit, playing for the Long Island Rough Riders (2007), Rochester Rhinos (2008-10), Charleston Battery (2010), FC New York (2011) and then made it to Major League Soccer (MLS) with Chivas USA, conceding 12 goals in six games as their back-up goalkeeper from 2012 to ’14. When Chivas folded in 2014, Tim ended up in MLS’s goalkeeper pool––where no one wants to be at 28 years old.
When Sporting Kansas City’s three goalkeepers were injured the next year, they called on Tim, and he has been their starting keeper ever since. Tim was named the MLS Comeback Player of the Year in 2015.
This year, Tim put together his strongest MLS season with a league-leading 0.78 goals-against average and 78.4 save percentage among goalkeepers (to make at least 15 regular-season appearances) and 10 shutouts, ranked second in the league. In his third season as Kansas City’s starting goalkeeper, he set career highs in wins (12), shutouts (10), saves (91), minutes (2,759) and games started (31). Kansas City’s defense led MLS by conceding the fewest goals this season with 29.
Tim said about receiving the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Award, “It’s an honor as this is the highest accolade you can receive as a goalkeeper in MLS. It’s something that you work your whole career toward achieving but it is a personal accolade and it only happens because of the efforts of teammates and coaches. Without the support of my family, friends and teammates, receiving this award would not be possible.”
With over 100,000 youth soccer players––both boys and girls––and more than 25,000 volunteers, the non-profit Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) stretches from Montauk Point, Long Island to the Canadian border. Members are affiliated with 11 leagues throughout the association, which covers the entire state of New York east of Route 81. ENYYSA exists to promote and enhance the game of soccer for children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 19 years old, and to encourage the healthy development of youth players, coaches, referees and administrators. All levels of soccer are offered––from intramural, travel team and premier players as well as Children With Special Needs. No child who wants to play soccer is turned away. ENYYSA is a proud member of the United States Soccer Federation and United States Youth Soccer Association. For more information, please log on to http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.