Over a four-month span during the 2014 Major League Soccer season, goalkeeper Tim Melia appeared on four different clubs’ rosters — one of them for fewer than 24 hours. He served as the league’s pool goalkeeper, a job for which he didn’t sign up and didn’t much care to continue.
Over the course of the journey, he later told The Star, he contemplated retirement. Instead, he signed with Sporting Kansas City during the offseason.
A stable home. Finally.
Melia, 29, enjoyed a breakout season in Kansas City — posting a 15-8-5 record across all competitions in 2015 — and on Wednesday he was named the MLS comeback player of the year.
“This was such an important year for my career,” Melia said. “With the work and preparation you put in, having that recognized by getting the opportunity to be on the field, it means everything to me.”
Melia edged Portland’s Diego Valeri for the award, which honors a player who has overcome “injuries or adversity.” It is voted on by media members, club executives and players.
After overtaking Luis Marin for the No. 1 job in May, Melia posted six shutouts in his first nine MLS matches.
His first five MLS seasons included only five starts. In his sixth, he finished with nine shutouts, and he was third in MLS with a 72.6 percent save percentage.
“Now that I’ve got my foot in the door, I don’t want to let it go,” Melia said. “I’m going to do everything in power to help the team have a successful season next season.”
Melia is the fourth player in Sporting KC history to win the award, joining Tony Meola (2000), Chris Klein (2002, 2005) and Eddie Johnson (2007).