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Fordham Goalie Ryan Meara Headed to Major League Soccer

Senior Captain Selected by New York Red Bulls in the Second Round of 2012 MLS Draft

SPORTS EDITOR

Published: Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 02:01

Photo by Simon Sulit/The Ram

Ryan Meara became the first player in Fordham history to be drafted by a Major League Soccer Club. Meara hopes to be the starting goalie for the New York Red Bulls by the start of next season.

 In today's current economic climate, most college seniors are worried they may not have a job after they graduate.

Fordham's Ryan Meara has no such problem. Meara, a four-year starter in goal for the Fordham men's soccer team, was taken by the New York Red Bulls in the second round of the 2012 MLS Superdraft on Jan. 12.

Meara capped off a splendid collegiate career with a record-setting senior season. The Rams went 7-2 in conference play and were crowned Atlantic 10 regular season co-champs. Meara broke the school record for most career shutouts with 31 and was named A-10 Defensive Player of the Year.

The selection was not much of a surprise for Meara.

"Growing up, my dream was always to play professional soccer," he said. "I think by my junior year I realized I had a chance if I kept working hard and playing well."

A Yonkers native and graduate of Fordham Prep, Meara is glad to be continuing his career close to home.

"It's amazing," he said of the opportunity to play locally on the professional level. "I was a Red Bull fan growing up. I used to go to the games when they were the [New York/New Jersey] MetroStars. Coming up to the draft I saw they had a pick in the second round, and I heard they needed a goalie. So in the back of my mind I was thinking it would be awesome if they picked me." Meara is currently the only goalkeeper on the Red Bulls' roster, though the club is expected to bring in at least one more before the season starts in March.

A story on Yahoo! quoted one source as saying Meara is "MLS-ready." Meara says he is prepared to step in right away if needed. 

"If they need me to, I'd love to start," he said. "I know they're probably bringing in two other goalies, just because you need to have two or three. I'll be trying to start; that's the goal. But I know being a rookie, and being a young guy, there's a good chance I'll be starting off on the bench as a backup. I'm fine with that too."

Meara hopes his selection can serve as a recruiting tool to help build the soccer program.

"I think we're an up-and-coming program," he said. "Ever since [Head Coach Jim] McElderry has gotten here, the team's gotten better every year. I think it's good just getting the name out with soccer people in the country. Hopefully it's good for recruiting. You can say, ‘We had a kid come through here and get drafted, and if you come here and play well, you'll have the opportunity to do the same.'"

Meara has already begun training with the Red Bulls in preparation for the team's first preseason game at the end of February. He's attempting to balance that with finishing his degree.

"I want to finish, just because I'm only a semester away, but I'll have to talk to the dean and figure that out," he said.

If soccer doesn't work out, Meara says he plans to pursue a career as a firefighter.

"Before the draft, I signed up for the City and the Yonkers fire department tests," he said. "If I didn't get drafted, I'd be taking the tests in February. It's something I'd still love to do at some point, but hopefully I'll have a long enough career where I'll be too old to be a fireman."

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