Ryan Meara: A Local Product
For several years, Ryan Meara (MARE-uh) never seemed to make much of an effort to correct people when they mispronounced his name. He let his play on the soccer pitch do the talking for him. What the six foot five goalkeeper may lack in off field assertiveness, he more than makes up for with numerous jaw dropping saves and a natural ability to lead on the pitch. The 2011 Atlantic Ten Defensive Player of the Year makes his debut as the starting keeper for the New York Red Bulls when RBNY opens its season on the road against FC Dallas on Sunday afternoon.
Ryan’s story, in some ways, mirrors the story of former Fordham striker John Wolyniec. Both Wolyniec and Meara have numerous achievements chronicled in the Fordham record book, Wolyniec for scoring and Meara for his efforts in goal. Both are local players, with Wolyniec coming from Staten Island and Meara coming to Fordham and Fordham Prep from Crestwood. Wolyniec, who was cut before his first season by the then-Metrostars before an eventual return, was drafted with the seventh overall pick in 1999 while Meara will start on opening day after being taken with the draft’s 31st selection. Wolyniec knows better than most how difficult the transition to Major League Soccer is and what it’s like to play for New York after growing nearby.
Meara finished his Fordham career with 32 shutouts and owns nine goalkeeping records on Rose Hill. Beyond the play on the field, one only needs to hear how his former coaches (Fordham University’s Jim McElderry and Fordham Prep’s Peter McNamara) rave about his talent, attitude and personality on and off the pitch to see how valuable Ryan is to a program. Now the local product enters a new phase of his career, stepping up to the MLS and playing with the likes of superstars Rafa Marquez and Thierry Henry. His journey from the Fordham Prep junior varsity team to being the first goalkeeper taken in the 2012 SuperDraft is chronicled in Ryan Meara: A Local Product.