May 28, 2013
Meara prepared to open up a new era for himself in Open Cup
By Kristian R. Dyer
|Ryan Meara: “I’m maybe a little nervous but it is all good nerves; more excited than anything to get back out there with the guys."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
BigAppleSoccer.com Contributing Editor
UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Ryan Meara, your time has arrived.
After a hip injury and subsequent surgery that shelved him late last summer, Meara is looking for his first competitive match since July 8 when he suffered the injury in a 2-0 loss at New England. Now his torn labrum is fully healed and with a successful rehab, he is now match fit.
Meara will start this Wednesday night when the Red Bulls host Reading United in a third-round match in the Lamar Hunt/U.S. Open Cup. He is hoping to build off his strong showing in the reserve match at Columbus a couple weeks ago.
“I’m maybe a little nervous but it is all good nerves; more excited than anything to get back out there with the guys,” Meara told BigAppleSoccer.com after training at Montclair State University on Tuesday. “I played in the reserve match but it is different when there is something at stake. We want to make a run at the Open Cup this year and we’ll have a good team out there tomorrow so I’m looking forward to it.”
Meara said that “Physically I feel 100 percent” and he has been pleased with his readiness for the match. It has been a long road back for the Red Bulls goalkeeper, who as a rookie started 18 matches for New York a season ago.
After the injury occurred in July, then head coach Hans Backe made it sound like Meara would return to training shortly and that he wouldn’t require surgery. Then week after week, the standout rookie failed to return to the field and the club finally traded for veteran Bill Gaudette and then acquired current starter Luis Robles.
All along, Meara said, he knew that the prognosis last summer was for him not to return.
“I don’t know where that came from but when I saw the doctor, he said it would take at least eight months. It is at least eight or nine months now,” he said. “It is one of those things that was tough to go through. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through.
It is part of the game, something that had to be done. I’m glad it is behind me.”
Not only was Meara a standout for the Red Bulls last season, but he was quite a draw in the stands as well. The Brooklyn native, Fordham University product and Yonkers resident always had a large contingent of fans who would bus and travel to Red Bull Arena to support the local boy gone pro. He said that he is already getting phone calls about tickets for Wednesday, meaning that his supporters will be out in force again.
And they already have a name.
“I heard ‘Meara’s Militia.’ I like that one,” Meara said with a laugh.