Sports Preseason Spotlight Presented by Children’s Mercy: Goalkeeper Tim Melia
As momentum builds towards Major League Soccer’s 26th season in 2021, Sporting Kansas City players and coaches will look to lay the groundwork for another successful campaign when preseason training takes place this month. here in Arizona.
With newcomers joining familiar faces for the 2021 preseason presented by Children’s Mercy, SportingKC.com launched the “Sporting Preseason Spotlight” web series to familiarize fans with the goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and forwards who will help Sporting Kansas City compete for silverware in 2021. Find out more about each player and visit the series archives at as it expands, visit SportingKC.com/Spotlight.
Sporting Kansas City’s illustrious history has seen a number of goalies shine between the posts. Tony Meola was a colossal figure in the early days of MLS, leading the club to its first MLS Cup. Kevin Hartman made a three-year stoppage in Kansas City when the Wizards played at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. Jimmy Nielsen brought Sporting to a new era at Children’s Mercy Park, solidifying its legendary status with a Lamar Hunt US Open Cup and MLS Cup title.
Tim Melia had big shoes to fill when, in 2015, the longtime MLS replacement was named Sporting starter. For the next six years, the goalkeeper has been the centerpiece of one of Major League Soccer’s greatest stories. From League Pool Guardian to MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, the late-blooming Melia is one of the best in the business.
You’d be hard pressed to find a better underdog story. After starting his professional Second Division career with the Rochester Rhinos in 2008 and 2009, Melia made the jump to MLS at Real Salt Lake, where he supported eternal MLS All-Star Nick Rimando. After brief loans with the Charleston Batter and FC New York, Melia spent three seasons with now-defunct Chivas USA from 2012 to 2014. He made just six MLS appearances during that time, without a win. neither shutout, before becoming League goalkeeper in the second half of 2014.
Melia’s career path changed two days before Christmas at the end of 2014 when he signed for Sporting. By May of the following year, he landed his first starting job in MLS, a job he has yet to give up. The New York native has won two Lamar Hunt US Open Cup titles, led Sporting to five playoff appearances and has become the club’s all-time goaltender leader in appearances, wins, shutouts. and stops.