NY Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara declares for Ireland
New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara has pledged his international future to the Republic of Ireland, and could make his Irish under-21 debut later this month.
The shotstopper was chosen as the 31st pick of the 2012 Major League Soccer SuperDraft in January, the highest ranked goalkeeper selected. He had impressed NY Red Bulls scouts while playing for Jersey Express Soccer Club in the USL Premier Development League, the fourth tier of US football. Meara was voted the league’s goalkeeper of the season in his first year at the club (2010), and went on to make 28 appearances total in two seasons with Ironbound.
As well as lining out for Jersey Express, Meara had been a member of Fordham University’s varsity soccer team, the Fordham Rams, keeping 31 clean sheets in 78 appearances over three seasons, earning the conference Defensive Player of the Year award in 2011. He also had a brief spell at USL PDL side Long Island Rough Riders, as well as trials with English side Reading.
Despite only being drafted at the start of the season, Meara has immediately become Red Bulls’ first choice goalkeeper, helped by the fact that veteran German netminder Frank Rost retired at the end of last season. He made his MLS debut in March, and has played every game since for NY Red Bulls, keeping his first shutout on Saturday against New England Revolution.
The 6 ft 4 in goalkeeper was born in Crestwood, Yonkers, New York, but qualifies for Ireland through his grandparents.
Meara, 21, is expected to be named in Noel King’s Ireland u21 squad to face Denmark on May 28th and Italy on June 4th. Ireland take on Denmark in a friendly international before playing Italy in UEFA Under-21 European Championship 2013 qualifying. “We’ve been following him for a couple of months and then when he started their season as No 1, that was a big statement,” King told the Irish Independent. “He’s a big lad with good hands and he’s a strong kicker.
“He’s coming over for the games at the end of the month. We play Denmark in a friendly before the Italy match, and we’ll have a good look at him then.”
Meara’s New York Red Bulls will play Robbie Keane’s LA Galaxy side at 01.00 Irish time on Sunday morning.