Photo by Sporting Kansas City/Gary Rohman
Another PDL alum has made his mark on Major League Soccer in 2017, as Sporting Kansas City’s Tim Melia has been named the league’s Goalkeeper of the Year.
Melia was announced as the winner of the honor late last week, running away with the vote in a landslide. Melia beat out fellow-PDL alums Stefan Frei and Alex Bono, Sean Johnson and Brad Guzan, as well as Jamaican starter Andre Blake by earning over 50% of the average vote from his fellow players, MLS clubs’ technical staffs and media.
Melia was a hugely deserving candidate, as the former Long Island Rough Rider led MLS in both goals-against average with 0.78 and save percentage with his 78.4 capping a standout statistical season. He also set career-highs with 31 appearances, 12 wins, 10 shutouts and 91 saves in 2017. As a result, Sporting Kansas City led MLS with just 29 goals conceded this season.
In goal, Melia was vital in the team’s 2017 U.S. Open Cup victory, winning a shootout against the San Jose Earthquakes before starting and winning the final against the New York Red Bulls. His win sees him join Sporting-teammate and fellow PDL alum Ike Opara as an MLS award-winner, as Opara captured the MLS Defender of the Year award earlier in the month.
A part of the United Soccer Leagues, which also operates the Division II USL, the newly-announced Division III league and Super Y League, the PDL has served as the proven stepping-stone for aspiring professionals.
Nearly 70 percent of all MLS SuperDraft selections since 2010 have PDL experience, including a total of 59 alums chosen in 2017. Among the many players to have played in the PDL before making their professional debuts include Newcastle United FC defender DeAndre Yedlin, 2017 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Tim Melia, 2017 MLS Defender of the Year Ike Opara and U.S. Men’s National Team members such as Darlington Nagbe, Brad Guzan, Geoff Cameron and Tim Ream.