TUKWILA, Wash. — Like any good rags-to-riches story, Bryan Meredith’s journey includes its fair share of ups and down.
The 22-year-old has already been cut, earned a paycheck while playing in a soccer backwater, worked his way back into MLS and now finds himself poised to start a second consecutive game for the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday at FC Dallas (8:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
HIGHLIGHTS: SEA 1, PHI 0
“He’s come a long way,” Sounders goalkeeper coach Tom Dutra told MLSsoccer.com. “He really had to go through what he went through last year to get to where he’s at now, which was being cut and having to earn that spot everyday.”
To get here, it’s taken an equal dose of good fortune and hard work.
The “good luck” is a relative term, of course. After being cut, Meredith was able to start right away for the PDL’s Kitsap Pumas — who are based across the Puget Sound from Seattle — meaning he often commuted to work via ferry because their other goalkeeper had picked up an injury.
While there, Meredith impressed, leading the Pumas to a league championship and putting a scare into the Sounders during the US Open Cup meeting. However he didn’t get another chance with the Sounders until Terry Boss’ concussion opened up a roster spot.
Shortly after signing with the Sounders, Meredith earned his first start, against Monterrey in the CONCACAF Champions League, when Josh Ford went down with an injury. This year, Meredith’s big chance came when injuries to Michael Gspurning and Andrew Weber cleared his path.
“I don’t have a voodoo doll at home or anything,” Meredith said while cracking a smile. “I come out working my butt off everyday, just like every other guy who comes out here. I think it’s well deserved.”
Meredith has made the most of his chances. He preserved the shutout after entering at halftime against the LA Galaxy in his MLS debut and earned his first solo shutout against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday. Neither the Galaxy nor the Union really tested his shot-stopping ability much, but Meredith did show a good command of his box by coming out on crosses and organizing the defense.
“He’s pretty sensible, if you can use that word for a goalkeeper,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. “He’s pretty calm. It was one of the things we liked about him when we drafted him and when we had him in our combine. We thought he was pretty steady. For me personally, I’ve always looked for goalkeepers that I think have a good presence in goal, and I think he has a good presence in goal. He looks comfortable, he looks like he belongs there, he looks like he’s in control.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.