NEW YORK — One of the most heartbreaking, heroic and, ultimately, heart-warming stories in Major League Soccer this year was honored appropriately on Tuesday when MLS announced New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis as the 2013 MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year.
Reis, a 16-year veteran of MLS who has spent 11 seasons with the Revs, was thrust into a very different situation from the one he normally finds himself in. On April 15, 2013, he was in downtown Boston cheering on his wife in the Boston Marathon when two bombs exploded along the route. After the first bomb went off, Reis rushed toward the blast site to find and help his father-in-law, John Odom.
Using articles of clothing as make-shift tourniquets, Reis reduced Odom’s blood loss – an act that saved his life. In August, Reis raised more than $125,000 for the John Odom Recovery Fund at his third annual charity golf tournament and has paid tribute to his father-in-law’s recovery by wearing a warm-up jersey with the name "Odom."
On the field, Reis struggled early to find his usual top-notch form this season. He made two starts in March and then was dropped in favor of Bobby Shuttleworth. Then, after the marathon bombings, Reis took time off to be with his family.
Over the next few months, Odom made a miraculous recovery.
And upon return to the Revs, Reis played like a man possessed, starting 10 of the final 11 matches and conceding just seven goals. He helped the Revs book their first playoff berth in four years, and started both matches in the Eastern Conference Semifinals series against Sporting KC, which New England lost 4-3 on aggregate. In the second leg, he suffered a torn quadriceps and was subbed off late.