What do Brad Friedel, Tim Howard, and Kasey Keller all have in common? First, they are all American goalkeepers; and second, they've all played in Europe. There is one American goalkeeper, however, that has stuck with MLS ever since he was drafted into the league. That man is Matt Reis, goalkeeper for the New England Revolution.
Reis made a name for himself in college, when he was goalkeeper for UCLA. In the 1998 MLS College Draft, he was picked third in the last round by the LA Galaxy. However, he didn't see much playing time because the Galaxy had Kevin Hartman as their keeper.
In 2002, Reis was traded to the Revolution for a draft pick. Once again, he started as a backup. However, he broke through and got the starting job midway through the 2004-2005 season. From then on, Reis would go on to prove that he was the goalkeeper of choice for the Revs. He has been a finalist for the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award twice, in 2005 and 2006; and has helped the Revs win a couple competitions, including the US Open Cup in 2007 and the Superliga in 2008.
I was able to contact the Revs and received permission to interview Matt Reis by email. I want to thank the Revolution and Matt Reis for taking the time to do this.
1. Question: Where do you see the league in five years?
Matt Reis: “I see it expanded into quite a few other markets and spread all the way across the country. I think that we’re making small steps. We will get this next collective bargaining agreement done and the players can their rightful share of the pie and we can kind of grow the league together.”
2. Question: Internationally, the United States has a reputation for solid goalkeeping. Tony Meola, Tim Howard, Brad Friedel, Kasey Keller, etc. What is it about soccer in America that produces such quality goalkeeping?
Matt Reis: “I think it’s a fact that Americans play a lot of sports that involve hand-eye coordination: a lot of football, basketball, baseball, volleyball. When kids grow up, they grow up playing a lot of different sports, and it helps just in your hand-eye coordination. As a goalkeeper, you not only need to be a good soccer player, you have to be a good athlete.”
3. Question: Do you think that MLS clubs need to concentrate on bringing in more homegrown talent or bring in other foreign players?
Matt Reis: “I think it’s a mix of both. I think it’s important to grow players in the United States and bring them along young. I think it’s important to identify young players and put them in situations where they can excel. I think it’s also important to bring in quality international players who want to be here, who want American soccer to succeed and who are still viable even if they are into their 30s.”
4. Question: What would you be doing if you had not taken up soccer?
Matt Reis: “I would be a beet farmer in Idaho.”
5. Question: What do you like to do when you’re not with the club?
Matt Reis: “I like to spend time back in California with the family and friends, doing stuff with my family and just relaxing.”
6. Question: Are you still known as the club jokester? I remember back in 2004, your little joke on April Fool's Day. I hear people sometimes bring that back up.
Matt Reis: “We have a lot of jokesters on the team, but I have passed the mantle on to some of the younger guys on the pranks. But you never know when another one is going to come. The key to a good prank is for the person not to know it’s coming. You can’t pull pranks all the time, because they’re going to expect it. You have to expect the unexpected.”
7. Question: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Matt Reis: “Still playing. Hopefully going on another streak of consecutive minutes played and have four or five MLS Championship rings.”
There you have it folks. Matt Reis has spoken. If you enjoyed this interview and would like another MLS player to be interviewed, just suggest him on the comment board down below and I'll see what I can do.