Goalkeeper Ryan Meara joined his teammates on the training pitch Wednesday morning in Bradenton, FL for the first time since season-ending surgery in 2012. We caught up with Ryan to see what he had to say about getting back out there, overcoming his injury, and revving up for the new season.
Day 1 of preseason training was a chance for you to finally get back into the mix of things with the team since your season-ending surgery last year. Must’ve felt pretty good to get back out there again.
Yeah, definitely. I think it’s the first time I’ve trained with the team since about the end of August. So it felt good to get back with everyone, train with the guys, and just see everyone back on the field. It’s something I worked hard for over the offseason and I’m happy to be back out here.
You were diving around the goal again a little bit, going through some exercises – overall, how do you feel?
It feels good. So far, so good. The main thing is to just – obviously you want to push yourself – but for me coming back from an injury, you don’t want to push too hard too soon. It’s a long preseason and a long season, so just to be smart, work hard, but not push it too much.
A lot of guys coming back from injuries talk about how it’s still in their heads. Is that the case?
You know, I think before you get back on the field, maybe a little bit. Maybe a couple of nerves. But once you hit the field, start moving, touching the ball, all that goes away. You get more and more confident.
So it’s safe to say you’re 100 percent physically, just need to get back to match fitness?
Yeah, just about. Getting there. Hopefully the next week or two I can get a base of fitness and just push on from there.
At this point in the season it’s just running, conditioning, and stuff like that, but what are you looking forward to the most as we approach the new season?
I think just playing games at Red Bull Arena. We were great there last year. Just to get out and see the fans again, I’m really looking forward to that opening day vs. DC. I’m sure we’ll have a great crowd and it’ll be a good one.