Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia named MLS Comeback Player of the Year

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia has been voted the 2015 MLS Comeback Player of the Year, Major League Soccer announced on Wednesday.

The Comeback Player of the Year is selected through league-wide voting of media members, MLS players and MLS executive staff. The award honors a player who has overcome injuries or adversity in order to achieve success during the regular season.

“Any time you win a League award it’s a great honor,” Melia said. “Comeback Player of the Year is an individual award, but so much of the credit has to go to my teammates who always gave 100 percent and put our team in a position to succeed. I look forward to building off this past season and helping the club win many trophies in the future."

Melia, 29, was a breakout performer during his sixth MLS season in 2015 after previously backing up MLS All-Stars Nick Rimando at Real Salt Lake and Dan Kennedy at Chivas USA. He did not appear in any regular season matches for Real Salt Lake from 2010-11 and started five games for Chivas USA from 2012-2014. Melia was waived by Chivas USA in July 2014 and served as a League Pool Goalkeeper during the latter half of the year, receiving emergency call-ups from Sporting KC (August), FC Dallas (October) and D.C. United (November).

Melia signed for Sporting Kansas City ahead of the 2015 season and earned a starting role in May. He notched his first career MLS win on his club debut and became the first goalkeeper in MLS history to record six shutouts in his first nine League matches for a new team. He ended the year with nine clean sheets and a 15-8-5 record in all competitions as Sporting Kansas City made its fifth straight appearance in the MLS Cup Playoffs. He also made two saves in a penalty shootout win over the Philadelphia Union in the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final.

Among MLS goalkeepers, Melia finished third with a 72.6 save percentage while also ranking in the top 10 in wins, shutouts and goals against average despite serving as a backup in March and April. He was a six-time member of the MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week and was named MLS Player of the Week on Oct. 5 after starring in a 1-0 victory over the Portland Timbers two days earlier.

Melia is Sporting Kansas City’s fourth Comeback Player of the Year in team history. Tony Meola won the award in 2000, Chris Klein was a two-time recipient in 2002 and 2005, and Eddie Johnson took the honor in 2007.

Player (Club) % of Club Votes % of Media Votes % of Player Votes Weighted Total
Tim Melia (SKC) 10.91 30.99 15.34 57.24
Diego Valeri (POR) 17.31 15.49 19.32 52.12
Wil Trapp (CLB) 17.31 11.27 8.52 37.10

MLS Comeback Player of the Year Winners:

2015: Tim Melia – Sporting Kansas City 
2014: Rodney Wallace – Portland Timbers
2013: Kevin Alston – New England Revolution
2012: Eddie Johnson – Seattle Sounders FC
2011: David Beckham – LA Galaxy
2010: Bobby Convey – San Jose Earthquakes
2009: Zach Thornton – Chivas USA
2008: Kenny Cooper – FC Dallas
2007: Eddie Johnson – Kansas City Wizards
2006: Richard Mulrooney – FC Dallas
2005: Chris Klein – Kansas City Wizards
2004: Brian Ching – San Jose Earthquakes
2003: Chris Armas – Chicago Fire
2002: Chris Klein – Kansas City Wizards
2001: Troy Dayak – San Jose Earthquakes
2000: Tony Meola – Kansas City Wizards

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