Today Major League Soccer announced Sporting KC's own Tim Melia as the 2015 Comeback Player of the Year. Each club submitted nominees for the award that were then voted on by "MLS club management, media, and MLS players." Tim beat out Portland's Diego Valeri and Columbus' Will Trapp for the honors.
His story from MLS to league pool keeper and back to MLS became well known after immediately impressing. Tim never looked back when given the opportunity to start at the beginning of May. He not only worked hard everyday to put himself in a position to start again, but he proved to be one of the best keepers in all of MLS this season.
Melia finished with a 72.6 save percentage, good for third in the league. He was named to the Team of the Week 5 times and was THE Player of the Week once as well. When I try to think of all the points the guy saved his team over the course of the year, I realize SKC were lucky to have the season they did.
With Luis Marin struggling find his form and even just communicating with the back line, Melia brought in stability and confidence. He is quick off the line and he knows it. That would have been enough for most Sporting fans when you consider his past and the fact he was brought in to be a backup. But Tim went above and beyond everything anybody could have dreamed of. He covered so many mistakes from an inexperienced back line and made saves that he had absolutely no business saving.
I must admit even after a couple months into his campaign, I was questioning how long it can last and what the team will do about the position next season. But Melia has shown his worth and he's earned himself another deal. He's got a fantastic mentality and work ethic, exactly what youngster Jon Kempin needs to be learning from. But he also has the skills between the posts for another great Sporting KC run next season.
Voting results and highlight reel