The following story was published in the Revolution’s “Match Day” program for the October 15 home finale against the Columbus Crew
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – After a forgettable 2010 campaign in which he missed 16 games while rehabbing from a trio of major surgeries, goalkeeper Matt Reis’ primary goal was to make 2011 a bit more memorable.
While it was another tough season results-wise as the Revs missed out on the playoffs for the second consecutive year, Reis was able to claim a bit of individual silverware as the 36-year-old was named the Revolution’s Most Valuable Player for the second time in his career.
Reis – who claimed the honor by virtue of a fan vote – was leading the league in saves (111) and had recorded five shutouts as of early October, while the 14th-year veteran’s most impressive contribution may have been guiding a young backline often plagued by injuries and suspensions. But Reis’ personal favorite statistic was perhaps the most straightforward – 2,430 minutes played, representing the fourth-highest total on the team.
“It was nice to get back to not having to be in the training room and not having to do a ton of work just to get out and play,” said Reis. “For the most part – I would say 90 percent of the year – I was able to just do what I had done in the past and what I had found success with in the past.
“It’s nice to get through that tough time when you have to be in the training room and you have to take care of yourself,” he continued. “It is a learning process and I think I’m better off for going through it, but at the same time, it’s not what I’ve done in the past.”
One of those who benefited most from Reis’ return to form was rookie defender A.J. Soares, who was grateful for the direction and guidance Reis provided as he navigated his way through his first professional season.
“He’s seen everything,” Soares said of his goalkeeper. “He knows the league, he knows every single player, so he’s always giving me little tidbits and always reminding me to do the little details right. He’s also levelheaded. If I make a mistake, he’s building me up, not tearing me down. So it was definitely great to have him as a leader back there.”
If it’s up to Reis, he’ll be leading the Revolution from between the pipes well beyond 2011.
“This season didn’t go as well as we’d all like and hope in terms of the defense,” admitted Reis. “We gave up a lot of goals and I think we can definitely build on that, but it’s something that I’d like to do; come back next year and prove the doubters wrong that I’m over the hill.”