Tim Melia made his 100th appearance for Sporting KC on Sunday, April 8 and he celebrated it in a big way with one of the best games of his career. He delivered a thrilling performance to rack up a regular season club-record 10 saves to help propel Sporting Kansas City to a 2-0 road win over the LA Galaxy. Melia made four of his career-high 10 saves from shots inside the box and also completed 31 of 32 passes in his own half.
Melia’s performance earned him the Audi Player Index Performance of the Week with 1,119 points - the best in MLS.
We sat down with Tim Melia ahead of the 2018 season and we don’t think there is a better time to put him in the soccer spotlight – he’s already in it!
How much motivation does it give you to hear the passion of the crowd while you’re playing?
It’s everything. Our Children’s Mercy Park is electric. It’s one of the best environments – in my opinion - in the league. It’s not the largest in terms of numbers, there are stadiums that hold more people, but those fans come out to every game, they are committed, they are loud, they motivate us and it’s a really cool environment.
What is your pre-game routine?
I start off pretty easy – I’ll sleep in a little bit longer the day of the game, especially if it’s a night game. I’ll wake up and have the same breakfast as usual, I’ll go back to sleep, and then I’ll eat the same pre-game pappardelle chicken and pasta pink sauce. I’ll drive out to the stadium and get focused for the game. I don’t listen to my own music anymore, because there is very loud music always going on in our locker room.
How you keep it fun on the long days?
Not a lot of people can say that they love to do what they’re doing every day and I’m appreciative of that. I know that I’m out there playing soccer for two hours a day and that keeps things light.
What is your training schedule like both in season and off season?
During the season it’s a little different, everything is geared toward making sure you’re 100% mentally and physically prepared for the games. It’s doing as much as you can without taking the risk of becoming injured or fatigued for the game. Most importantly, you have to make sure you’re ready for the game. If you have to skip a few things or lighten the load during the week, that’s more important to be sharp for the game. In the off season it’s all about building everything back up. Building that base to make sure you’re strong enough and healthy enough for the whole season.
What advice do you have for young players that want to play in MLS one day?
Start with what you know – start with your club team, and play as much as you can. Play on a team that maybe isn’t the first team or A team, if you have to go down to the B team to make sure you’re playing and getting those minutes. That’s more important than being on the best or most elite team as a youth.