[UPDATE] The New York Red Bulls defeated Toronto FC, 3-1, to clinch spot in MLS Playoff.
YONKERS (PIX11) -- The New York Red Bulls look to clinch a spot in the MLS playoffs this weekend.
Scott Stanford sat down with Ryan Meara, a native New Yorker helping to make that happen.
“I think being a goalkeeper always came a natural to me," Ryan Meara said. "I played a lot of basketball growing up and I think a lot of the skills translate over.”
23-year-old Ryan Meara grew up in Yonkers and attended Fordham University.
“My senior year of college there was the test for the New York City Fire Department and I was signed up, ready to take it,” Meara explained.
A career choice near to his heart.
“Me and my brothers, we grew up at the firehouse," Meara said. "My father, my uncle they’re both still working, my uncle’s in Manhattan, my dad’s in the Bronx and my grandpa was a fireman for 25-30 years.”
He never took that test.
In January 2012, The New York Red Bulls selected Meara with the 31st pick.
“When my name got called by them I’ll never forget that moment, it was great!” Meara remembered. "It’s a team that I grew up watching as a kid. So it really is a dream come true.”
An impressive campaign quickly made him a contender for Rookie of the Year. But, a hip injury sidelined the rest of his season.
“It put me out probably 10 or 11 months," Meara said. “It was definitely tough for the time going through the whole thing. Just getting your bearings back and little things, positioning, that stuff took some time but I definitely think I’m back to where I was if not better.”
And his hard word has not gone unnoticed.
“It’s not only physically, but it’s mentally coming back from something like that especially at such a young age," Red Bulls manager, Mike Petke said. "I think that Ryan has done a phenomenal job.”
“The way I’ve always looked at soccer is I just want to take it as far as it can possibly take me,” Meara said. “You know I’m 23, I’d like to think that I have a lot of years left in me.”
Years he hopes to continue spending in New York.
PRODUCED BY: KIM PESTALOZZI