Matt Reis is a legend. The 38 year-old goalkeeper owns every New England Revolution team record for goalkeepers and ranks near the top of MLS in several categories as well.
Now after a 16 year career including the last 11 with the Revolution, Matt Reis has announced his retirement from professional soccer.
"I have been truly blessed for the past 16 years," Reis said in a statement. "I've been able to do something that I love - play soccer for a living. There have been many coaches who have influenced my development and helped get me to this point, and I have played with some fantastic players, many of whom are friends for life. I have played for two amazing organizations over the years. Both of those owners, the Kraft family and Mr. Anschutz, are deeply committed to ensuring soccer thrives in the United States. Because of their guidance, MLS has come a long way in the last two decades, and I am very proud to have played my whole career in this league and with these teams. I also want to make sure the fans know how much I'll miss them, too. They've made this amazing ride more fun to be on through the years.
Reis, a Mission Viejo, Calif. native, started his soccer career at college with UCLA and with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 1998-2002 before being traded to the Revolution in 2003. After one year as a backup, Reis was the Revs number one keeper from 2004 until his retirement this season. Reis is a 4-time MLS All-Star, 4-time finalist for Goalkeeper of the year, 6 MLS Cup appearances including MLS Cup champion with LA in 2001, 2-time United States Open Cup champion (2001 - LA, 2007 - NE) and 2008 CONCACAF SuperLiga champion with the Revs.
"Trading for Matt Reis was one of the best acquisitions the Revolution has ever made," said Revolution Investor/Operator Robert Kraft. "On the field, he was an elite MLS goalkeeper who set every career goalkeeping record in club history. He was a respected leader, both on the field and in the locker room, for more than a decade. He quickly became a fan-favorite and, for much of his career, was one of the faces of our franchise.
Reis closes his playing career as the Revolution's all-time leader in goalkeeper appearances (254), goalkeeper starts (253), goalkeeper minutes played (22,697), goals against average (1.31), wins (93), saves (989), shutouts (66) and saves percentage (72.3). He also finishes his career ranked second in the club's overall records in games played, games started and minutes played. At the league level, Reis concludes his career ranked in the top five in almost every career goalkeeping category: games played in goal (fourth, 282), games started in goal (fourth, 288), minutes played in goal (fourth, 25,936), wins (fifth, 110) and saves (fifth, 1,114). He was also sixth in shutouts (75).
"Matt has been one of the most outstanding and inspirational members of our club for a decade, and we want to thank him for all of his remarkable efforts, both on and off the field," Revolution president Brian Bilello said. "He's been a model representative of the Revolution and has helped us reach great highs during his time in New England. It's tough to see him end his playing career and know he won't be back out on the field next year, but we want to wish him and his family nothing but the best in the next stage of their life."
Reis would end his career with perhaps one of his best individual seasons in 2013, posting a 7W-0L-4D with a 0.72 GAA. It was time in MLS that a goalkeeper made more than 10 starts and posted an unbeaten record in a season. Reis missed time in the first half of the season to help his family after his father-in-law was severely injured in the Boston Marathon bombings.
"Off the field, he was a tremendous ambassador for the Revolution, participating in countless community events throughout New England and earning MLS Humanitarian of the Year honors this past season. We will miss his steadying presence on the field, his constant presence in the community and his quick wit in the locker room. We thank Matt and his family for their many contributions and wish them the very best in the future," Kraft said.
Reis was one of the Revolution's most active players in the community off the field. He was a four-time winner of the team's humanitarian of the year award, and capped his career with the 2013 MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year honor for his life-saving heroics and fundraising for a very special Boston Marathon bombing victim, his father-in-law, John Odom.
Active with children's charities throughout his career - especially Boston Children's Hospital - Reis got more involved in philanthropy later in his career by launching the Matt Reis Charity Golf Challenge. In three years (2011-13), Reis raised more than $350,000 for various charities, including Boston Children's Hospital, Grassroot Soccer, Multiple Sclerosis Foundation and the John Odom Recovery Fund.
Reis' consistent on-field performance in New England was noticed by the U.S. National Team. He made his National Team debut in 2006, posting a shutout in his international debut against Canada on Jan. 22, 2006. One year later, he earned his first international win with a 3-1 victory against Denmark. While he saw limited on-field activity for the National Team, he was a regular at National Team camp under Bruce Arena and was named as an alternate to the 2006 U.S. FIFA World Cup squad and was the third goalkeeper of the US squad that won the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Matt Reis' final game in the 2013 MLS Playoffs was ended by a torn quadriceps muscle, an injury that he had surgery for last month. But that is not how New England fans will remember him. They will remember the late season surge that propelled the Revs into not just the playoffs but as the third overall seed in the Eastern Conference. They will remember a career of highlight reel saves, repeated appearances in the MLS Cup and a person that both and off the field that will only rarely be equaled.
Matt Reis is a legend.