Report: Meara called in by Ireland U-21s (UPDATED)

Meara (Getty Images)

It would appear that Ryan Meara's rise from unheralded college goalkeeper to New York Red Bulls starter is just the beginning of his whirlwind year. 

According to the Irish Independent, Meara has declared his intent to play for Ireland and he will be called into the country's Under-21 national team later this month.

(UPDATE: According to, the Red Bulls have denied Ireland's request for Meara, and he will remain with the club during the international break for World Cup qualifiers. New York was not required to release Meara for the youth competition.)

"We've been following him for a couple of months and then when he started their season as No. 1, that was a big statement," Ireland Under-21 coach Noel King said. "He's a big lad with good hands, and he's a strong kicker."

According to the Independent, the 21-year-old Meara, who was born in the United States but reportedly qualifies for Ireland through his grandparents, would join the Ireland U-21s at the end of the month for a friendly against Denmark and a 2013 U-21 European championship qualifier against Italy on June 4. He is coming off a strong performance over the weekend, making five saves to secure his first clean sheet in a 1-0 victory over New England.

The Red Bulls are not obligated to release Meara for the Ireland camp, but they won't have any games during the stretch in which he would be called upon by King.


What do you think of this developement? Do you think the Red Bulls will/should release Meara for the camp?

Share your thoughts below.

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77 Responses to Report: Meara called in by Ireland U-21s (UPDATED)

  1. Steve McSteve says:

    Well. I did not see that coming.

  2. ben in el cajon says:

    What? Four minutes gone and no hate yet? Will we hate him more than Rossi because he’s a ‘keeper? Other reasons?

    Good luck Meara, and if you decide to stick with Ireland throughout your career, I hope you do well, but not as well as we do. You’re still American, just like Rossi and about 30% of the Mexican national women’s team.

  3. Vic says:

    If Fifa any any backbone whatsoever they would crack down on stuff like this. He was born and raised in America, he’s American. I had fish and chips last week can I play for Ireland?

  4. OmarVizquel says:

    That’s weird — I listened to Phish and watched CHiPs last week….

  5. c(note) says:

    haha, thats funny

  6. chris says:

    Im not mad that he chose to play for Ireland im mad that he has the option to play for them because of his grandparents

  7. Ryan Nanez says:

    just because you’re born and raised here doesnt mean you have to play for america. i was born and raised here, but my parents and allllll my other family are from spain so given the chance i’d want to play for them

  8. Sabella says:

    Why would he do that? He’s young enough to have an impact in the US program as Howard will eventually retire. Does he feel a connection with Ireland so much he would turn his back on his home?

    If I were a home grown international calibre player, nothing would be more satisfying than helping the US break barriers. Like beating Italy, like beating Spain. Like hopefully someday being on the first US team to win the World Cup. Dempsey, Donovan, Howard, Bradley etc can all be proud for the “firsts” they have achieved and will continue to achieve.

  9. CSD says:

    I could play for Italy because of my heritage and I would consider playing for them if the opportunity came up. I was thinking more like participating in an obscure sport in the Olympics since my soccer skills have always been minimal.

  10. 2tone says:

    Wow. Did not see that coming. Well, there goes a promising GK. Thast OK if there is one area the U.S. will continue to produce great players it wil be GK. With the emergence of Joe Willis at D.C. and MacMath at Philly that puts 4 young Goalies in the mix going FWD. Johnson, Hamid, MacMath, Willis. Not to mention Steve Clark at Honefoss in Norway so that puts 5 young goalies in the mix going fwd.

  11. Annelid Gustator says:

    Best of luck to him. Hope it helps him grow as a player and make a ton of money.

  12. Andrew says:

    From a career standpoint this makes a lot of sense for Meara. He hasn’t been integrated into the US youth setup at all and has guys like Hamid, Johnson, Cropper, McMath, Guzan, etc., ahead of him in line as contenders for potentially replacing Tim. If he wants to play internationally and there’s mutual interest between he and Ireland (and he’s eligible), more power to him.

  13. CSD says:

    If he gets an Irish passport and plays for their national team his job opportunities in a relatively short career (longer than field players) will be greatly increased. It is not goal keeping that is stopping the US from winning a World Cup at this point in player development.

  14. Harp says:

    This is about more than just sport, it’s about patriotism, pride, and love for your country. If the report is true he can go f**k himself.

  15. CSD says:

    You are now eligible for the California Stoner games.

  16. uksubs says:

    insert next german-american flavor of the week.

    he was born in germany, raised in germany. he’s german.

    it hurts, uh?

  17. Vic says:

    So you feel a bigger connection to a country you never lived in over a country you were born and lived all your life?

  18. Vic says:

    If we are going to lose players I’m in favor of gaining players, its only fair. However, I would be in favor of Fifa having strict guidelines.

  19. BSU SC says:

    He is no where near the calibur of the current crop of USMNT goal keepers. Remember, RBNY wanted Luis Robles as their GK until the MLS league office got in the way. This is not a loss at all for US soccer. Best of luck to him…unless he ever plays against the USA.

  20. MMV says:

    Do the Irish have a clue that he’s Larry Bird’s double?

  21. Poo says:

    Why should he catch hate…as it looks now, his chances to play for the USA are very low. Rossi on the other hand would have been a surefire starter, and likely star of the national team.

  22. Poo says:

    He will be 22 in Nov or Dec. How does he play in the 2013 U21s?

    I guess the answer is FIFA is wacky

  23. Brian says:

    Well more than likely this won’t end up hurting us. Bill Hamid and Sean Johnson didn’t look so great in Olympic qualifying, but I think at least one of them will turn out into USMNT goalkeeper starting material. Even if they don’t turn out, our current goalkeepers still have some tread left on the tires. We will have Tim Howard through at least the 2014 World Cup, if not the 2015 Gold Cup and the 2018 World Cup too. Brad Guzan will most likely be the chief backup for Tim, and might even get a shot at being the starter come the 2018 World Cup.

    Best of luck to Ryan Meara. I think he could be a starter in Europe some day. I think his decision to play for Ireland is not because he doesn’t have any interest in playing for the USA, but because he doesn’t think he’ll ever get a shot to play for the senior USMNT. Can’t really fault him for that.

  24. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    This has less to do with FIFA then it does with Ireland’s immigration laws. If someone holds an Irish Passport, they’re Irish….
    You’re not really proposing that FIFA set immigration laws are you?

    Omar…Very funny!

  25. Brian says:

    Well he can play in the friendly and the euro qualifier for the Ireland U21s at the end of this month because he’s not 22…yet. He won’t be able to play in the U21 European Championship for Ireland in 2013, obviously, because he turns 22 in November.

    This call-up is probably just to get him acquainted with the Irish national team system and to show him that they’re are interested.

  26. The Imperative Voice says:

    He wasn’t an All-American (even third team) or even a MLS first round pick (31st, 2nd round). If he’s done well it’s almost in spite of his paper pedigree. While I think good GKs are usually already good young, it takes some GKs time to mature and while field players are peaking in their late 20s many GKs are just getting rolling.

    Which means I’m not surprised Meara is off the US radar and in 5 years or so we’ll know better if Ireland has pulled a steal by ducking in for Meara. It bears reminding they also once beat us to the punch on Joseph Lapira, who these days is bouncing around from Norway to Indonesia and back, and couldn’t even make the Houston Dynamo on trial. NY’s defense stinks but 1.75 GA/game, if unimproved, might not keep you a MLS job even behind a lousy defense.

  27. The Imperative Voice says:

    It’s also worth making the George (Giorgos?) John point that until they put him on the field it’s not a done deal, and at U21 I’m not even sure if that’s a senior cap tie, or would bar a Jermaine Jones switch ….. assuming he even develops into something worth using.

    Of course, this could also be an Andy Najar/Giuseppi Rossi done deal just the same.

  28. Conrad says:

    I think you mean that if someone has an Irish grandparent, he can claim Irish citizenship. (Obviously, if someone holds an Irish passport he is Irish, unless he’s Jason Bourne.)

  29. Mike says:

    QFT. As a Red Bulls fan, Meara can go to hell. What happened to all that New York pride? Gonna be an FDNY firefighter? Ha. **** off.

  30. otergod says:

    there are also several young US goal keepers abroad as well. I’m not concerned here.

    Best of luck to the kid. I hope he cracks the senior squad.

  31. Joe+G says:

    FIFA does have some pretty strict guidelines (more so than a number of other sports). He has the citizenship (anyone with an Irish grandparent should be able to get Irish citizenship — so it’s nothing unusual).

    He’ll still be eligible to play for the US until he plays in an “official competition” at the senior level.

  32. Joe+G says:

    Unfortunately, you have to choose and there’s no way of knowing which will be the best option. It’s tough to do to a young man or woman, but them’s the rules. He could be waiting around for years for a full US cap.

  33. Joe+G says:

    He won’t be cap tied to Ireland. That will only happen in a senior team competition (not a friendly). He’ll be able to switch back to the US — if he has to apply to change will depend upon the type/level of competition.

  34. Madoua05 says:

    For the record, the comparison of Meara to the German-Americans doesn’t carry any legitimacy. The German-Americans actually have an American parent. So, even though they’ve been raised in Germany, they have a direct linkage [in my eyes] to the good, ole US of A.

    Meara on the other hand, is one step removed from the land of leprechauns and four-leaf clovers.

    In my eyes, that makes his connection flimsy, but what do I know. FIFA thinks its legit.

  35. Marcus says:

    You mean New Jersey pride, right?

  36. Joe+G says:

    An one big difference is that US citizenship laws don’t extend to grandparents (except in a limited application done before age 18). If it did, we’d be trolling Europe & Mexico for more players.

  37. YO says:

    If this guy is better than Hamid and Johnson, then, it could be a loss. We all know about Hamid and Johnson!

  38. TomG says:

    Fish and chips? Isn’t that more of an English signature dish? Try that one again.

  39. Vic says:

    I would propose the following: in order to represent a country you either need to be born in that country or have spent a plurality of your life in that country before age 18.

  40. B1879 says:

    Yes. They’re big Celtics fans.

  41. Aaron in StL says:

    These days I think it’s much less about a connection these guys feel with a place, rather where they think they will be able to play more, gain more exposure and hopefully a bigger contract / lucrative move in their professional careers.

  42. chris says:


  43. Jay Walk says:

    Granted Vuolo could and looks like will fill his spot, but there are US Open Cup games to be played at the time.

  44. Tyler says:

    Newsflash: He’s not better than Hamid & Johnson.

  45. Jose Is A Translator says:

    Sorry but I can think of 5 keepers just off the top of my head in his general age bracket between him and Timmy Howard. With that said good luck to him if he go farther in the Irish set-up.

  46. WendellGee says:

    So…what exactly is the problem that this is trying to solve?

  47. Joe+G says:

    Naturalized citizens need not apply?

    Might as well go back to the days when France capped any youth player with a dual citizenship (thus tying them forever). Current rules give smaller countries a chance to catch up more quickly or not be devastated by out-migration. And it gives dual nationals more opportunity.

  48. Conrad says:

    How about this.
    Chances that Jurgen Klinsmann had Ryan Meara on his radar yesterday? 50-50?
    Chances Klinsmann knows exactly who Ryan Meara is today?100%.

  49. ditto says:

    Jermaine Jones, Terrance Boyd, Danny Williams, Fabian Johnson and a host of others say hello to you, Vic.

    Is this guy serious? lol

  50. Air Jordanz says:

    Chances Klinsmann Cares: 0% (Would be lower if possible)

    Howard, Guzan, Rimando, Kennedy, Hall, S. Clark, Hamid, S. Johnson, Z. MacMath, D. Yelldell, F. Pina, etc.

  51. dhines says:

    why would you hate a guy that has zero chance to play for the USMNT? if he could start (or even compete) for the national team, and chose to go somewhere else . . . he would be a traitor, at this point he is just a guy trying to improve his career.

    Nothing wrong with that.

  52. dhines says:

    feel sorry for you bud. But with freedom comes the right to make choices that others don’t agree with. Me personally, a person playing for a country they weren’t born, raised or even lived in is like leaving your wife to shack up with your buddy’s wife.

  53. dhines says:

    implied in the above comment is that you could play for the USMNT . . . but if the USMNT rejects you (like this goalie), no harm no foul.

  54. Vic says:

    So when we see USA vs Portugal we actually see USA vs Portugal instead of USA/Germany/Norway vs Portugal/Brazil. I remember in 1994 when USA did well people said these are mostly foreigners on the USA team doing well. If we do well with players born and raised in a different country, American critics will have a valid point. I’m not saying we shouldn’t play foreigners if others do it, however, Fifa should make better standards.

  55. Vic says:

    Did they say hello to me in German?

  56. b says:

    Not only is he not, but he is not even better than the group of guys who are not better than Hamid and Johnson.

  57. b says:

    Yelldell is terrible, I would take Meara over him. But the rest, sure.

  58. PCFC says:

    You guys are sad individuals. USA #1. If I can’t make that team, then I look elsewhere. If you choose Spain or Italy over USA, you are a tool and a disgrace. You deserve Rossi hate.

  59. Chris says:

    Not if your father was an American serving in the military on an American military base stationed in Germany…this makes more sense than someone who is granted citizenship thru marriage ie Darlington Nagbe come Dec ’12.

  60. Joe+G says:

    He still has to wait 3 more years for citizenship, even after getting married.

  61. Weaksauce says:

    Id take this guy over bill hamid or sean johnson

  62. Ted Nugent says:

    1. wah wah wah. The rule is that if you are a citizen and not cap-tied, then you can play. wah wah wah. Get over it. This is a country of immigrants, stolen from the natives by immigrants, built by immigrants and grown by immigrants.

    2. Guess what. If you are married long enough and live here long enough, you will be eligible for citizenship. Get over it. It’s a good rule which can protect spouses and children in some circumstances.

    3. Let’ say I lived outside the USA due to work for several years. Would it be fair to my son and daughters to say you can’t play for the USA because you were outside the country for too long? Guess what; they don’t have another passport.

    The stupidity that goes on here…

  63. The Imperative Voice says:

    If Cooper and Wolff’s trips to the B.2 weren’t enough, as well as plenty of history of mediocre Americans in the German minors who can’t cut it when they come back, the performances of Yelldell and Robles in goal when given their chances based on German B.2 efforts underline that there’s the B.1 and then….everything else. Just being in Germany or being part-German doesn’t make you awesome…..[right, Wooten fans?]

    I’ll be interested to see what transpires with Meara because he’s not that awesome and Ireland might now have no chance to see him before a U21 Euro-tourney short of a senior callup. Something may have to give…does NYRB really need a 1.7 GA/game keeper every week? Does Ireland really give a darn? A friendly might have seemed a harmless callup to try the kid but now you might have to roster him for the big show sight unseen……hmmmm, will they do it? How bad you want to steal our thunder?

  64. BrianK says:

    Really? I suppose you gents didn’t watch the Olympic qualifying. Hamid and Johnson looked like keepers from the Honduran 4th division.

  65. BrianK says:


  66. Brian says:

    I said acquainted. Not cap tied. Even though he won’t be playing in this upcoming qualifier with the Ireland U21s (since NYRB won’t release him), I believe that since he is over 21, if he were to have played in this U21 Euro Qualifier or if he plays in any other Ireland official match at some point, that he would have to file a one time switch to play for the USMNT.

  67. GW says:

    Mr. Vic,

    In order to play for the US, under FIFA rules, you have to have an American passport.

    I am assuming you are a native born American because you clearly do not understand how difficult it is to get a US passport if you are not native born.

    It is possible that getting a passport for any number of other countries is much easier.

    But if you are concerned about how “easy” it is for others to play for the US, you are sadly misinformed.

    In fact, the stringent requirements for getting a US passport still has the USMNT at a disadvantage relative to many other countries in this era of dual nationals.

  68. Call Up Lichaj says:

    Not a single one of your three points is related to this case.

  69. Older & Wiser says:

    Crap him!

  70. Seriously says:

    That pretty much sums it up. If you’ve got no shot with the US by all means try your luck elsewhere. If you would start and call yourself an American then you should play for the US. If you call yourself American why would you play for another country? That makes no sense at all… This is why everyone hates Rossi.

  71. CR says:


  72. Arsenalkid700 says:

    Lapara actually just played in the 2nd Division in India. He was horrible to say the least.

  73. Todd says:

    Who cares…non story

  74. mitchitized says:

    “Well then, if he wants to go play for someone else than Umurrica, then screw him.”

    Some of you guys are doing a smashing job of making us all look like dumb hicks. There’s nothing wrong with national pride, but we need to take it down a notch.

    There’s a lot more to this than just a team wanting a goalkeeper for a friendly. Who knows why they tried to call him up, OR why NYRB turned them down?

  75. Joe+G says:

    For dual nationals, it is sometimes (literally) like choosing between your mother and your father. Rossi was born here, but everything I’ve read said his family was planning on returning to Italy anyway. No need to hate on him because the rules say you have to chose and no turning back.

    I expect Meara’s choice was more opportunistic than emotional, but there’s no need to harbor any resentment toward the guy. He won’t be cap tied for a while, so there’s always a chance we get him back.

  76. Joe+G says:

    I look at this situation (and others like Najar and Faguendez) as wins for the US. It only serves to demonstrate there is good talent in the US and it’s worthwhile for the top teams to invest time and money finding and developing it. More eyes on American talent (citizen or not) means more opportunities for players to get into the toughest playing environments and further develop their games.