The New England Revolution roster includes players from all over the world with different backstories based on their unique experiences in soccer and life. The pro athletes were born in eight different countries and range in age from 18 to 38 years old. In this CSNNE.com series, members of the Revolution share insight into their world and offer perspective into their experiences as Major League Soccer players.
In this edition, goalkeeper Matt Reis talks about the perception of soccer players, perks of the job, and the celebrity look-alike … well, sort of.
Name: Matt Reis
Birthplace: Atlanta, GA
MLS clubs: Los Angeles Galaxy (1998-2002), New England Revolution (2003-Present)
Career standout stats: 283 games played - 25,120 minutes - 1,093 saves - 373 goals against
With 15 years of MLS experience, Reis knows the work and dedication necessary for a successful career. At the same time, he realizes it doesn't always show in soccer players' physical stature like it does in athletes from other pro sports.
Don't be fooled, he advises. In this case, appearances can be deceiving.
"The biggest thing is with a lot of the other sports, you can kind of tell who they are just by looking at them," Reis said. "For soccer players, a lot of them are ordinary looking guys and they blend in really well. I think a lot of people don't realize how gifted a lot of these guys are and it kind of goes by the wayside. You talk to a lot of people and they say, 'I played in high school. I could probably come out for your team and make it.' But they don't realize everything that goes into it.
"With basketball and football, the guys are usually physically a lot bigger than everybody so say they can't (do what they do). But you look at Ryan (Guy), you look Diego (Fagundez), and people go, 'Oh they're tiny little people and I probably could knock them over.' But obviously they're good at what they do."
Reis doesn't always blend in, though. He says his bald head garners misidentification of a wellknown figure from a completely different line of work.
"People say I look like Howie Mandel. They usually think I do gameshows," he said with a laugh. "Fortunately for me, I have a hairstyle that makes me kind of stand out from everybody else. I'll get noticed and people will say, 'You look like the goalie from the Revolution.'"
Being the goalie from the Revolution affords him perks he would not have with a more traditional job. In this role, the father of three can enjoy the team's schedule while they are not on the road.
"I think the biggest perk is the hours of day," Reis said. "We're done by one o'clock, two o'clock every day. It allows me to go home and help out (because) we're done and home early. Part of what we do, we have to recover and we have to get healthy again and do it all again the next day. But we don't have a nine-to-five. We don't have to go into an office every day and do the quote on-quote grind.
"We also get to do what we love."
Whether people recognize him or not.