Nashville SC

Nashville SC closes 2022 SuperDraft by taking Akron GK Will Meyer, passing in third round

Although UCLA defender Ahmed Longmire was the headliner of Nashville SC’s 2022 MLS SuperDraft, the Boys in Gold didn’t stop there. General Manager Mike Jacobs used the 10th pick of Round 2 (No. 38 overall) to select Akron goalkeeper Will Meyer.

The 6-2, 205-pounder was at Louisville for four years, redshirting in 2016 before contributing for two seasons, and then sitting out 2019. He played 15 games – starting 14 of them – for the Cardinals in 2017 and 2018 combined. He faced 42 shots, saving 31 of them for a save percentage of .738. He was the goalkeeper of record for an 8-3-3 mark.

Upon arrival at Akron, he immediately took the top spot between the pipes for the Zips (who traditionally rank among the nation’s elite men’s soccer programs, though they’re in the midst of a down spell). In 882 minutes in the Covid-affected 2020-21 season, he made 27 saves and allowed 15 goals for a save percentage of .643. This past Fall, he played every instant (1696 minutes and 54 seconds worth, in fact) for Akron, allowing 20 goals on 65 shots against for a .692 save percentage.

Let’s go to the film:

At just 6-2, he’s outside of Nashville’s typical “huge keepers” wheelhouse, but he has the explosive leaping ability and reasonably strong reaction time to cover net like a bigger keeper. His positioning and decision-making before the opponent takes a shot have room for improvement (though obviously those are areas that professional-caliber coaching is designed to improve). He’s mostly a play-long distributor, which is obviously fine with Nashville tilted that way, as well.

With two keepers under contract in Joe Willis (who has played every competitive minute in Nashville SC history) and Elliot Panicco – plus the club remaining in negotiations with last year’s No. 2, Bryan Meredith – Meyer may have an uphill battle to make the final roster, though signing and a loan to a USL club for development is a possibility. He’s turning 24 in May, so he is only eligible for a Reserve Minimum salary for one year. He’ll either prove himself a guy who sticks in MLS long-term, or has trouble cracking a roster in year two.

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