US Men's Soccer Hall of Famer; Color Analyst for Major League Soccer
Tony Meola will go down as not only one of the greatest American goalkeepers, but one of the best American players of all time. Meola attended the University of Virginia on a soccer/baseball athletic scholarship. While at Virginia, he played under coach Bruce Arena. He earned first team All American honors both his freshman and sophomore years. On December 15, 1989, after leading UVA to its first National Championship, he announced that he was leaving the university to pursue a career with the U.S. national team.
Meola made his U.S. National Team debut on June 10, 1988, against Ecuador. He would play the majority of U.S. qualifying games for the 1990 FIFA World Cup, including the famous 1-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago which clinched a spot in the finals for the U.S. He then played every minute in goal for the US in the 1990 FIFA World Cup. Meola remained the keeper of choice for the U.S. national team from 1990 through the 1994 FIFA World Cup. At that tournament, his play and ponytail made him a recognizable face around the country. He earned his 100th, and final, cap in 2006. He was a three-time member of U.S.A. World Cup Team (1990 Italy/1994 U.S.A./2002 Korea-Japan) while competing with the United States Mens National Team.
Following the 1990 World Cup, Meola spent a short period of time in England playing for Brighton & Hove Albion and Watford before returning to the states to play for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Meola would then play for the Buffalo Blizzard and the Long Island Rough Riders until the inaugural season of Major League Soccer.
Meola burst onto the MLS scene at the league’s birth in 1996, starring in goal for the New York Metrostars. He made 90 appearances from 1996-1998 and led the league in shutouts with nine in its inaugural season. After the 1998 season, Meola was traded to the Kansas City Wizards where his success continued. In 2000, Meola had a career year in which he swept nearly every honor available. In addition to winning the league’s Most Valuable Player award and Goalkeeper of the Year, he proved a dominant force between the pipes for KC on their road to winning the 2000 MLS Cup. He led the league with 16 clean sheets and was named MLS Cup MVP.
After an injury kept Meola out of goalkeeping duty following the 2004 season, he was re-acquired by the Metrostars (now the New York Red Bulls) in June 2005. Meola was named to the MLS All-Time Best XI following the 2005 season, and he would make 35 appearances for New York from 2005-2006 before leaving MLS for good in 2007.
For his play, Meola was inducted into the United States Soccer National Hall of Fame in May 2012.
Since 1990, Meola has served as a broadcaster in various capacities. Meola currently serves as a Match Analsyt for AppleTV and FOX’s coverage of the MLS as well as can be heard daily on SiriusXM FC Counter Attack radio show a program he’s co-hosted since 2013. Meola has covered the World Cup as an Analyst for: TNT television network (1990), ESPN (1996), beIN Sports (2014), FOX (2018) and color analyst for the Chicago Fire FC (2020-2022). In addition to his World Cup duties Meola has participated in FOX’s coverage of the Champions League, Europa League, Major League Soccer, USMNT, U17 World Cup and U20 World Cup since 2015. Meola has also worked as a Television Analyst for Concacaf games including but not limited to Concacaf Nations League, Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League and Scotianbank Concacaf League as well as an Analyst for Y.E.S. Network in 2015.
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