Friday, May 2, 2008

NJ Ironmen Tony Meola

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Press Release

For Immediate Release


John Archibald

Director of Communications

New Jersey Ironmen


Tony Meola pictured with Rafael Hernandez School Principal Juan Carlos Ruiz, Head Soccer Coach Albert Nguidjol and the Shark soccer team.

Newark, N.J. (Friday, May 2, 2008) - Throughout his illustrious career, Ironmen goalkeeper Tony Meola has played many roles. The former U.S. National Team Captain and Major League Soccer MVP has kicked in the National Football League and performed in an Off-Broaday improv play. Today, Meola added another title to the resume: School Principal.

The Newark Public Schools System held their 12th Annual Principal for a Day Program today, and Meola served as the honorary principal at Rafael Hernandez School. He spent time visiting classrooms and speaking with the wide-eyed students who call the Shark their mascot, and he sent a very inspiring message to all.

"I know that all of you have dreams of what you want to do with your lives," Meola told each attentive audience. "Regardless of what circumstances you may face in your life, always know that you can accomplish those dreams if you put in the work to make it happen."

Meola sat in for Juan Carlos Ruiz, the everyday principal at Rafael Hernandez School. One of the key highlights of the afternoon came when he was able to address the players of the first-year soccer program, led by former Cameroon Olympic Team Coach Albert Nguidjol.

Meola lettered in baseball, basketball and soccer at Kearny (NJ) High School. On the soccer field, he tallied 43 shutouts in three seasons while playing goalkeeper before moving to forward his senior year, scoring 33 goals. He then attended the University of Virginia on a soccer and baseball scholarship. Playing under head coach Bruce Arena, Meola received All-America accolades his freshman and sophomore seasons. He capped the 1989 season by winning the Hermann Trophy and the Missouri Athletic Club award as the top collegiate soccer player in the country, and the Cavaliers won a NCAA co-championship that season with Santa Clara. He was also a two-year letterman in baseball and was drafted by the New York Yankees.

After his sophomore season, Meola began to pursue a career as a goalkeeper with the U.S. National Team. He made his debut on June 10, 1988, against Ecuador, and his second cap was a victory over Peru to win the 1989 Marlboro Cup. He played every minute in goal for the national team in both the 1990 and 1994 World Cup, including a 2-1 victory over Columbia to advance to the second round in 1994. He again played for the national team in 1999 and earned his 100th cap in 2006.

Meola was a member of the New York/ New Jersey MetroStars from the inception of Major League Soccer (MLS) in 1996 until 1999, holding the initial league record with nine shutouts in 1996. He was traded to the Kansas City Wizards in 1999 and had a standout season in 2000. He shattered the league record by tallying 16 shutouts en route to being named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. He also led Kansas City to the league championship that year, and he was named MLS Most Valuable Player for the season and the MLS Cup. Meola remained in Kansas City until 2004 before returning to the MetroStars in 2005. In 2006 he was named to the MLS All-Time Best XI, and he played for the now-named Red Bull New York through that season. He joined the New Jersey Ironmen for their inaugural season in the Major Indoor Soccer League prior to the 2007-08 season.

The New Jersey Ironmen, operated by Jeff Vanderbeek and Michael Gilfillan of the NHL New Jersey Devils ownership group, recently completed their inaugural season in the Major Indoor Soccer League. The Ironmen play their home schedule at Prudential Center in the Downtown Core Redevelopment District of Newark. The Ironmen are coached by two-time MISL Coach of the Year Omid Namazi and Assistant Coach Kevin Sloan. For more information on the New Jersey Ironmen, visit


The Major Indoor Soccer League, a single-entity organization with a coast-to-coast presence, represents the major league of professional indoor soccer, featuring the finest indoor soccer players from 32 countries around the world. For more information on the MISL, visit the League's official website


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