1989 MAC Hermann Trophy Winner
College: University of Virginia
Hometown: Kearny, NJ
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.
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.
He began play in MLS with the New York/New Jersey Metrostars. A trade in 1999 sent him to the Kansas City Wiz where he was named League MVP, Goalkeeper of the Year, and MLS Cup MVP as he led Kansas City to the championship. Meola finished his MLS career back with the Metrostars in 2006. He never officially retired though and signed a contract with the indoor New Jersey Ironmen in 2007. He was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2012.