Tony Meola

A goalkeeper who played in two World Cups and was captain of the U.S. team in one of those.

Meola played 100 full internationals for the United States between 1989 and 2006. Among those 100 caps were five World Cup qualifiers in 1989 and 2000, and seven World Cup games in 1990 and 1994.  Meola played all three of the United States’ games at the 1990 World Cup and all four of its games at the 1994 World Cup, where he was the U.S. captain. He also was a member of the United States squad at the 2002 World Cup.

Meola, who broke into the U.S. national team in the middle of World Cup qualifying in 1989, while he was still playing at the University of Virginia, was the national team’s regular goalkeeper from 1989 to 1994. During his peak years with the national team, he managed to keep his first-choice place despite the looming figures of two strong potential rivals, Kasey Keller and Brad Friedel. His greatest strength in goal was his amazingly fast reflexes. Perhaps his best game in goal for the United States was the 2-0 victory over England in 1993 in Foxboro, Mass., in which he made a series of spectacular saves.

Meola played 11 seasons in MLS between 1996 and 2006 for New York and Kansas City. He had his finest MLS season in 2000, when he captained the Kansas City Wizards to the MLS title. That year, he was the MLS most valuable player and goalkeeper of the year, as well as being chosen to the postseason Best XI. He also won a U.S. Open  Cup title with Kansas City in 2004 and in his MLS career played 250 regular-season games and 23 playoff games.

Meola also played one season in the APSL and two seasons in the NPSL/MISL II. He was a member of the U.S. team that won the first CONCACAF Gold Cup in 1991, as well as the U.S. teams in the 1992 Intercontinental Cup (the forerunner of the Confederations Cup) and the 1993 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Inducted in 2012.