Messing, Shep : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Messing, Shep


Country Represented:
United States

Years Competed:

Olympic Info:
Messing was the goalkeeper for the 1972 U.S. Olympic soccer team. In the qualifying round, the U.S. drew 0-0 with Morocco and lost to Malaysia 3-0, but Shep did not play in either of these matches. In their final match against mighty West Germany, Shep was the starting goalie; the overmatched Americans lost the game, 7-0.

Career Highlights:
Possibly the most flamboyant American goalie in history, and probably the only one to pose for Playgirl, Messing was an All-America goalie for Harvard in the late 1960s and early 1970s, before playing for the U.S. Pan American team in 1971 and the U.S. Olympic team at the 1972 Munich Games. The following year, he joined the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League; he was the first American to receive a $100,000 contract in the NASL. He played in the league until 1979, appearing in 120 games for 4 teams; he had six shutouts for the Boston Minutemen in 1975 and helped lead the New York Cosmos to a victory in the Soccer Bowl in 1977.

After leaving the NASL, Messing played for six seasons for the New York Arrows of the Major Indoor Soccer League; he was the first person to sign with the MISL when the league formed in 1978. He led the Arrows to the championship in the league's first four seasons of existence. Although he never played for the full U.S. National team, Shep had 10 caps for the B-team. He was inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame (located in Commack, New York) in 1993 and was named a "Jewish Sports Legend of the 20th Century" by the Hall of Fame.

In March 2000, Shep joined the NY/NJ MetroStars broadcast team, as the voice "down on the field" during home games (played at Giants Stadium). Shep, who in his college days used to bring his pet boa constrictor to soccer practice, wrote the acclaimed book, The Education of an American Soccer Player. He is currently the president and CEO of Continental Sports Management, an international sports firm that manages over 100 athletes in 14 countries. In 2000, Shep was a nominee for Newsday's Long Islander of the Century.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. Oct. 9, 1949

Roslyn, New York

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