Messing, Shep : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Messing, Shep

Messing was possibly the most flamboyant American goalie in history, and probably the only one to pose for Playgirl. An All-America goalie for Harvard in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he played for the U.S. Pan American team in 1971 and the U.S. Olympic team at the 1972 Munich Games. Shep then became a top professional in the NASL (North American Soccer League) and MISL (Major Indoor Soccer League). He is currently the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Paragon Sports Group , an international sports firm.

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

Career Highlights:
After starring for the U.S. at the Pan American Games in 1971 and the 1972 Munich Olympics, Messing joined the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League in 1973; he was the first American to be receive a $100,000 contract in the NASL. Messing played one game in 1973 and eight games in 1974 before moving squads to the Boston Minutemen. He made his mark with Boston in 1975 by registering six shutouts. The following year, he returned to the New York Cosmos and helped lead them to a victory in the Soccer Bowl in 1977. Messing played in the league until 1979, appearing in 120 games for 4 teams;

After leaving the NASL, Messing spent six seasons playing 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 first four seasons of the league. Although he never played for the full U.S. National team, Shep had 10 caps for the B-team. In 1993, he was inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame (located in Commack, New York) and was named a "Jewish Sports Legend of the 20th Century" by the Hall of Fame.

Shep, who used to bring his pet boa constrictor to practice in college, wrote the acclaimed book, The Education of an American Soccer Player. In 2000, he was a nominee for Newsday's Long Islander of the Century. In March 2000, Shep joined the NY/NJ MetroStars broadcast tea, as the voice "down on the field" during home games (played at Giants Stadium). In 2002, he was in the broadcast booth for MetroStars games.

New York

Career Dates:
Shep played at Harvard University. He then played professionally in the NASL for the New York Cosmos in 1973-1974 and 1976-1977; for the Boston Minutemen in 1975-1976; with the Oakland Stompers in 1978, and with the Rochester Lancers in 1979.

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Also, read a chapter from The Jew in American Sports by Harold U. Ribalow and Meir Z. Ribalow