Great Moments in US Soccer Hair #1: Tony Meola

We’re gonna start this series off with a no-brainer. Antonio Micheal Meola was the standard-bearer of soccer hair for kids across the nation in the early 1990s. At his peak, he was one of two players the average kid on the playground could name (Pele being the other…Tatu ran a distant third), and I believe that this was almost entirely due to his extravagant mane. The key to Meola’s hair is contrast–the difference in length between the buzzed/spiked top and the flowing back. It’s not a normal hairdo that’s a bit longer in the back. It’s almost completely shorn in front and a good 12 inches long at the business end. That’s nearly a 24 to 1 ratio. Chew on that for a minute.

For this reason, Meola served as inspiration to youth soccer teams everywhere. You couldn’t simply grow out your hair for a month and then shave the front and call yourself a soccer player. It took time and dedication. And for that dedication, we salute Tony Meola today.

Fun fact: Did you know that before Tony Meola was an off-Broadway actor, he was a place kicker for the New York Jets? And before that, he moonlighted as a goalkeeper for the United States soccer team for much of the 90s!

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