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Meola's New Goal Is to Talk Game as Well as He Plays It

May 04, 2000|GRAHAME L. JONES

He was drafted by the New York Yankees but chose soccer over baseball.

He was in camp with the New York Jets but couldn't catch on as a kicker.

He appeared in an off-Broadway comedy but found stadiums more comfortable than stages.

He is a drummer in a band called "Mushmouth," he owns his own business and has his own Web site. He has been playing in Major League Soccer for five seasons and for the U.S. national team on and off for the last dozen years.

And now, at 31 and enjoying one of the best seasons of his career, goalkeeper Tony Meola is taking to the air.

Or at least the airwaves.

The Kansas City Wizard standout will host a weekly radio call-in show that, given Meola's propensity for calling it as he sees it, promises to be interesting.

"Wizards Soccer Hour With Tony Meola" will air on Thursdays from 6 to 7 p.m. on KKGM (1250) in Kansas City, Mo. Meola sees the show, to be broadcast from a local watering hole, as a step toward a post-soccer career in broadcasting.

"We're going to have fun with it," he said. "Our goal is to have our fans become close to Wizards players by really understanding who they are off the field. That's important. It's a brand-new show with a new station. Hopefully we will grow, and in doing so, help the Wizards grow in this city."


It's not every player who gets waived twice in the same season by the same team, but that's the fate that has befallen Iranian defender Mohammad Khakpour.

On Tuesday, the 32-year-old from Tehran was released for the second time in eight weeks by the New York/New Jersey MetroStars, whose ambivalence about players has made them a league laughingstock for five seasons.

Perhaps Nick Sakiewicz, the MetroStars' floundering general manager, might like to appear on Meola's show sometime and explain these comments:

* On March 6, when he first waived Khakpour, Sakiewicz said: "With the addition of Lothar [Matthaeus] this season, we feel we have significantly upgraded our backfield, and this necessary move is part of managing our salary-cap situation."

* On March 17, when he reacquired Khakpour: "I am happy to say that we have found a way to keep Khakpour. Khakpour filled in admirably in the back for our club last season and after some serious discussions we felt it was important that we find a way to keep Mohammad for the upcoming season."

* On May 2, when he again waived Khakpour: "We have decided that it's best for both parties involved to just part ways. . . . With the recent acquisition of Steve Jolley [from the Galaxy], accompanied with the return of Thomas Dooley [from injury], this move is essential to our goal of putting together a solid young nucleus for the future."

No wonder the MetroStars are 2-5 this season, were 7-25 last season and are 53-87 all time.


Newcastle United of England's Premier League will play MLS champion D.C. United on July 22 at RFK Stadium in Washington and the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, on July 26. "They're a great side with world-class players, and it will be a great challenge for us," said D.C. United President Kevin Payne. Newcastle is coached by former England national team coach Bobby Robson and features such players as England captain Alan Shearer. The game against the Crew will be part of the league's All-Star week. The MLS All-Star game is July 29 at Crew Stadium.

Miami Fusion defender Tyrone Marshall has been selected to play for Jamaica against Romania in a friendly match in Kingston on May 17. It will be Marshall's debut for the national team, which also features Fusion midfielder Andy Williams. Marshall, who has dual U.S. and Jamaican citizenship, helped Florida International University to soccer's final four in 1996. "It's been a longtime goal of mine to make the national team," he said. "Since I was here in the States, I didn't really have the chance to compete for a spot on the team that went to the [France 98] World Cup. I'm getting my chance now, and I'm looking forward to it."

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