NASL's Jacksonville banks on Tony Meola

Hall of Fame goalkeeper Tony Meola, whose previous coaching experience since retiring as a player in 2008 was at the youth level, is the new head coach of the NASL's Jacksonville Armada FC.

Meola, who started for the USA at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups and won a title with Kansas City during his decade-long MLS career, takes over a team that finished in last place of the 11-team NASL in 2015 with a 8-7-15 win-loss-tie record.

The Armada had fired head coach Guillermo Hoyos, his assistants, and general manager Dario Sala in September after a five-game scoreless run and a 13-game winless streak on the road.

“In speaking with Tony, it became clear he knows what it will take for our team to become an elite competitor in the NASL and U.S. Open Cup,” said Armada FC owner and CEO Mark Frisch in a press release. “His vision and approach to style of play align perfectly with mine. Tony is a great student of the game and has played at a very high level. He has played for great managers and will know how to get the best out of players.

Meola won an NCAA title with Virginia in 1989, the same year who took over as starting keeper for the USA, which he helped qualify for its first World Cup in 40 years. He started all seven games for the USA at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups and was a backup keeper at the 2002 World Cup. After leaving MLS in 2006 he played two seasons with Major Indoor Soccer League’s New Jersey Ironmen before retiring.

In addition to TV work and co-hosting the SiriusXM radio show “Counter Attack” with fellow Kearny, N.J., product John Harkes, Meola coached his children’s teams at Berkeley SA and Toms River FC.

He also had stints as assistant coach with the U.S. U-15 boys national team and U-20 men’s national team. He coached youth ball, at Blue Valley SC, while playing with Kansas City, with which he was named MLS MVP during its 2000 championship season.

Eric Dade, who as interim head coach after Hoyos’ sacking guided the Armada to a 2-2-3 finish, will remain with the club as director of player development. Meola will also serve as technical director.

“It came at a time where I was ready to make this move, and I’m super excited to eventually get on the field with the team to see how we can take this to the next level,” Meola said. “All the research I did about Jacksonville pointed to this being the right move. It’s a first-class organization that does things the right way, and our plan is to continue to grow the club on several different levels.”

6 comments about "NASL's Jacksonville banks on Tony Meola".
  1. Lonaka K, November 25, 2015 at 7:38 a.m.

    Congratulations Tony.

  2. Richard Brown, November 25, 2015 at 8 a.m.

    I like it he is a winner. Alphose Mondello should be happy more and more of his players are getting into coaching.

    All he has to remember is tell his keepers not to cheat off the near post. That was always a problem for him :)

    This was agility drill that he always did in his warmup. Watch for it when he has the team.

    The coach rolls the ball between the keepers legs, and then the keeper has to turn and save it. Meola said he thought it was the stupidest drill ever... until it happened to him in a game and he turned and made the save! Great for keeper quickness.

  3. charles davenport, November 25, 2015 at 8:35 a.m.

    good drill! Was Arena his coach at Virginia?

  4. Richard Brown, November 25, 2015 at 12:09 p.m.

    I am not sure who taught him that. He was definately doing it under Mondello when Tony played for the Long Island Roughriders.

  5. Richard Brown, November 25, 2015 at 12:18 p.m.

    Arena was his coach at Virgina and arena was a keeper.

  6. Richard Brown, November 25, 2015 at 12:27 p.m.

    On arena he coaced the MLS all stars if I remember right against an English club team. They discussed the game the two managers decided they were going to take it easy defensively to avoid injuries in a game that meant nothing. You know what Arena did? He high pressured the English team the whole first half and built a big lead on them, That is when i first realized that I liked Arena. The losing coach if I remember right did not shake hands with arena at the end of the game.

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