MESSING, SHEP (1949– ), U.S. soccer goalie. Messing was born in the Bronx, the third of five children of Elias, a lawyer, and Anne, a teacher. The family moved when Messing was two to Roslyn, Long Island, where he was a wrestling, soccer, and track & field star at Wheatley High School, setting a county record in the pole vault at 13 ft. 6 in. and winning the county championship in soccer his senior year in 1967. He spent two years at New York University, being named to the All-American soccer team his second year. After tasting his first international competition as goalie for the U.S. Maccabiah team in 1969, Messing transferred to Harvard College, graduating in 1972. After playing for the U.S. Pan American team in 1971, Messing was the starting goalie on the U.S. Olympic team at the 1972 Munich Games. He signed with the New York Cosmos, playing one game in 1973 and eight games in 1974 before leaving for the Boston Minutemen for the 1975 season. He led the league that year with six shutouts. The following season Messing returned to the New York Cosmos, helping to lead them to the championship in the Soccer Bowl in 1977. A flamboyant goalie who once posed for Playgirl magazine, Messing was in the forefront of the late 1970s soccer boom in the United States. He played with the Oakland Stompers in 1978 and with the Rochester Lancers in 1979 before retiring from the North American Soccer League after appearing in 120 games for four teams. He then played six seasons for the New York Arrows of the Major Indoor Soccer League, leading the team to the championship in the league's first four seasons of existence. Messing rejoined the Cosmos in 1985 when the team switched to the misl, his last season playing professionally. After retiring, Messing began a career in broadcasting. He is the author of The Education of an American Soccer Player (1978).
[Elli Wohlgelernter (2nd ed.)]