New-York Historical Society's Bill Shannon Dictionary of New York Sports

Shep Messing

Shep Messing (Soccer. Born, Roslyn, NY, Oct. 9, 1949.) Although he earned his greatest recognition during his years as the goalie for the Cosmos in the North American Soccer League, Shep Messing is a man of many parts who has been often brilliant, sometimes controversial and always a competitor. Messing graduated from Harvard with honors in 1972 and the next season made his first appearance with the Cosmos, playing one game. After more part-time play in 1974, he was traded to Boston where he was the N.A.S.L.’s leading goalkeeper in 1975 and was re-acquired by the Cosmos the next season after an injury to Bob Rigby. He was a regular on the 1977 team that won the Soccer Bowl in Pele’s final season. He then shifted his attention to indoor soccer where he spent six seasons with the New York Arrows, based in the Nassau Coliseum, when the club was the dominant team in the Major Indoor Soccer League. He was the first-team MISL goalie three straight years, 1979-81 and played on four championship teams (1979-82). He also played briefly with the Cosmos’ indoor team in 1983-84. Messing performed the unusual trick of being a regular player and the club president of the New York Express when that franchise joined the M.I.S.L. in 1986. In his six seasons with the Arrows, he won 104 of 153 games in the net while his 15 saves against Toronto on July 7, 1976 (in a 3-0 win) was a Cosmos club record. His total career saves (313) is the second highest ever for the Cosmos. He has also been a television commentator on soccer.

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The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel. We welcome public and scholarly contributions and suggestions.

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About Bill Shannon

A prolific author, wire service sports reporter, long time Major League Baseball official scorer, football statistician, sports museum founder, theatrical agency owner and public ... read more

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