Here's to hoping that the rumor reported about Tony Meola returning to MLS for the 2009 season is true. Meola was always one of the good guys throughout the 1990s when the U.S. soccer setup rose from a backwater collegiate group of kids to a full-fledged semi-player on the world stage.
I'll never forget around the start of the 1990 World Cup in Italy a televised puff piece about Meola's father closing his shop, hanging the sign -- "Gone to World Cup." Even with the tragic 90s mullet/ponytail Meola always seemed like a genial face you could rally your support behind, even if he did goofy things like trying out with the New York Jets as a kicker. (Some of these forays helped me nickname him "Biff.")
Apart from adding a familiar face to MLS, Meola's possible return sheds a light on the goalkeeping situation in the league. It was reported this week that San Jose is considering letting standout Joe Cannon walk to a club in Norway for a couple thousand dollars of salary. Hopefully Meola's return wouldn't be for a club looking for a player on the cheap.
In any event, it would be something for the 2000 MLS MVP to return the same week it was confirmed the current MVP -- Guillermo Barros Schelotto -- will come back for the 2009 season with champion Columbus. Schelotto might have left, but the club ponied up designated player money so the Argentine ace will be back another year. Perhaps if the two pass in the dressing room halls they can discuss hair care techniques.