MTV’s Jersey Shore returns for its 3rd Season of debauchery tonight. Along with a rich history of fist-pumping narcissists, the great state of New Jersey also has a rich history of exporting soccer players.
So to celebrate the phenomenon of Jersey Shore and Jersey Soccer, here’s a look at the best American soccer candidates to join the cast.
Giuseppe Rossi: Call him what you want. Traitor. Turncoat. Misunderstood. He’s a straight up baller and Jersey for life. The kid left Jersey for Italia at age 12. (You can take the kid out of Jersey, but you can’t take the Jersey out the kid.) Reality TV thrives on controversy and there’s perhaps no more controversial figure in American soccer than Mr. Rossi. And we know he’s not afraid to ham it up on the stereotype tip, as evidenced by this Villarreal Christmas video.
Tony Meola: A New Jersey soccer god, Tony can teach the young fellas how to kick it old school Jerz. (He knows a thing or two about hair and gold chains.) Never scared of a camera, or looking foolish, Tony undoubtedly misses the spotlight. And apparently he’s already at the shore, schooling his son’s U-12 squad in Tom’s River, NJ.
Danny Szetela: Danny “What’s your situation?” Szetela, once a promsing USMNT prospect, has vitually fallen off the soccer map. Exiled from MLS, last we heard he was trying to get a sniff on the Polish Riviera. New Jersey born and raised, he claims to be of Polish decent, but we all know you don’t need Italian blood to be a guido. (Bonus points because he played a year in Italy for Brecia) All that pent up angst of unfulfilled potential should provide for some TV magic.
Salvatore Zizzo: Sal gets the call on name alone. (despite his lack of Jersey roots) First class Italian-American stock here. He holds dual citizenship, but he’s semper fi. Sal stole our hearts in 2007 with his standout performance at the U-20 World Cup, which earned him a senior team call-up and interest from European clubs. Alas, our crush has since faded, after an injury plagued stint at Hannover in Germany. Now back at Chivas USA, and still only 23, there’s hope to rekindle that flame. Some GTL could do this Cali kid some good.
Also considered for inclusion:
Alecko Eskandarian: Not Italian (He’s Armenian), but he looks the part and he’s Jersey through and through. Plus, he’s got reality show experience. See episode 44 of Keeping up with the Kardashians.
Alexi Lalas: Yup, I know, he’s Greek, not Italian. Although, he was the first American to play in Serie A. And he’s also a New Jersey soccer legend. A three-time All-American at Rutgers, Lalas nearly led the Scarlet Knights to a National Championship in 1990, losing on penalites in the final. And let’s be honest, love him or hate him, Lalas is instant entertainment, just leave his mic on and let him go.
John Harkes: Again, not Italian, but a NJ legend worthy of consideration just for the likelihood he might sleep with someone else’s girl. Drama.
Jozy Altidore: Another New Jersey born non-Italian. Name alone though, homeboy could be a guido, right – Jo Altidore (say it like it rhythms with that’s Amore) from Jersey.