Obscure Metro Files: Ken Hesse and Danny Barber
June 16, 2005

Can you recite the starting lineup of the Metros' inaugural game, against Los Angeles in 1996? Tony Meola; Nicola Caricola, Rhett Harty, Andrew Restrepo, Ken Hesse; Danny Barber, Mickey Kydes, Damian Silvera, Peter Vermes; Giovanni Savarese, A.J. Wood. Meola, Caricola, Harty, Vermes, Savarese, and Wood should ring the bell for almost every Metro fan. Silvera, the new Claudio Reyna (according to head coach Eddie Firmani), Restrepo, and Kydes might all be a subject of this column in the future. (Although can anyone think of something to be said about the last two?) But... Ken Hesse and Danny Barber? Who?

Hesse and Barber were drafted by the MetroStars in the Supplemental Draft, instituted by MLS for players who signed with the league after the inaugural draft took place. The Metros made a lot of trades (including dealing their top college draft pick that gave DC Eddie Pope) to end up with six out of 30 picks, the top two in every round. The first two selections were Caricola and Edsucko Rodriguez (who came on as a sub in that inaugural game and assisted on the lone Metro goal and... well, he is the worst Metro ever, but this article is not dedicated to him). The 11th and 21st picks were spent on two Brazilians, Juninho and Tulio, but not the Juninho who played at Middlesbrough and not the Tulio who lit up the Brazilian league in scoring, but some other Juninho and Tulio from low division Brazilian teams; two players who never made it out of training camp. But the 12th and 22nd picks were used on Hesse and Barber, respectively.

Frankly, we don't remember much of that inaugural game to comment on Hesse's and Barber's play. Both went 90 in a 2:1 loss, and both distinguished themselves so much that they were cut from the roster almost immediately. In the next game, the traumatic loss to New England in which Caricola distinguished himself so much, newly-signed Cristian Da Silva wore a jersey said said "HESSE 4" on the back. And that was the last anyone saw of that name, as far as Metro is concerned.

Hesse went on to play in the A-League for Orange County and bounced around a number of indoor teams, most of them in California. Barber, an indoor all-star (how we love the combination of those words) has been wearing so many different jerseys that... Well, we could care less to count.

So why did these two entrench themselves in Metro history? How did they go from starters to castoffs in one week? Was it Firmani's incompetence or a case of indoor players overmatched with the real game? The answer might be lost into the even more Obscure Metro Files.

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