History of Metro captains
March 13, 2020
So, no games for a month (at least). No signings for... who knows. (Paging Denis Hamlett! This team needs a proven striker, no?) So what's there to discuss? Let's talk about the turbulent history of Metro captains... You can see the full list here.
Despite not being the biggest name on the roster, Peter Vermes was named the inaugural captain before the first season. The forward-turned-defender was best known for his shootout goal against DC in the playoffs. He would play out that series, but did not make it to 1997, traded to Colorado for draft pick Kerry Zavagnin. New coach Carlos Alberto Parreira handed the reigns to Tony Meola.
The ponytailed goalkeeper captained for two years, before a blockbuster trade to Kansas City. Meola and the clown Alexi Lalas were sent to the midwest for Mike Ammann and Mark Chung. This meant that the original Metro, Tab Ramos, was named captain. He played a total of five games in 1999.
Ramos would stay captain through his retirement in 2002, but due to his many injuries, the armband rotated at will. Mark Semioli, Thomas Dooley, Lothar Matthaus, Mike Ammann, Daniel Hernandez, Tim Howard, and a few others all led the team without an official designation. When Ramos hung up his boots, new coach Bob Bradley chose newcomer Eddie Pope to be captain for 2003.
Pope captained the team in every game during his two seasons with Metro. Before the 2005 season, he was shipped to expansion Salt Lake for an allocation. Bradley named Amado Guevara captain... but in midseason, "El Lobo" pouted, and World Cup winner Youri Djorkaeff took over.
New coach Mo Johnston had a brilliant idea in 2006: tri-captains! Meola was back by then, so he, Djorkaeff, and Chris Henderson were supposed to rotate game-to-game. We're not sure how many times Henderson actually wore the armband, as it quickly reverted to just Meola and Djorkaeff... but, by the time the dust settled, Bruce Arena was in charge, and Guevara was back to captain.
The Honduran was dumped to Chivas USA, but Arena's perfect replacement came on board: Claudio Reyna. Probably New Jersey's second best midfielder of all time followed in the footsteps of the state's first, Ramos, and didn't exactly stay healthy. After six games in 2008, he mercifully retired, and Juan Pablo Angel was given the armband.
Angel led the team through his own departure after 2010, when the successor was obvious: the one and only Thierry Henry. The French ubermensch brought back red and black stripes with his Metro-inspired armband and then captained the team to its first Supporters Shield in 2013. He retired after 2014, and new coach Jesse Marsch named Dax McCarty captain.
The Ginger Ninja promptly got us our second Shield, but was sold after 2016 to Chicago, beginning the current cycle of captain turnover. Sacha Kljestan only lasted one year, dumped to Orlando after 2017. Luis Robles did one better, but Metro's all-time leader in all goalkeeping categories was let to go Miami after 2019... but not after the team's third Shield a year earlier.
So, now it's up to Sean Davis to continue the legacy. Turbulent legacy...