While at UCLA, Charleston Battery defender Mike Zaher appeared in a music video with teenage pop star JoJo.
When confronted with the evidence, Mike Zaher can only roll his eyes and shake his head.
Even after five years, the Charleston Battery defender knows it's useless to deny it. He's come to realize that a decision he made in college will probably haunt him the rest of his life.
"You'd think after four or five years people would forget it, but they don't," Zaher, 25, said. "There's really nothing I can do about it. I guess I'm just going to have to live with it the rest of my life."
Who knew that starring in a music video with a teenage pop singer could have such long-lasting consequences?
"Everyone has some skeletons in their closest," Battery team captain Stephen Armstrong said, laughing. "Mike's is just a little bigger and played out on a national stage."
Zaher has heard it all over the past five years and takes the ribbing in stride.
"Of course they've given me a hard time about it," Zaher said. "Every team I've ever played has found out about it, and the banter and joking starts. It's the same everywhere."
Zaher was a sophomore at UCLA in the spring of 2006 when soccer coach Jorge Salcedo announced that a pop singer was going to come by and shoot video of the Bruins practicing.
The singer turned out to be Joanna Noelle Blagden Levesque, also known as JoJo.
JoJo was dating American soccer sensation Freddy Adu at the time and wanted to do a soccer theme video for her song, "Too Little Too Late."
"It was right before the 2006 World Cup, and I think that along with her dating Freddy had a lot to do with the theme of the video," Zaher said.
After practice, one of the casting directors asked Zaher to hang around and read a couple of lines into the camera.
"I didn't think anything about it," Zaher said.
The following day, he got a call back from the director. JoJo wanted him to be her boyfriend in the video.
"Even then, I had no idea what I was getting myself into," Zaher said.
For three days, Zaher and the pop star went around the Los Angeles area shooting scenes that would appear in the video.
"It was all day for three straight days -- it was pretty intense," Zaher said. "We had to take all these pictures in different clothes, so it looked like we'd been dating for a while. Then we went to the Rose Bowl and Universal Studios. We went to all the big tourist attractions in town."
The video made its world debut on MTV in the fall of 2006. The single and the video quickly became a favorite as the song eventually landed at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
For the next three months, Zaher couldn't escape the song or the video.
"Oh my God, it was everywhere," Zaher said, laughing. "I must have heard the song 100 times a day for the next year. I would walk into the locker room and they would play the song."
Opposing teams and fans took special delight in mocking Zaher and the video during matches.
"We got to the final four that year, and the Maryland fans were especially brutal," Zaher said. "They played the video at halftime of the national championship game. It was like I couldn't get away from it."
That wasn't even the worst part. Zaher was to be paid approximately $8,000 for doing the video, but couldn't accept the money under NCAA rules.
"I filled out a W-2 form and everything," Zaher said. "That's a lot of money when you're a college kid."
Despite all the jokes, Zaher has no regrets about being in the video.
"Absolutely none," he said. "Trust me, the guys who give me the hardest time about being in the video are the ones that would have loved to have been in my shoes."
Zaher said he has kept in touch with the former pop star over the years.
"We talk every once in a while," Zaher said. "She's a great girl. She's got a tremendous amount of talent."
And when he hears the song these days?
"Hey, it's a good song," Zaher said. "It was a great experience."