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U.S. MNT Earns First Victory Against Czech Republic to Open New World Cup Cycle

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (Sept. 3, 2014) – Midfielder Alejandro Bedoya scored a 39th-minute goal, Nick Rimando made four saves in the second half and the U.S. Men’s National Team earned a 1-0 victory against the Czech Republic at Generali Arena. It was the USA’s first victory against the Czech Republic.

The match also represented the first of a new cycle, with the USA’s long-term sights set on the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Bedoya, who played in all four matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, garnered his second goal with the U.S. MNT. Rimando and first-half goalkeeper Brad Guzan shared time in the net, with Guzan earning the 12th victory of his MNT career.

USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s young roster earned valuable international experience as three players made their MNT debuts: Joe Gyau with the start and Greg Garza and Emerson Hyndman as second-half subs. Gyau played the full 90 minutes. Julian Green, who scored a goal against Belgium in this year’s World Cup, earned his first U.S. MNT start.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Alejandro Bedoya (unassisted), 39th minute: Czech Republic midfielder Vladimir Darida lost the ball in the midfield on Peter Cech’s distribution and Mix Diskerud pounced on it to start the U.S. attack. Diskerud worked the ball just inside the box, shot from 17 yards out and Cech made the initial save to his left. The rebound popped out to Bedoya, who slotted it past Czech Republic defender Michal Kadlec into the open net. USA 1, CZE 0 (SEE GOAL) (FINAL)

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
CZE – Petr Cech, 17th minute: USA forward Joe Gyau, who made his MNT debut Wednesday, created the first legitimate scoring chance for either side by fending off Czech Republic midfielder Petr Jiracek and shooting with his right foot from outside the box. The rolling shot was headed to the right side of the frame, but Cech had no issues crouching over the ball for the game’s first save.

USA – John Brooks, 20th minute: Czech Republic midfielder Vaclav Pilar swung the ball to the left side to teammate Ladislav Krejci. Krejci had open space to cross a dangerous ball back across the edge of the six-yard box. Brooks alertly intercepted with a sliding, left-legged stop as the USA eventually cleared.

USA – Brad Guzan, 26th minute: Vaclav Pilar shot left-footed from about 20 yards out with the intention of finding the right side of the goal, but Guzan dove to his left and secured easily for his only save as he split time in goal with Nick Rimando.

USA – Nick Rimando, 60th minute: Czech Republic captain Tomas Rosicky’s suave chip over the USA defense landed perfectly to Ladislav Krejci on the left side of the box, and Krejci fired toward the far left post. Rimando reacted quickly with a left-footed save.

USA – Nick Rimando, 65th minute: Shortly after a mad scramble where the ball ricocheted between a pair of USA defenders, the Czech Republic had one more solid crack at the goal as Vladimir Darida fired from close range in the middle of the box. Rimando batted away Darida’s strike at the near right post to maintain the one-goal lead.

USA – Nick Rimando, 85th and 89th minutes: The Czech Republic continued to linger around the net, but Rimando come up big twice more down the stretch. In the 85th minute, Rimando turned away a right-footed shot by Radim Reznik that he played on a short hop. Then in the 89th minute, Rimando adjusted his body to deflect a close-range shot by Daniel Pudil.

Milestone Watch:

  • Brad Guzan earned his 12th victory. He ranks fifth on the USA’s all-time wins list.

Next on the Schedule:
The U.S. MNT hosts Ecuador at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, Oct. 10, at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut, followed by a match against Honduras at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Oct. 14, at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Florida.
Broadcast information: Oct. 10 – ESPN, WatchESPN and ESPN Deportes Radio; Oct. 14 – ESPN, WatchESPN, UniMas and ESPN Deportes Radio
Social: Twitter (@ussoccer; @ussoccer_esp); Facebook; Instagram
Tickets: Oct. 10 vs. Ecuador ; Oct. 14 vs. Honduras

Additional Notes:

  • The USA is now 6-3-2 in 2014.
  • The U.S. MNT is now 1-3-0 all-time against the Czech Republic and former Czechoslovakia.
  • U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s starting lineup featured Brad Guzan in goal and a defensive line of left back Timmy Chandler, right back Fabian Johnson and center backs John Brooks and Michael Orozco.
  • The midfield in the USA’s 4-3-3 formation featured Joe Corona, Mix Diskerud and Alejandro Bedoya.
  • The front line included Julian Green, Jozy Altidore and Joe Gyau from left to right.
  • To open the second half, Klinsmann brought in Tim Ream for Orozco and goalkeeper Nick Rimando replaced Guzan.
  • In the 63rd minute, Greg Garza made his MNT debut, replacing Chandler. Alfredo Morales earned his second cap and first appearance of 2014 when he entered for Diskerud. Brek Shea made his 27th appearance and second of the year, replacing Corona.
  • In the 67th minute, Emerson Hyndman earned his first cap when he replaced USA goal scorer Bedoya.
  • Altidore wore the captain’s armband. The U.S. MNT is now 2-0-0 in games with Altidore as the captain. His other match with the armband was the USA’s thrilling 3-2 victory against Panama on Oct. 15, 2013, to cap off the Hexagonal.
  • Gyau made his U.S. MNT debut and first start, following in the footsteps of his father Philip who earned six caps with the USA from 1989-91.
  • Green earned his first start and fourth cap.
  • Guzan made his second appearance of the year after splitting time with Tim Howard during a 2-1 victory against Turkey on June 1 in Harrison, New Jersey. Guzan now has 26 caps in his career.
  • Corona and Orozco made their first appearances of 2014. Both players now have 12 international appearances under their belt.
  • Ream earned his eighth cap and made his first appearance since USA’s 1-0 loss to Ecuador on Oct. 11, 2011.
  • The USA’s starting lineup featured eight players who represented the USA at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Five players saw time on the pitch during the tournament – Altidore, Bedoya, Brooks, Green and Johnson, who played in all four matches.
  • Johnson earned his 27th cap and his ninth of the year. His nine caps tie for the team lead with Matt Besler and Graham Zusi.
  • The USA is now 33-13-9 all-time under Klinsmann.

-U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report-

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Czech Republic
Date: Sept. 3, 2014
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Generali Arena; Prague, Czech Republic
Kickoff: 2:15 p.m. ET
Attendance: 12,642
Weather: 62 degrees, partly cloudy

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                        1 0 1
CZE                         0 0 0

USA – Alejandro Bedoya              39th minute

Lineups:
USA: 12-Brad Guzan (22-Nick Rimando, 46); 23-Fabian Johnson, 4-Michael Orozco (5-Tim Ream, 46), 6-John Brooks, 21-Timmy Chandler (3-Greg Garza, 63); 11-Alejandro Bedoya (8-Emerson Hyndman, 67), 15-Joe Corona (13-Brek Shea, 63), 10-Mix Diskerud (2-Alfredo Morales, 63); 7-Joe Gyau, 17-Jozy Altidore (capt.), 16-Julian Green
Substitutions Not Used: 9-Jordan Morris, 14-Rubio Rubin, 18-Bobby Wood
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

CZE: 1-Petr Cech; 2-Pavel Kaderabek (17-Radim Reznik, 46), 5-Vaclav Prochazka, 3-Michal Kadlec, 8-David Limbersky; 22-Vladimir Darida (9-Borek Dockal, 79), 19-Petr Jiracek (13-Lukas Vacha, 46), 10-Tomas Rosicky (capt.); 6-Vaclav Pilar (12-Milan Petrzela, 46), 7-Ladislav Krejci (11-Daniel Pudil, 69), 20-Matej Vydra (14-Daniel Kolár, 46)
Substitutions Not Used: 4-Marek Suchy, 15-Ondrej Mazuch, 16-Tomás Vaclik, 18-Tomas Horava, 21-Josef Sural, 23-David Bicík
Head coach: Pavel Vrba

Stats Summary: USA / CZE
Shots: 7 / 10
Shots on Goal: 5 / 5
Saves: 5 / 4
Corner Kicks: 4 / 5
Fouls: 8 / 5
Offside: 1 / 4

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Alfredo Morales (caution)              90th+1 minute

Officials:
Referee: István Vad (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: Róbert Kispál (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Vencel Tóth (HUN)
Fourth Official: Petr Blažej (CZE)

Budweiser Man of the Match: Alejandro Bedoya

  • DateWednesday, September 3, 2014
  • VenuePrague, Czech Republic
  • Kickoff2:15 PM ET
  • Attendance12,642
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Photo Gallery: U.S. MNT Defeats Czech Republic 1-0

Photos from the USA's 1-0 victory against the Czech Republic in Prague to open the 2018 FIFA World Cup cycle.

Fully Recovered Striker Altidore to Captain USA for Second Time

U.S. Men’s National Team forward Jozy Altidore has been itching to get back on the field for the past two-and-a-half months.

Altidore, who injured his hamstring in the opener of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, is fully recovered heading into Wednesday’s international match against the Czech Republic in Prague.

“It feels great. I’m so excited to be back,” said Altidore, who leads the current USA roster with 71 caps and 23 goals. “I want to get on the field and help the guys put out a positive performance.”

During Tuesday’s press conference, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann named Altidore the captain for Wednesday’s game. It represents the second time that Altidore will wear the armband. Altidore’s other international match as team captain was on Oct. 15, 2013, during the USA’s dramatic come-from-behind 3-2 victory against Panama to cap off the Hexagonal.

U.S. Men’s National Team to Face Czech Republic on Sept. 3 in Prague

CHICAGO (March 17, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s National Team will travel to face the Czech Republic on Sept. 3 in Prague, marking the first match for the United States following the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Details for the first meeting between the teams on Czech soil will be announced at a later date.

“While we are focused on preparing for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, we must always look ahead and therefore we are thrilled to get this match against the Czech Republic,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “Historically, they have a very good team, and they are going to be preparing for a huge challenge against the Netherlands in their opening game of qualifying for the European Championships, so we expect this to be a tough match and another good benchmark for our team.”

The United States will be seeking its first victory against the Czech Republic. The USA is 0-3-0 in the all-time series that began at the 1990 FIFA World Cup. In the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the Czech Republic collected a 3-0 win in the opening group match. Most recently, the teams met in the Send-Off Series for South Africa as the U.S. fell 4-2 on May 25, 2010, in East Hartford, Conn.

The Czech Republic has reached the World Cup finals on nine occasions, twice advancing to the championship final. Backstopped by Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech and led by team captain and Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky, the Czech Republic finished in third place in its qualifying group for Brazil behind Italy and Denmark. The Czech Republic been drawn into a challenging Group A in qualifying for the 2016 European Championship and opens the campaign on Sept. 9 at home against the Netherlands.

The MNT will continue its long rivalry against Mexico when the teams square off April 2 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. (TICKETS). Kickoff for USA-Mexico, presented by AT&T, is set for 8 p.m. Arizona Time (11 p.m. ET), and will be broadcast live on ESPN2, WatchESPN, UniMas and ESPN Deportes Radio. Fans can also follow the match live on Twitter @ussoccer.

JK Q&A: Klinsmann Closes the Book on 2014 and Previews 2015

After finishing off the 2014 slate with a pair of friendlies against Colombia and Ireland in the United Kingdom, U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann sat down with ussoccer.com to discuss the state of the team as it sets sail on the new 2018 World Cup cycle.

ussoccer.com: Having thoroughly reviewed both games, what are the key points you take away? To what extent are the results important? 

Jurgen Klinsmann: “Results are always important because results over time bring you confidence and give you more respect towards opponents and other countries watching you. But, on the other hand, playing these games in another environment, especially far away from the United States is always a learning curve. It's an experiment where you can bring in players who never really experienced this type of atmosphere or circumstances. Therefore it was two very important games where I hope the players took a lot with them at the end of the day.” 

“Obviously for us coaches we saw a lot of things we want to see and also a lot of things we don’t want to see, especially in the 4-1 loss to Ireland. There were too many individual mistakes, especially on the second and third goal, that you can’t afford on the international level.”

“I still think it was definitely worth it. We were excited about a couple of players coming in being fresh. Bill Hamid made his start there against Ireland and experienced really the international level. Jordan Morris played his first cap, Rubio Rubin came in and we see some talent coming through. Will it take time for them? Absolutely, but you got to start that process and it’s better earlier than too late. So we start the process already and we're excited for them.”

ussoccer.com: One of the key goals of this last camp was establish a mentoring environment between the veterans and the youngsters. Were you pleased with how that went, and what are the next steps there?

JK: “It was the overall theme that we wanted to use the last couple of games: to build relationships between the older players and some of the younger players to be their mentors, to be their guides in a certain way, to help from their experience. We wanted guys like Brad Guzan, Kyle Beckerman, DaMarcus Beasley, Jermaine Jones and others to make the younger players understand what it takes to drive towards hopefully one day a World Cup because they already have a couple World Cups under their belts. This mentorship that we've started now will continue in the future because we want the younger players to grow and we want them to very fast understand that it takes a lot of inner drive and self-motivation and professionalism to get to that level where the established older guys have played already. So this theme will go with us into the future and it will be interesting to see how it develops.”

ussoccer.com: You said the goalkeeper position is an open competition. You've had a variety of them in camp and were able to spread around minutes. How would you assess that situation?

JK: “I think the goalkeeper situation is going well. Obviously Tim Howard is taking a year off, so Brad Guzan jumps in as the natural fit right away. He proves that he is ready to be the No. 1. Nick Rimando is knocking at the door and he would like to have that spot too. For us it's also important that we bring along Billy Hamid and Sean Johnson who were our Olympic team goalkeepers of the last cycle. So we have to bring them into those environments, train them on the highest level, but also here and there give them a game. That's why Bill Hamid started that game against Ireland and did well; I had no issues at all [with his performance]. Right now, it's not about defining No. 1, 2, and 3 and setting it in stone because we're in a transition year going into next summer's Gold Cup. Prior to the Gold Cup we will make it clear, so this year gives us the opportunity to have a closer look at all of them.”

ussoccer.com: Part of the goal of these friendlies is to get players experience. In what ways does making extensive substitutions impact a match?

JK: “Playing friendly games and having the substitution rule where you can bring in six players obviously changes the dynamic of games, especially towards the end of games. When you bring in subs in order to give them a chance, in order to give them experience, you sort of risk the result. Either way - it could go the good way or it could go the bad way. When you come in as a sub and you're down a goal, it's far more difficult to give an impact than if you're up a goal when everything is positive and you might hit another goal from your end. So it's not always easy for the subs to make an impression, but if we don't do it, we miss out on too big an opportunity for these players to gain experience. So, we compromised the substitutions in a friendly game for some results. Do we want the results at the same time? Absolutely, but here and there you’ve got do it for the big picture.”

ussoccer.com: Two of the surprise call-ups during the post-World Cup friendlies were Miguel Ibarra and Jordan Morris. How did they fare, and are you open to bringing in other players in similar circumstances as them?

JK:We believe Miguel Ibarra coming from the NASL and Jordan Morris coming from college that there are players in those areas that have tremendous talent. So we are looking at their talent and where it could be in two to four years from now if you give them time to grow and nurture them. Basically it's gone extremely well so far, so we are looking for players all over the place - if they come through the European channels, maybe through the youth system there, through Mexico or the NASL or the college route or the MLS ranks.

“The players themselves need to prove that they have this inner drive and they have an understanding of what it takes to grow into an established player on the international level. Our job is to identify their talent and then build it. Hopefully they make the right choices then down the road in terms of their own career and their own club environment, but it’s encouraging to see these two young players leading the way for hopefully many other players in the future to break through.”

ussoccer.com: Morris made his debut when he came on against Ireland. How did you rate his performance?

JK: “For us coaches it’s really important for us to see the talent growing one step at a time. With Jordan Morris you have a player that comes from the college system; he comes from Stanford. He has a specific rhythm there in the college environment, so we kind of had a closer look at him with the Olympic team first, then I brought him to the Czech Republic. We saw him grow now over the last half year to a year and he did better and better because he gets more and more confident and believes in himself. So when the moment came actually to add him in to the Ireland game, it was a tricky moment because we were down. But he settled in and he had good moments. He was good in one-on-one situations. If he's a bit lucky he gives an assist to Greg Garza to score a goal. So we were very happy and we continue to build him and bring him in like with the other younger players.”

ussoccer.com: How would you assess the Jermaine Jones transition to centerback? Is something you plan on continuing?

JK: “Jermaine Jones growing into this role as a right center back is encouraging for us to see that we have another option, another card if we need him to play. Is he more of a midfielder? Yes, that's where he played his whole life. Does he see himself as a midfielder? Probably, but we see that at his age he has tremendous experience and leadership to guide a back line, especially with young players coming through like John Anthony Brooks. They are the ones who need that leadership from him on the back line. It's good to have this drive from Jermaine. Going forward this will be important for us. It could be that he has to settle with this role; we'll see. We'll see with the development of all the other players in that role as well, but we're looking good in terms of center backs.”

ussoccer.com: Tim Howard was voted the U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year. What can you say about his performance in 2014?

JK:When you talk about Timmy, you talk about the Belgium game where I don’t know how many shots he saved, but he really was our backbone to stay in the game and to go all the way into extra time and almost actually beat Belgium. That was a remarkable performance from him that I think everybody would talk about right away. He's a tremendous personality, a very calm, quiet leader. Obviously he has all the experience that you need in his position but also in his career. He's played pretty much his entire career in Europe on a very high level, so he's a role model for many, many young players coming through the ranks and not only goal keepers, also field players. It's just great to have him.” 

ussoccer.com: You will be attending the Nike Friendlies and the Development Academy Showcase at the end of the month. What is on the agenda there? 

JK: “For us coaches it's important to see what the talent is doing on a younger level so going to the Nike Friendlies, seeing our U-17s competing with teams like Brazil, Australia and England is quite exciting. I was there last year and it was neat to see. It's also important for us to connect with the Academy program, with the coaches from the Academy clubs, with a lot of people who are down there and seeing things first hand. That's why I called in my coaching staff, assistant coaches and other people to have a closer look at the young players. It's important to always be up to speed with the development on the youth side.”

ussoccer.com: Many of the players are now heading into their offseason. What will your message be to them on how to bridge the gap between now and the start of their next season? 

JK: “For us it's a tricky situation. MLS players are pretty much done, NASL players are done, the college season gets to an end, Mexico plays its own agenda and the Europeans now are going full steam basically until the end of May. We're monitoring all of them, their club teams, we're keeping in touch with their coaches and with themselves as well. It's a lot of scouting. It's a lot of communication, a lot of tracking down the right people to get the right information. What we hope from them is absolutely to establish their starter position stronger and stronger. This is the biggest challenge for them. This is what quite a lot of them lost after the World Cup. For us this is a bad situation to develop a National Team program with players not starting in their club situations. Hopefully they get that done over the next couple weeks and we can look at it a little bit calmer.”  

ussoccer.com: You have considered different approaches to the January camp, including not having one at all. Why is this camp important and what will be the focus in terms of roster and schedule? 

JK: “With the tricky situation that we have in the United States that now we have the season for the MLS players going towards the end and a lot of them having a break of almost two or three months, we are forced to hold a January camp to try and get the players in early in order to build their foundation for the season. It probably will go with the theme we had the last couple of months, bringing experienced players, bringing a lot of younger players in and kind of meld them together and have that mentorship for the developmental aspect of it.

“We want to explain a lot more what it takes to get to the international level - that you have to be on top of your game on the field, but you also have to be on top of your life off the field. With that schedule that we carry in the United States that we only get a nine, nine-and-a-half month season, we can't compete with the nations that go 11 months through. We're missing two months basically, so we try to bridge that with camps. We keep working, we keep explaining, we keep educating, which is very important on the field and off the field. It's going to be an exciting January camp like all the other ones in the past.” 

ussoccer.com: Next year has been described as one of the most challenging schedules the National Team has ever put together in terms of the opponents as well as the competitions which would suggest a significant growth opportunity. How important is it to have the full team available?

JK: “Looking forward to 2015, obviously there's an exciting Gold Cup on the agenda in July, which we want to badly win because it takes us to the Confederations Cup 2017 in Russia. Certainly there are challenges with the FIFA fixture dates. The calendar is not in sync with MLS, so hopefully we're getting closer with MLS to solve that situation so that we can always call the strongest team possible for senior National Team games, which is very important to us because we want to do well and we want to get the results. We can't always compromise our players on this side or the other side, so having that calendar together would help us tremendously.

“2015 will be a year of developing talent on and off the field. The theme will be education. Education wherever we can. We want to educate more on the coaching side, we want to educate on the players side, we want to educate on the parents side about what it really takes to become a professional. What's exciting for us is we're building our own counseling office with Nelson Rodriguez leading it. This is a huge step. It's something we copied a bit from the universities where we try to establish contact with the players and their parents early in order to help them understand what you need to know to become a pro. So there will be a lot of educational topics out there. We want to improve coaching education wherever we can because it's crucial, and we want to challenge our players and not let them settle, not even for a second, for whatever they have achieved up to that point. We want to grow our program and one day compete with the best in the world, so it means a lot of hard work in 2015.”

Tim Howard Voted 2014 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year

CHICAGO (Nov. 20, 2014) – Goalkeeper Tim Howard has been voted the 2014 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year, with the announcement taking place earlier today live on ESPN’s SportsCenter. This is Howard’s second time winning AOTY, previously earning the honor in 2008.

The three-time FIFA World Cup veteran becomes the fifth player to win Male Athlete of the Year on multiple occasions, joining defender Marcelo Balboa (1992, 1994), goalkeeper Kasey Keller (1997, 1999 and 2005), forward Landon Donovan (2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010) and forward Clint Dempsey (2007, 2011 and 2012).

“It’s an honor. I know the winners on the list who have come before me, so it’s special to have my name up there,” Howard said on SportsCenter. “The whole ride with the team for about a month and a half, when we got together for training camp and we flew down to Brazil, we had a really good time and that made 2014 so special to me.”

A new voting process took place this year, with votes collected from Men’s National Team players earned a cap in 2014, Men’s National Team and Youth Men’s National Team coaches, Major League Soccer and North American Soccer League head coaches and select former players, administrators and media members.

Howard received 64 percent of the tabulated votes, followed by Jermaine Jones (19 percent) and Kyle Beckerman (11 percent).

This year, Howard became the USA’s all-time leader in career wins with 55 (breaking Keller’s record of 53) and goalkeeper appearances with 104 (breaking Keller’s record of 102). Howard also had a memorable 2014 FIFA World Cup that included a tournament-record 15 saves during the USA’s 2-1 overtime loss to Belgium in the first knockout round on July 1.

The U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year has been awarded since 1984, when midfielder Rick Davis earned the first Athlete of the Year honor.

Also on Thursday, U.S. Soccer unveiled its nominees for 2014 Young Male Athlete of the Year, Young Female Athlete of the Year and Disabled Athlete of the Year. The nominees in each category are:

  • Young Male Athlete of the Year Nominees: Mukwelle Akale, midfielder; Emerson Hyndman, midfielder; Christian Pulisic, midfielder; Haji Wright, forward; DeAndre Yedlin, defender (A Look at the Nominees)
  • Young Female Athlete of the Year Nominees: Morgan Brian, midfielder; Rose Lavelle, midfielder; Samantha Mewis, midfielder; Mallory Pugh, midfielder; Katelyn Rowland, goalkeeper (A Look at the Nominees)
  • Disabled Athlete of the Year Nominees: Meghan Maiwald, Deaf Soccer; Natalie Russo, Power Soccer; Gavin Sibayan, Paralympic Soccer (A Look at the Nominees)

The nominees for U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year will be unveiled in the coming days.

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