CHICAGO (Thursday, August 22, 2002) â€” U.S. Soccer has finalized the opponents, dates and venues for the 2002 edition of the Nike U.S. Women's Cup, the most prestigious women's event conducted by U.S. Soccer, and one of the most respected women's tournaments in the world. The tournament, a four-team, six-game competition, will feature the U.S. Women's National Team, as well as Australia, Italy and Russia.
"To have Italy, Russia and Australia in a pre-World Cup event on the East Coast in two WUSA cities, it just doesn't get any better as far as our preparation, our focus and getting our fans ready for our World Cup qualifying,â€ said U.S. head coach April Heinrichs. "It's great timing for us because the players are coming out of the WUSA season, they get a little bit of break and then we play these three teams that we haven't seen in quite a long time. It's a wonderful opportunity for us to get together for a two-week period."
In the tournamentâ€™s opening match, the U.S. will take on Russia at the Mitchel Athletic Complex, the home of the WUSAâ€™s New York Power, on Sunday, Sept. 29 at 4 p.m. ET (TV broadcast to be determined). The match will mark the third time that the U.S. Women have played at the 10,102-seat, Uniondale, N.Y. venue, having played a pair of matches (a 5-0 win over Denmark and a 2-0 win over China) there in as part of the Goodwill Games in late July 1998.
Tickets for the tournament opener, which is presented by Philips Electronics, range in price levels from $22 to $55 and are available starting tomorrow (August 23) at 12 noon ET at all Ticketmaster outlets throughout the area (including The Wiz, Compact Disc World, Tower Records, HMV Record Stores and Fileneâ€™s) or by calling 631-888-9000 (Long Island) or 212-307-7171 (New York City). Tickets are also available on-line at www.ticketmaster.com. Groups of 20 or more can call the New York Power at 1-866-769-7849. Complete ticket information is available at www.ussoccer.com.
From there, the tournament heads south to North Carolina, where the U.S. Womenâ€™s National Team will play two games as part of doubleheaders at the recently opened SAS Park, the home of the WUSAâ€™s Carolina Courage, in Cary, N.C. The U.S. Women will take on Australia on Wednesday, Oct. 2 (presented by Chevy) at 7:30 p.m. ET live on ESPN2, and finish the tourney against Italy on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 2 p.m. ET live on ESPN2.
Although the U.S. women have previously played matches in Charlotte, Davidson and Greensboro, N.C., the two October doubleheaders will mark the teamâ€™s first-ever international games in the Raleigh-Durham area and the first time that the team has played at the 7,000-seat, state-of-the-art venue.
Tickets for the N.C. doubleheaders, which range in price from $18 to $55, are now available at all Ticketmaster outlets throughout the Carolinas (including Kroger, Hecht's and FYE), by calling 919-834-4000 or going on-line at www.ticketmaster.com. For groups of 20 or more, call 312-528-1249.
The U.S. has posted a 6-2-2 record in 2002, including a 4-0 win over Norway in the teamâ€™s most recent match in Blaine, Minn., on July 21. After the 2002 WUSA season concludes this weekend with the Founders Cup II on Saturday (Aug. 24) in Atlanta, the U.S. team will regroup 10 days later for a Sept. 8 match versus Scotland at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
The U.S. Women will be using the 2002 Nike U.S. Womenâ€™s Cup as preparation for the 2002 CONCACAF Womenâ€™s Gold Cup, which is set to take place at four venues along the West Coast from Oct. 27-Nov. 9 and will serve as the regionâ€™s qualifying for the 2003 FIFA Womenâ€™s World Cup in China next summer.
The U.S. has a winning all-time record against all three of its U.S. Womenâ€™s Cup opponents, including a 13-0-0 mark over Australia in which the U.S. has outscored their Oceania counterpart 51-8. The U.S. is also undefeated against Russia, holding a 4-0-1 record and outscoring them 22-2.
The U.S. has a storied history with Italy, including the U.S. Womenâ€™s National Teamâ€™s first ever match, a 1-0 loss on August 18, 1985. The U.S. holds a narrow 5-4-0 edge in nine all-time meetings, having lost the first three times the two teams met from 1985-1988. The U.S. dominated all five match-ups in the 1990s and 2000, outscoring the Europeans 15-1, but Italy handed the U.S. a 1-0 loss in their last meeting in March 2001 in Reiti.
"The three styles are great for us,â€ said Heinrichs, of the competition that the three countries each present. â€œAustralia is the hard, physical, aggressive team. Italy is a counter-attacking, bunkering team, and you have Russia, who is a very disciplined team, more like a Norway or a Sweden."
The Nike U.S. Womenâ€™s Cup has been staged eight times since its debut in 1994, including last yearâ€™s abandoned event which was scheduled to end the weekend after the tragic events of Sept. 11. The U.S. has amassed an amazing 21-0-0 record across the eight tournaments winning all seven championships against opponents like Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Italy and Norway.