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St. Louis University Selected to Host Under-17 World Championship Qualifiers April 18-22

CHICAGO (Thursday, January 25, 2001) - Qualifying for the 2001 FIFA Under-17 World Championship being hosted by U.S. Soccer will be staged at Saint Louis University's Robert R. Hermann Stadium from April 18-22. The four-team, Group A qualifying tournament will feature the U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team, as well as Canada and the second-place teams from CONCACAF's Central and Caribbean Zones, in a six-game, round-robin tournament in which only the first place finisher will advance to the 2001 Under-17 World Championship in Trinidad & Tobago in September.

"With three match dates, the scrutiny of the international press, and the need to create a positive home atmosphere for our Under-17 team, it was important to find a soccer environment, with a first-rate facility and a strong infrastructure behind it to stage this type of week-long event," said U.S. Soccer Secretary General Dan Flynn. "Saint Louis University fits the bill on all these accounts, and their enthusiasm to host the event will be felt by all the fans and international media in attendance."

Matches are scheduled for April 18, April 20 and April 22 at Saint Louis University's recently renovated and renamed Robert R. Hermann Stadium. Formerly the Billiken Sports Center, Robert R. Hermann Stadium has become one of the top collegiate soccer facilities in the nation. With the addition of permanent seating on the east side, seating capacity at Hermann Stadium has been increased to 6,050. The facility includes concession stands, locker rooms, press facilities and a rooftop area for press cameras, while the stadium surface is considered one of the best in the country.

Tickets for the three double-headers go on sale Jan. 31 and are available at all St. Louis area Ticketmaster outlets, including all Schnucks and Famous Barr locations, or by calling Ticketmaster direct at 314-241-1888 or 618-222-2900. Advanced tickets can be purchased for $10 (general admission) and $15 (reserved). Series strips to all three match dates can also be purchased in advance for $24 (general admission) and $45 (reserved). For more information, contact U.S. Soccer's U-17 Ticket Hotline at 312-528-1217.

The Midwest is becoming a popular area for U.S. Soccer in the year 2001, with the first two U.S. Men's National Team's home World Cup qualifying matches being staged in America's heartland, beginning with the Feb. 28 USA-Mexico showdown in Columbus, Ohio. The U.S. Men will play their second home qualifier on April 25 in Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium, just three days after the U-17 qualifying comes to a close less than 300 miles away in St. Louis. U.S. Soccer has staged a number of events in St. Louis in the past, with seven Men's National Team matches and two U.S. Women's games being played at different venues dating all the way back to 1957. Of those seven men's matches, three were World Cup qualifying games. After producing the bid to host the tournament, the St. Louis Sports Commission will also be involved in the actual staging of the event.

CONCACAF will send three nations to the 2001 U-17 World Championship, including host nation Trinidad & Tobago, as well as the winners of both Group A and Group B. The Group B qualifying tournament will be held in San Pedro Sula, Honduras from May 2-6. Honduras and Mexico will be joined by the first-place team in the Carribean Zone and the third-place team in the Central Zone.

The U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team program is coming off their most successful World Championship campaign, when the team finished in fourth place at the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship in New Zealand. That tournament was a strong one for CONCACAF, which saw the USA and Mexico square off in the quarterfinals with the U.S. advancing with a 3-2 triumph.

In 1999, the Americans placed second in the Group A qualifying tournament in Jamaica, eventually qualifying for the New Zealand finals after sweeping a home-and-away series with El Salvador to claim the tournament's final berth. With CONCACAF team Trinidad & Tobago guaranteed a spot as hosts, there will not be a playoff for the second-place teams in qualifying in 2001.