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Men's and Women's Olympic Draw Set for June 3 in Sydney

CHICAGO (Thursday, June 1, 2000) - The all-important draw that will determine who will stand in front of the U.S. Men's and Women's Olympic Teams and their path to glory is just a day away. The official 2000 Olympic Draw is scheduled for Saturday (June 3) at the Sydney Town Hall at 11 a.m. in Australia, or 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT Friday night here in the United States. The draw will determine the groupings for both Men's and Women's Soccer fields and finalize the complete opening round schedule.

Although the U.S. teams' opponents are not known, what is known already is that Soccer is slated to open the 2000 Olympic competition with both men's and women's games on Wednesday, September 13. The U.S. Men will likely play on opening day, while the U.S. Women will kick off just a day later on Sept. 14.

The men's field will include a total of 16 teams, led by defending champions Nigeria and '96 runner-up Brazil. Twelve of the 16 teams have already qualified, and are listed below by confederation: (AFC) Japan, Kuwait, South Korea; (CONCACAF) United States, Honduras; (CAF) Nigeria, Cameroon, Morocco, South Africa; (CONMEBOL) Brazil, Chile. Australia automatically qualifies as the host country, as the U.S. did for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. The last four berths will come from UEFA countries who are currently qualifying out of the European Under-21 Championships being played in Slovakia and concluding on June 3.

The Men's Soccer competition will be played across five cities (Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra, Brisbane and Sydney) and is scheduled to run from Sept. 13 to the final at the Sydney Olympic Stadium on Sept. 30. The quarter-finals will be on Sept. 23, with the semi's on Sept. 26 and third place on Sept. 29.

The Women's Soccer picture is much clearer, with all eight teams having qualified as early as the final days of the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup. Led by the United States, the first ever women's soccer gold medalists in 1996, the women's field also includes world powers China, Norway, and Brazil, along with Sweden, Italy, Nigeria and the host Australians.

As for playing sites in Australia, by receiving the top seed in their group, the U.S. Women know that they will play their three first-round matches at the 110,000 seat Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sept. 14, Sept. 17 and Sept. 20. If the U.S. Women win their four-team group, it will travel to Canberra for its semifinal on Sept. 24. If the USA finishes second in its group, the semifinal would be played in Sydney, also on Sept. 24. The gold medal match for the Second Olympic Women's Soccer Tournament is at the Sydney Football Stadium on Sept. 28.

The women's soccer competition will take place in three cities (Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney) and run from Sept. 13 to the final game at Sydney Football Stadium on Sept. 28.

While the Women's Olympic Team's clear goal is to retain their position atop the women's soccer world by successfully defending their gold medal, the Men's Team is looking to advance out of the opening round for the first time since their first Olympic competition in 1924 after posting a 1-1-1 record in three of the last four Olympic Games.