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U.S. Soccer Wire: China Challenga Awaits U.S. Women in Four Nations Tournament This Week


U.S. WOMEN FACE 2003 WWC PREVIEW IN CHINA: The U.S. Women's National Team is currently in Shanghai, China training in preparation for this week's Four Nations Tournament in which they will take on Norway, China and Germany in a preview of the 2003 Women's World Cup later this year. The team arrived in China on Jan. 17 after a day of travel from San Diego, and will kick off the tournament on Thursday against Norway at the Meihu Sports Center in Yiwu. After facing Norway, the USA travels to Wuhan in Central China to play the hosts, then returns to Shanghai to finish the  competition against Germany.  Wuhan, site of the WWC Final Draw on May 23, and Shanghai are both 2003 Women's World Cup venues. The U.S. Women have played 23 matches inside China since first playing there in 1987, going 12-4-7 in those games. Against China in China, the USA is a more than respectable 3-2-4, and against European teams on Chinese soil the U.S. is 5-2-3. Below is a quick preview of the USA's three match-ups in the tournament.

Thusday, January 23 vs. Norway (Yiwu, China) – 5:30 p.m. local / 4:30 a.m. ET
Against Norway, the USA faces the only country in the world that holds a winning record against them.  The USA is 14-18-2 all-time against Norway, but in the most recent meeting in Blaine, Minn. on July 21, 2002, came away with a convincing 4-0 win.

Sunday, January 26 vs. China (Wuhan, China) – 3:35 p.m. local / 2:35 a.m. ET
The USA holds a 12-7-9 all-time record against China, including a 2-0 win in this tournament last year, getting goals from Shannon MacMillan (San Diego Spirit - WUSA) and Tiffeny Milbrett (N.Y. Power - WUSA).  Women's World Cup host China will be under great pressure to have a good performance in the tournament after finishing last in 2002, a result that contributed to the former coach losing his job.

Wednesday, January 29 vs. Germany (Shanghai, China) – 1:55 p.m. local / 12:55 a.m. ET
In Germany, the Americans face a team against which they have found success in the past, going 11-4-2 all-time.  Germany won the tournament last year, tying the USA 0-0 in a match the Americans could have easily won. 

U.S. WNT ROSTER IN CHINA
Goalkeepers (2): LaKeysia Beene (San Jose CyberRays), Briana Scurry (Atlanta Beat); 
Defenders (6):
Jenny Benson (Philadelphia Charge), Thori Bryan (CyberRays), Brandi Chastain (CyberRays), Joy Fawcett (San Diego Spirit), Christie Pearce (New York Power), Kate Sobrero (Boston Breakers);
Midfielders (6): Lorrie Fair (Charge), Devvyn Hawkins (Santa Clara Univ.), Angela Hucles (Breakers), Jena Kluegel (Breakers), Tiffany Roberts (Carolina Courage), Aly Wagner (Santa Clara  Univ.);
Forwards (6): Shannon MacMillan (Spirit), Tiffeny Milbrett (Power), Heather O'Reilly (PDA Torpedoes), Cindy Parlow (Beat), Lindsay Tarpley (Univ.  of North Carolina), Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom).

U.S. MEN TROUNCE CANADA 4-0 IN 2003 OPENER:  The U.S. Men's National Team thumped Canada 4-0 at Lockhart Stadium on Saturday night to open its 2003 campaign in impressive fashion. Forward Landon Donovan tallied two assists in earning Chevrolet Man of the Match honors.  The U.S. jumped out to a 3-0 first-half lead behind the first international goal of defender Carlos  Bocanegra's career (coming on a corner kick from Bobby Convey in the 7th minute) and goals just 51 seconds apart from Clint Mathis and Chris Klein in the 31st and 32nd minutes, respectively. The final U.S. goal came from Steve Ralston in the second half.  Like Bocanegra and Klein before him, the goal was the first of Ralston’s international career. The U.S. Men’s National Team resumes training camp on January 26 at the IMG Academy in Bradenton in preparation for a pair of upcoming friendlies. The U.S. will host two-time World Cup champion Argentina on Feb. 8 at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla., at 12 p.m. ET live on ESPN2 before travelling south to face Jamaica just four days later at the National Stadium in Kingston at 7 p.m. ET (a change from the previously announced 2:30 p.m. ET kickoff).  Both games can be followed live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.

– U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –

McBRIDE TALLIES TWICE TO LEAD EVERTON TO WIN:  Brian McBride, the fourth all-time leading goal scorer in U.S. Men’s National Team history with 20 goals, scored two second-half goals on Saturday in leading Everton to a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Sunderland at Goodison Park.  The goals were the second and third in McBride’s brief two-game Premier League career, coming on the heels of a goal just 10 minutes into his first EPL game on Jan. 12 in a 4-3 loss to Tottenham.  The victory for Everton was their first since Dec. 14, and the brace for McBride earned him a selection on soccernet.com’s Team of the Week, alongside Arsenal forward Thierry Henry.

KELLER EARNS SHUTOUT; FRIEDEL READY FOR MAN UNITED:  Kasey Keller earned a 1-0 shutout over Aston Villa on Saturday, his sixth in 27 overall appearances for Spurs this season … Brad Friedel’s Blackburn Rovers earned a 1-1 draw against Jovan Kirovski’s Birmingham City on Saturday, in advance of Tuesday’s Worthington Cup semifinal showdown with Manchester United at Ewood Park (the two team’s drew 1-1 on Jan. 7 in the semifinal pairings first leg) … Kirovski made his 10th consecutive appearance for Birmingham in the match, coming on as a second-half sub. Kirovski has appeared in 14 matches for Birmingham in England this season.

ONYEWU MAKES FRENCH LEAGUE DEBUT: Former U.S. U-20 and U-17 defensive standout Oguchi Onyewu made his long-awaited professional debut in Europe this weekend, playing the final 41 minutes of F.C. Metz’s 1-0 upset victory over Bordeaux in the round of 16 French League Cup, helping advance his team to the tournament quarterfinals.

FRIEDEL & CONVEY NAMED U.S. SOCCER'S 2002 CHEVY ATHLETES OF THE YEAR: U.S. Men's National Team goalkeeper and English Premier League standout Brad Friedel was named as U.S. Soccer's 2002 Chevy Male Athlete of theYear on Friday for his heroics at the 2002 World Cup.  The oldest and most prestigious award of its kind in the United States, Friedel was awarded his choice of a Chevy TrailBlazer or a Chevy Impala for collecting the honor. As it has done since 1998, Chevy also honored the Young Male Athlete of the Year, with the award going to U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team midfielder and team captain Bobby Convey.  A check for $1,000 was donated to the U.S. Soccer Foundation in the name of Convey on behalf of Chevrolet. Friedel emerged as the first choice in goal for the U.S. Men’s National Team just prior to the 2002 World Cup, where he went on to put together a career-best tournament performance and was one of the key reasons that the U.S. advanced to the quarterfinals.  Friedel also enjoyed a career year in the pro ranks as the No. 1 'keeper for Blackburn Rovers, where he started 16 of 17 league games in the first half of 2002-03.  Still a teen at age 19, Convey played for both the Under-23 and the Under-20 Men’s National Teams in 2002.  In November, he captained the U.S. Under-20s as they qualified for a record fourth consecutive World Championship. This year’s voting process was again highlighted by an opportunity for fans to be involved, which they did in great numbers by logging on to www.ussoccer.com. Thousands of online votes were tallied and were equivalent to 50 percent of the total votes. As in years past, 100 votes were compiled from members of the national media and U.S. Soccer representatives.

U.S. MEN TO PLAY ARGENTINA IN MIAMI ON FEB. 8, JAMAICA IN KINGSTON ON FEB. 12:  The U.S. Men's National Team will host two-time World Cup champion Argentina in an international friendly on Feb. 8 at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla., at 12 p.m. ET live on ESPN2 (and Radio Unica) before travelling south to face Jamaica just four days later at the National Stadium in Kingston at 7 p.m. ET (a change from the previously announced 2:30 p.m. ET kickoff).  Fans can follow both matches live via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. Advance tickets ranging in price levels from $15 to $35 went on sale last week at all South Florida Ticketmaster outlets (including FYE, Spec’s Music and Ricky’s Records), by phone (Ft. Lauderdale 954-523-3309; Miami 305-358-5885; West Palm Beach 561-966-3309) and online at www.ussoccer.com. Groups of 20 or more can order immediately through U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1249. The United States has never lost to Jamaica, holding a 7-0-5 record against the Reggae Boyz. Despite the unbeaten record, the USA has only one victory in five matches at "The Office" in Kingston.

U.S. MNT TO RETURN TO SEATTLE TO MEET ASIAN CHAMPIONS JAPAN ON MARCH 29:  The U.S. Men's National Team will host fellow World Cup finalists Japan at Seattle Seahawks Stadium on March 29 in Seattle (live on ESPN2 at 1 p.m. PT).  Fans can also follow the action live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The USA and Japan have met only one time at the senior international level, with Japan capturing a 3-1 victory on March 14, 1993 in Tokyo. The clash with Japan will be the first international soccer match hosted by the newly minted Seattle Seahawks Stadium. Tickets ranging in price levels from $20 to $70 went on sale last week at all Ticketmaster outlets throughout Washington, Oregon and British Columbia, at the Seahawks Stadium ticket office, by phone (Seattle 206-628-0888; Tacoma 253-627-8497), and online at www.ussoccer.com. Groups of 20 or more can order through U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290.

– YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

NIKE PROJECT-40 SIGNEES DOMINATE FIRST ROUND AT MLS SUPERDRAFT:  Under-23 MNT standout Alecko Eskandarian was selected by D.C. United with the first overall pick in Friday's MLS SuperDraft, in a draft ruled by youth. The first five - and 10 of the first 15 - players selected were Nike Project-40 signees, and nine of the first 14 are U.S. Youth National Team regulars.  Bob Bradley wasted no time in putting his stamp on the MetroStars, selecting three U.S. Youth National Team players in the first 12 picks.  Bradley selected Under-20 MNT teammates Ricardo Clark (2nd overall) and Mike Magee (4th overall) in the first round, before selecting U.S. Under-17 standout Eddie Gaven. Gaven, the youngest player signed in MLS History at 16 years and two months, was elected with the second pick in the second roung (12th overall). Gaven’s Under-17 teammate Guillermo Gonzalez will play professionally in his own backyard, after getting selected by the defending MLS champions L.A. Galaxy.

MLS SuperDraft First Round Selections
1. D.C. United - Alecko Eskandarian** (F, Virginia); 
2. MetroStars - Ricardo Clark** (M, Furman); 
3. Chicago - Nate Jaqua** (F, Portland); 
4. MetroStars - Mike Magee** (F, U-17 MNT); 
5. D.C. United - David Stokes** (D, North Carolina); 
6. San Jose - Todd Dunivant (D, Stanford); 
7. Columbus - Diego Walsh (M, SMU); 
8. Los Angeles - Guillermo Gonzalez** (M, U-17 MNT); 
9. New England - Pat Noonan (F, Indiana); 
10. Dallas - Shavar Thomas (D, Connecticut).
** Nike Project-40 signees

UNDER-23s GO 1-1-1 IN PORTUGAL, KICK OFF TOURNAMENT TODAY: The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team finished the first half of their European trek with a 2-0 win over Santarem Select on Thursday and begin play in the 3rd International Tournament Vale do Tejo today with a match against Russia.  Dallas Burn goalkeeper D.J. Countess recorded the shutout for the U.S., and David Testo and Kelly Gray scored to give Glenn Myernick’s team  their first win of the Portugal tour.  The U.S. played to a scoreless draw with Benfica’s reserves on January 15 and opened play in Portugal with a 3-1 loss to Sporting Lisbon’s reserves.  Late roster addition Andres Rota scored in the loss to Lisbon.  The U.S. Under-23s wrap up their play in Europe with two international matches in the 3rd International Tournament Vale do Tejo in Portugal today and Thursday (Jan. 23).

UNDER-17s CRUISE TO TWO WINS OVER U-18 WEST FLORIDA ALL-STARS: The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team cruised to two wins this weekend, hammering an Under-18 West Florida All-Star Team 5-0 on Saturday and following that up with a 3-1 win on Sunday.  Eddie Gaven, who was selected by the MetroStars in last week’s MLS SuperDraft, scored three goals – including both gamewinners – this weekend.  In Sunday’s 3-1 win, the U.S. out shot the all-star squad 18-6, but the West Florida goalkeeper recorded 14 saves and was able to keep the game even until midway through the second half. Adrian Chevannes put the U.S. on the board in the 65th minute, and then Gaven wrapped the game up with goals in the 70th and 83rd minutes.  Jamie Watson recorded two assists before West Florida pulled a goal back with a free kick in the game’s final minute.  The U.S. controlled play in Saturday’s game, outshooting the all-stars 10-1 and using two goals from Michael Harrington to secure a 5-0 win.

U-20s FINISH MLS COMBINE AS LONE UNDEFEATED TEAM:  The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team finished play at the MLS Combine last week with a convincing 2-0 victory over an MLS Combine team, and with the shutout win the U.S. finished as the only undefeated team with a combine-best 2-0-1 record.  In the marquee (and final) match of the four-team round-robin event, the U.S. outclassed the previously undefeated Mania 2-0, getting two well-taken goals from MLS standouts Ed Johnson and Santino Quaranta. In the U-20s earlier matches at the MLS Combine, Knox Cameron and Justin Moose tallied in a 2-1 win, and Magee and Moose each scored equalizers as the U.S. twice battled back to secure a 2-2 draw in their opener.  The U.S. team continued their winning ways this weekend, as Quaranta paced the team to wins on Friday and Sunday. Quaranta scored two goals in a 3-1 win on Friday and added another in a 2-0 win over Nacional of Colombia on Sunday.  The U.S. team plays Alianza (Peru) today and concludes camp on Thursday with a game against Mexico.

U.S. UNDER-20s TO FACE MEXICO ON THURSDAY IN HOMESTEAD, FLA.:  The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team will continue their preparations for the 12th FIFA World Youth Championship with a match against fellow world championship qualifier Mexico on Thursday, January 23 at 8:30 p.m. ET at Harris Stadium in Homestead, Fla.  Rongen’s 21-man roster includes 14 of the 18 players he called on for the November qualifying tournament in Charleston, S.C.   Leading the way for the U.S. against Mexico will be MLS stars Ed Johnson (Dallas Burn) and Santino Quaranta (D.C. United), who both scored in the USA’s final game this week at the MLS Combine. The U.S. and Mexico Under-20 sides played to a scoreless draw at last year’s U.S. Amateur Soccer Festival in Houston.  The U.S. dominated play and possession, but were unable to find a goal on August 3.  The U.S. and Mexico are the two most dominating nations in CONCACAF youth play and have played in more World Youth Championships than any other country.  Mexico will be playing in their 10th FIFA World Youth Championship, while the U.S. will be playing in their ninth when the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship take place in the United Arab Emirates from March 25 – April 16.

U-16 GIRLS OPEN 2003 WITH CAMP IN SAN DIEGO:  New U.S. U-16 Girl's National Team head coach Sue Montagne Patberg will get a first chance to look at her pool during a training camp running from Feb. 1-8 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in San Diego, Calif.  Like many of the U-16 events this year, the camp will be run concurrently with a U-17 event, so the two youngest teams in the Women's National Team program can train with and against each other. 
Goalkeepers: Alechia Brothers (CGSA Fusion / Charleston, S.C.), Kelsey Davis (SoCal United  / Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Megan McCray (Central Marin Magic / Novato, Calif.);
Defenders: Ameera Abdullah (Real Colorado / Denver, Colo.), Millie Allen (Colorado Rush  / Thornton, Colo.), Meagan Holmes (Bethesda Excel / Timonium, Md.), Michelle Imgram (Chantilly Milan / Clifton, Va.), Nicole Krzysik (World Class / Clifton, N.J.), Taylor Numann (DeAnza Sharks / Campbell, Calif.), Stefani Rocco (River City Rebels / Sacramento, Calif.), Caroline Walden (South Central / Guilford, Conn.);
Midfielders: Caroyln Blank (PDA Wildcats / Toms River, N.J.), Brittany Bock (Windy City Pride / Naperville, Ill.), Tobin Heath (PDA Wildcats / Basking Ridge, N.J.), Amanda Lebo (Langhorne-Strikers / Telford, Pa.), Elizabeth Redmond (PDA Wildcats / Morristown, N.J.), Hayley Siegel (Bethesda Excel / Ellicott City, Md.), Kimberly Silos (Claremont Stars / Ontario, Calif.); 
Forwards:  Whitney Hooper (Challenge SC / Houston, Texas), Kimberly Keener (Winston-Salem Lady Twins / Winston-Salem, N.C.), Ashley Myers (Bethesda Excel / Bel Air, Md.), Alexia Orand (Slammers / Orange, Calif.), Maryhelen Tomer (Orange Junior / Diamond Bar, Calif.), Jackie Acevedo (Warriors Black / Austin, Texas).

U-17 WOMEN HOLD FIRST TRAINING CAMP OF YEAR IN SAN DIEGO:  The new U.S. Under-17 Women's National Team will hold its first training camp of the year from Feb. 1-8 at the ARCO U.S. Olympic Training Center in San Diego, Calif., as head coach David Smith will bring in 23 players to kick off the 2003 activity. The U-17s played their first ever matches last November in Boca Raton, Fla., losing to two older Regional teams, but defeating Scotland's U-17s for their first-ever international win.
Goalkeepers: Dana Hall (Challenge SC / Houston, Tex.), Ashley Phillips (Spirit of Mass. / West Peabody, Mass.); 
Defenders: Lindsey Beam (Greenville FC, Greer S.C.), Caroline Dew (San Diego Surf / Encinitas, Calif.), Erin Doan (Michigan Hawks / Dearborn, Mich.), Kasey Moore (Laguna Hills Eclipse / Mission Viejo, Calif.), Danielle Potts (Pleasanton Rage / Alamo, Calif.), Denay Riley (N. Rockland Lady Storm / Washingtonville, N.Y.), Monica Storm (OJSC Nitemares / Chino, Calif.); 
Midfielders: Yael Averbuch (World Class / Upper Montclair, N.J.), Elizabeth George (Pleasanton Rage / Alamo, Calif.), Brittany Klein (Laguna Hills Eclipse / Arcadia, Calif.), Lorraine Quinn (HBC Fury / Farmingdale, N.Y.), Jennifer Redmond (PDA Galaxy / Morristown, N.J.), Courtney Rosen (Internationals / Brecksville, Ohio); 
Forwards: Amanda Cinalli (Cleveland FC / Maple Heights, Ohio), Christina DiMartino (Spirit / Massapequa, N.Y.), Jaime Gilbert (Stars of Mass. / North Andover, Mass.), Caroline Lea (CGSA / Lakewood, Colo.), Kia McNeill (Yankee United Pride / Avon, Conn.), Mandy Moraca (Langhorne Strikers / Mantua, N.J.), Amy Rodriguez (Laguna Hills Eclipse / Lake Forest, Calif.), Jessica Rostedt (Internationals / Kent, Ohio).

U-19 WOMEN BEGIN NEXT CYCLE WITH TRAINING CAMP IN SAN DIEGO:  U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team head coach Tracey Leone kicked off her second two-year cycle with a training camp at the ARCO U.S. Olympic Training Center in San Diego, Calif., which began on Saturday and runs through Jan. 26.  This new crop of players is beginning their two-year run to the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship.  After making history by winning the first-ever FIFA world championship for youth women, the U.S. U-19s will look for new stars, all born in 1985 or later. Of the 24 players called into this first camp of the year, three were members of that 2002 U-19 World Championship Team in goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, and forwards Kerri Hanks and Angie Woznuk.  Defender Rachel Buehler, who started all six games at the World Championship, is still eligible for the team, but is recovering from ACL sugery.  Forward Heather O'Reilly is also still age eligible, but is with the full national team this week in China.
Goalkeepers: Laura Comeau (Lee, N.H. / Seacoast United), Ashlyn Harris (Satellite Beach, Fla. / Indialantic Force), Val Henderson (Orinda, Calif. / Walnut Creek Premier), Julie Ryder (Deklab, Ill. / Eclipse Select Cobras); 
Defenders: Jen Buczkowski (Elk Grove Village, Ill. / Sockers FC), Shannon Foley (Santa Margarita, Calif. / West Valley Samba), Stephanie Logterman (Austin, Tex. / Warriors Black), Stephanie Lopez (Elk Grove, Calif. / Elk Grove United), Becky Sauerbrunn (Olivette, Mo. / J.B. Marine), Megan Schnur (Butler, Pa. / Beadling SC), India Trotter (Plantation, Fla. / Team Boca); 
Midfielders: Amy Berend (Highland Village, Tex. / Dallas Texans), Zoe Bouchelle (Baltimore, Md. / Bethesda Dragons), Ashly Kennedy (Edgewater, Md. / Bethesda Dragons), Stephanie Kron (Paradise Valley, Ariz. / Sereno Golden Eagles), Darby Kroyer (San Ramon, Calif. / Pleasanton Rage), Carrie Schmidt (La Mesa, Calif. / San Diego Surf); 
Forwards: Amy Burlingham (Costa Mesa, Calif. / SoCal Blues), Bristyn Davis (Locust Valley, N.Y. / HBC Fury), Tina Estrada (Freemont, Calif. / Pleasanton Rage), Sheree Gray (Toms River, N.J. /  Toms River South), Kerri Hanks (Allen, Tex. / Dallas Texans), Megan Rapinoe (Redding, Calif. / Elk Grove United), Angie Woznuk (El Cajon, Calif. / San Diego Surf).

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

MILWAUKEE TO HOST 2003 MISL ALL-STAR WEEKEND IN MARCH: The 2003 Major Indoor Soccer League All-Star Weekend will take place in Milwaukee, Wis., from March 7-9. The three-day event hosted by the MISL’s Milwaukee Wave will culminate with the 2003 MISL Legends and All-Star Games to played on Mar. 9, at the Bradley Center. During the event, the 2003 MISL All-Stars and Legends will be introduced and Commissioner Steve Ryan will deliver his annual “State of the League” address. The Milwaukee Wave Greats will host the MISL Heroes in the second annual Legends Game.  Voting for the all-star roster includes an online fan component as well as balloting of media and team personnel from each of the league’s member cities.  For more information on the MISL visit www.misl.net.

USL UNVEILS PRO SELECT AND PDL 2003 ALIGNMENTS: The United Soccer Leagues announced last week the alignments for the Pro Select League and Premier Development League for the 2003 season. Fourteen teams will take the field in the Pro Select League with the PDL growing to a league-high 51 clubs. The Pro Select League will utilize a single table format in 2003 with a regional playoff system. The PDL will maintain its four-conference, eight-division format from the 2002 season.

PRO SELECT LEAGUE (14 teams):  California Gold, Carolina Dynamo, Connecticut Wolves, Long Island Rough Riders, New Hampshire Phantoms, New Jersey Stallions, New York Freedoms, Northern Virginia Royals, Reading Rage, San Diego Gauchos, Utah Blitzz, Westchester Flames, Western Mass Pioneers and Wilmington Hammerheads.

PREMIER DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE (51 teams):  CENTRAL CONFERENCE - Great Lakes Division: Columbus*, Fort Wayne Fever*, Indiana Invaders, Kalamazoo Kingdom, Mid Michigan Bucks, Toledo*, West Michigan Edge; Heartland Division: Boulder Rapids Reserve, Chicago Fire Reserves, Des Moines Menace, Kansas City Brass, Sioux Falls SpitFire, St. Louis*, Thunder Bay Chill, Wisconsin Rebels. EASTERN CONFERENCE - Mid Atlantic Division: Chesapeake Dragons, Greenville Lions, Raleigh CASL Elite, Richmond Kickers Future, West Virginia Chaos*, Williamsburg Legacy;  Northeast Division: Albany Blackwatch Highlanders*, Brooklyn Knights, Cape Cod Crusaders, Jersey Falcons, Jersey Shore Boca* (provisional), Rhode Island Stingrays, South Jersey Barons, Vermont Voltage, Worcester Kings. SOUTHERN CONFERENCE - Mid South Division: Austin Lightning, Houston Toros, Louisiana Outlaws, Memphis Express, Nashville Metros, New Orleans*, Texas Spurs; Southeast Division: Bradenton Academics, Central Florida Kraze, Cocoa Expos, Palm Beach Pumas. WESTERN CONFERENCE - Northwest Division: Abbotsford Rangers*, Calgary Storm Prospects, Cascade Surge, Spokane Shadow, Yakima Reds; Southwest Division: Fresno Fuego*, Nevada*, Orange County Blue Star, Provo*, Southern California Seahorses.

* Denotes expansion team

U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT

PEAK PERFORMER: For the second straight week, Brian McBride was the story, notching two second-half goals in leading Everton to their first victory since mid-December (a 2-1 triumph over Sunderland).  McBride has three goals in two matches for Everton and is quickly becoming a Goodison Park favorite.

MARQUEE MATCH-UP: USA-Norway and USA-China. The U.S. Women have their work cut out for them this week as April Heinrichs and a young U.S. squad take the field in China. The match-up against Norway (the team that dethroned the USA as reigning Women’s World Cup champs in 1995 and as reigning Olympic champs in 2000) is set for Thursday at 4:30 a.m. ET, while the China match-up (a team the U.S. defeated in route to their 1996 Olympic crown and 1999 WWC title) goes down on Sunday morning at 2:35 a.m. ET.

SOCCER SHOCKER: Eighteen games into the Primera Liga season, and powerful Real Madrid isn't sitting at the top in Spain.  Madrid, who boast five of the last seven FIFA World Players of the Year, currently sit second behind Real Sociedad, who have not finished better than 13th in the previous three seasons.

QUOTABLE:
“McBride scored twice to take his tally to three goals in two Everton games and the 30-year-old striker – a veteran compared to his prodigal teammate (Wayne Rooney) – is making playing in the Premiership look easy."
- Guy Hodgson in a match report in "The Independent" on Brian McBride's two-goal performance over the weekend.

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