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U.S. Soccer Wire: U.S. Men's Match vs. Japan Re-Confirmed for March 29 in Seattle


USA-JAPAN MATCH SET FOR SEATTLE SEAHAWKS STADIUM, LIVE ON ESPN2 AT 1 P.M. PT: U.S. Soccer President Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia confirmed late Friday evening after meeting with representatives from the Japanese Football Association that the U.S. Men's National Team and Japan will play on March 29 in Seattle.  The game was originally announced in December and will take place at Seattle Seahawks Stadium live on ESPN2 at 1 p.m. PT. "After reviewing our security arrangements for the match, the JFA understands that playing the game in Seattle as planned is definitely in the best interests of soccer," said Contiguglia. "We all know that soccer is a sport about unifying the world, and the event in Seattle will certainly showcase that type of goodwill successfully." The clash with Japan will be the first international soccer match hosted by the newly minted Seattle Seahawks Stadium. Tickets ranging in prices from $20 to $70 are on sale now 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. 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.  In addition to the ESPN2 broadcast, fans can follow the match live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.

U.S. TO FACE TWO WORLD CUP SEMIFINALISTS IN TOUGH GROUP B IN JUNE: The U.S. Men’s National Team learned last week that it was drawn into Group B and will face Brazil, Cameroon and Turkey at the sixth FIFA Confederations Cup from June 18-29 in France. The U.S. opens the tournament against two World Cup semifinalists, facing Turkey on June 19 in St. Etienne at 7 p.m. local time (1 p.m. ET), and then taking on Brazil on June 21 in Lyon at 9 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET).  The U.S. concludes group play against Cameroon on June 23 in Lyon at 9 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET).  The top two teams from each group advance to the semifinals on June 26.  The third-place match is scheduled for June 28, and the final takes place on June 29 in Paris.  “We are arguably in the toughest group in the Confederations Cup, and it will be a great challenge for the team,” said U.S. head coach Bruce Arena. The U.S. has played in two previous Confederations Cup Tournaments, finishing third at both the inaugural event in 1992 and again in 1999 in Mexico. The field at the Confederations Cup is comprised of the six confederation champions (Cameroon, Colombia, France, Japan, New Zealand and the USA), the World Cup Champions (Brazil) and a guest team (Turkey).

U.S. WOMEN TO MEET ENGLAND ON MAY 17 IN ALABAMA, KOREA ON JUNE 14 IN UTAH: The U.S. Women's National Team will make its first trip to a pair of different states, as they’re set to face England on May 17 at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. (live on ESPN at 12 p.m. CT), and then meet South Korea on June 14 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah (live on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. MT). Tickets for the May 17 match are piced at $16 to $50 and are on sale now at all Ticketmaster outlets throughout Alabama (including Publix, Coconuts and Wherehouse Music) or by phone at 800-277-1700. Tickets for the June 14 match range in price levels from $16 to $37 and are on sale now through Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 801-325-SEAT (7328), and at all Ticketmaster outlets (including Fred Meyer and Graywhale CD Exchange). Throughout their history, the U.S. women have played domestic matches in 26 states and Washington, D.C., but these will be the first matches in the states of Alabama and Utah.

2003 ALGARVE CUP UP NEXT FOR U.S. WOMEN IN MID-MARCH: Next up on the U.S. Women’s National Team’s busy schedule this year is the 2003 Algarve Cup, which will take place from March 14-20 in Portugal. The prestigious tournament, which is in its 10th year, gets its name from the fact that all the matches are played in smaller venues located all over the Algarve region of Portugal on the southern coast of the country.  The U.S. was placed in a challenging Group A with Canada, Norway and Sweden, while Group B features China, Finland, France and Denmark. The USA opens against regional rival Canada on March 14 in Olhao (2 p.m. local / 9 a.m. ET), faces Norway on March 16 in Ferreiras (4:15 p.m. local / 11:15 a.m. ET) and then finishes group play on March 18 in Vila Real San Antonio against Sweden (4:15 p.m. local / 11:15 a.m. ET). The winners of both groups A and B will meet for the championship on March 20 in Faro.  For the second year, the tournament will feature a Group C with four teams who can finish no higher than 7th if they win their group and then defeat a last place finisher from Group A. Group C features Portugal, Scotland, Wales and Greece.

– U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

U.S. UNDER-20s FACE COLOMBIA IN TWO-GAME SERIES IN FT. LAUDERDALE THIS WEEK: The U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team continued their preparations for the FIFA World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates with two scrimmage wins against D.C. United and the Colorado Rapids last week.  This week, the Under-20s will play a pair of international friendlies against world championship-bound Colombia at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., set for today and Wednesday (Feb. 26).

UNDER-20s TO COMPETE IN MADEIRA TOURNAMENT IN PORTUGAL NEXT WEEK: The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team departs later this week for Portugal, where they will compete in the 7th Annual  Madeira International Tournament on Madeira Island.  In Madeira, the U.S. will face the host country on March 3, Norway on March 5 and a Madeira Regional Select team on March 7. Last year, the U.S. Under-23 MNT finished second in the four-team tourney.

U-20s TO FACE PARAGUAY, GERMANY & KOREA IN DIFFICULT GROUP F AT UAE 2003: The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team has been drawn into Group F with Paraguay, Germany and Korea for the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship in United Arab Emirates.  The U.S. opens against Paraguay on March 27, then faces Germany on March 30 and concludes group play on April 2 against Korea, with all three of their first round games at Abu Dhabi’s Al-Nahyam Stadium. The top two teams from each group and the top four (of six) third-place teams advance to the Round of 16.  The U.S. is one of only five teams to qualify for the last four World Youth Championships, and one of only two teams (Brazil is the other) to finish in the top 15 in each of the last four.

U.S. U-17s DROP TWO MLS MATCHES, CONTINUE PREPPING FOR CONCACAF QUALIFYING: The U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team suffered two rare defeats this week, but bounced back with a convincing 4-0 win over the University of South Florida yesterday.  Four different players scored for the U-17s and forward Jamie Watson provided two assists. The U.S. squad, who topped the Chicago Fire 2-1 earlier this year, lost to two MLS teams, falling 4-0 to the MetroStars on Feb. 20 and 2-0 to the Fire in a rematch on Feb. 19. The Under-17s will continue training in Bradenton until Wednesday (Feb. 26), when they travel south to Sunrise, Fla., where they will undergo their final preparations prior to the CONCACAF Group A Qualifying Tournament in Guatemala City.

ELLINGER TO ANNOUNCE U.S. UNDER-17 QUALIFYING ROSTER TOMORROW: U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach John Ellinger will announce his 18-man roster tomorrow (Feb. 25) for the CONCACAF Group A Qualifying Tournament that takes place from March 5-9 in Guatemala City, Guatemala.  The U.S., the only nation to qualify for all nine previous Under-17 world championships, will depart for Guatemala on Sunday (March 2) after spending four days training in Sunrise, Fla. The U.S. opens the qualifying tournament on March 5 against Jamaica, before facing El Salvador on March 7 and wrapping up the qualifying tournament against the hosts Guatemala on March 9.  The top team from the four-team qualifying group will advance to the 2003 FIFA Under-17 World Championship in Finland, and the second-place team will advance to a home-and-home play-off against the second-place team from CONCACAF Group B, which includes Mexico, Canada, Cuba and Costa Rica.  The Group B tournament will be held in Canada from March 26-30.

U-21 WOMEN TO PLAY THREE MATCHES AT ARCO OTC THIS WEEK: The U.S. Under-21 Women's National Team will train from March 2-8 at the ARCO U.S. Olympic Training Center in a camp that features three quality matches.  The U-21s will face the WUSA's San Diego Spirit on March 4, then face the full Mexican Women's National Team on March 6 and 8.  This will be the second training camp under new head coach Chris Petrucelli, who is preparing the team for the 2003 Nordic Cup, which will be held in Denmark in July.  Six members of the U.S. U-19 World Championship Team were called, as well as seven members of last year's Nordic Cup championship team.  Also named to the roster were two high school seniors, both of whom are too old for the U.S. U-19 WNT, in goalkeeper Kim Bingham and defender Lauren Zealer.
Goalkeepers (2): Karen Bardsley (Cal-Fullerton), Kim Bingham (San Ramon Illusion);
Defenders (8): Jessica Ballweg (Santa Clara), Lori Chalupny (UNC), Keeley Dowling (Tennessee), Amy LePeilbet (Arizona State), Ally Marquand (Stanford University), Nandi Pryce (UCLA), Natalie Spilger (Stanford), Lauren Zealer (San Juan Spirits);
Midfielders (6): Lindse Huie (Portland), Carli Lloyd (Rutgers), Joanna Lohman (Penn State), Manya Makoski (Arizona State), Leslie Osborne (Santa Clara), Kim Yokers (California);
Forwards (6): Liz Bogus (Arizona State), Jenny Farenbaugh (Stanford), Alyssa  Ramsey (UNC), Marcie Ward (Stanford), Kelly Wilson (Texas), Veronica Zepeda (Santa Clara).

U-19 WOMEN TRAVEL TO MEXICO FOR TWO MATCHES THIS WEEK: The U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team departed today for Mexico where the team will face the full Mexican Women's National Team in two matches, the first on Thursday (Feb. 27) at Colima Stadium about three hours outside of Guadalajara and the second on Saturday (March 1) at Jalisco Stadium in Guadalajara. Mexico is preparing for their Women's World Cup playoff matches against the country that finishes third at  the Asia Confederation Qualifying Tournament being held in April.  These will be the first international matches for this new crop of players as they begin the 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 18 players on the roster for this trip, three were members of that 2002 championship team: goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, and forwards Kerri Hanks and Angie Woznuk.
Goalkeepers (2): Laura Comeau (Lee, N.H.), Ashlyn Harris (Satellite Beach, Fla.);
Defenders (6): Jen Buczkowski (Elk Grove Village, Ill.), Stephanie Logterman (Austin, Texas), Stephanie Lopez (Elk  Grove, Calif.), Denay Riley (Washingtonville, N.Y.), Becky Sauerbrunn (Olivette, Mo.), Megan Schnur  (Butler, Pa.);
Midfielders (4): Amy Berend (Highland Village, Texas), Stephanie Kron (Paradise Valley, Ariz.), Lorraine Quinn (Farmingdale, N.Y.), Sarah Sample (Annapolis, Md.);
Forwards (6): Amy Burlingham (Costa Mesa, Calif.), Bristyn Davis (Locust Valley, N.Y.), Kerri Hanks (Allen, Texas), Megan Rapinoe (Redding, Calif.), Julia Schnugg (Alamo, Calif.), Angie Woznuk (El Cajon, Calif.).

– AROUND THE SOCCER WORLD –  

DATES FINALZED FOR 2003 CONCACAF CHAMPIONS CUP: A trio of former champions - and a first-time entrant - get things started when the first round of the 2003 CONCACAF Champions Cup kicks off on March  5. Four-time champion Club América of Mexico will face 1979 winner C.D. F.A.S. in San Salvador, while Arnett Gardens FC of Jamaica, making their first-ever appearance in the competition, will take on 1999 champion CD Necaxa of Mexico in Kingston to begin play in the round of 16. Two series, those matching CSD Comunicaciones of Guatemala and last year's runner-up CA Monarcas Morelia of Mexico, as well as CD Toluca of Mexico and W Connection FC of Trinidad & Tobago, will see their first matches played on March 12. Four days later, three more series swing into action, the CSD Municipal (Guatemala)-San Jose Earthquakes (USA), Deportivo Árabe Unido (Panama)-Columbus Crew (USA) and CD Motagua-Los Angeles Galaxy (USA) pairings. The final series will begin on March 23 when LD Alajuelense (Costa Rica) play host to New England Revolution (USA). The first round will be completed by April 2, with the winners of the home-and-home series advancing to the quarterfinals. In the event the teams are level on aggregate at the end of 180 minutes of play, golden goal extra time will be played, and if no goal is scored, the tie will be decided by penalty kicks.

U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT

PEAK PERFORMERS: A pair of U.S. World Cup defenders are helping their respective teams put up respectable runs of late and climb out of that pesky relegation zone. In Germany, Gregg Berhalter and Energie Cottbus upset fifth-place Werder Bremen 1-0 for its fourth shutout since the winter break and its fourth win in the last five games. In France, David Regis and FC Troyes posted their fourth consecutive shutout, going 3-0-1 in their last four matches.

SOCCER SHOCKER: Borussia Dortmund and German Men’s National Team goalkeeper Jens Lehman became the first player in recent memory to receive a red card ejection for behavior involving one of his own teammates. Lehman was ejected due to an argument and shoving match with Dortmund teammate and  Brazilian defender Marcio Amoroso, giving him a record four ejections in his Bundesliga career.

QUOTABLE:
"It's going to be weird seeing him with the other team, and there's still a sour taste over the way everything went down but we've moved on. We’re going to be looking to beat him all season."
- U.S. MNT midfielder DaMarcus Beasley, before Chicago’s 2-0 pre-season win over the MetroStars and former Fire head coach Bob Bradley. Beasley had a goal and an assist in the exhibition victory yesterday.

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