HAMM RETURNS TO U.S. SQUAD AFTER ONE-GAME BREAK: The U.S. Women’s National Team will play its final match of 2003 when it faces regional rival Mexico on Sunday (Nov. 2) at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas (3 p.m. CT live on ESPN2 and ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by PHILIPS Electronics) in a game being promoted by the Dallas Burn of Major League Soccer and North Texas State Soccer Association. Tickets for the game, which is being presented by Avaya, can be purchased by calling the Burn office at 214-979-0303 or through Ticketmaster at 214-373-8000. Fans can also purchase tickets at the Dallas Burn office located at 14800 Quorum Drive, Suite 300. Ticket prices start as low as $20 and go up in range to $120. U.S. head coach April Heinrichs will bring 19 players to Dallas to wrap up a successful 2003 season in which the USA has posted a 16-2-4 record so far. The roster features the return of superstar forward Mia Hamm, who missed the USA’s last match (a 2-2 tie with Italy in Kansas City) while resting after the Women’s World Cup. Only two players from the U.S. 2003 Women’s World Cup Team that will not be in Dallas: defender Cat Reddick, who will be with her UNC Tar Heels college team preparing for the ACC Tournament, and defender Kate Sobrero, who is getting married on Friday (Oct. 31) in Boston, Mass. Heinrichs has called in defender Heather Mitts, who is fresh off a stint as a studio analyst for ABC/ESPN/ESPN2’s coverage of the Women’s World Cup, to fill out that position. U.S. forward Tiffeny Milbrett, who scored the clinching goal in the 3-1 win over Canada in the WWC Third Place Match, comes into the match needing just one more goal to become the fifth player in the history of international soccer to score 100 goals. She came very close in the USA’s match against Italy, but instead Dallas soccer fans may be treated to a slice of soccer history.
GOALKEEPERS (2): Briana Scurry, Siri Mullinix;
DEFENDERS (6): Kylie Bivens, Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett, Heather Mitts, Christie Pearce, Danielle Slaton;
MIDFIELDERS (6): Shannon Boxx, Angela Hucles, Julie Foudy, Kristine Lilly, Tiffany Roberts, Aly Wagner;
FORWARDS (5): Mia Hamm, Shannon MacMillan, Tiffeny Milbrett, Cindy Parlow, Abby Wambach.
U.S. PARALYMPIC SOCCER TEAM QUALIFIES FOR 2004 ATHENS GAMES: The U.S. Paralympic Soccer Team qualified for the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece on Oct. 20 with a sixth-place finish at the Paralympic World Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The top eight teams in the 11-team tournament all qualified for the 2004 Paralympic Games. Paralympic soccer is played with seven players per side, across 30-minute halves, with athletes qualifying for the competition by having Cerebral Palsy, Traumatic Brain Disorder or having survived a stroke. The 12-player U.S. roster went 2-2 in group play, qualifying for a fifth-place placement game against Ireland and thus guaranteeing the team a spot in Athens in 2004. The U.S. lost their placement game to Ireland 3-1 on Oct. 20 to finish the tournament with a 2-3 record. The U.S. opened the event with a 3-0 loss to eventual fourth-place finisher and host Argentina on Oct. 10, and then faced intense must-win games against Great Britain and Portugal. Behind goals from Josh McKinney and Mike Peters, the U.S. got the 2-0 win they needed against Great Britain, and went into the Portugal game knowing that a victory would likely give them a high enough finish to qualify for Athens. A single goal from Mike Peters against Portugal gave the U.S. the 1-0 victory they needed to clinch a spot in next year's Games. The U.S. closed out group play with a 2-2 record after a 5-0 loss to eventual tournament champion Ukraine.
U-23s TO FACE ST. KITTS & NEVIS IN OLYMPIC QUALIFYING IN MID-NOVEMBER: The U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team will meet St. Kitts & Nevis in the second round of CONCACAF Olympic qualifying, after St. Kitts & Nevis advanced by defeating Dominica in their first round qualifying series. The U.S. begins qualifying on Saturday, Nov. 15 at St. Kitts & Nevis. The following Wednesday (November 19), the U.S. will return home to complete the second leg of that series at a site to be determined. St. Kitts advanced to the second round after securing a 3-1 home victory on October 11 at Warner Park in Basseterre, and claiming the series 4-1 on aggregate. They had scored a 1-0 upset win in the first leg on Sept. 7 in Grand Bay, Dominica. Four different scorers lead the tiny island nation into their first-ever meeting with the United States in Olympic qualifying play. In all, 25 teams will participate in CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying, with the United States, El Salvador, Honduras and Saint Lucia receiving byes into the second round. Mexico, as the host, has a bye into the group play stage of the tournament.
CONCACAF MOVES WOMEN'S OLYMPIC QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT TO COSTA RICA: CONCACAF has announced that the 2004 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualification Final Round will be relocated to Costa Rica and will be played from February 25 through March 7, 2004. The final round of the tournament was originally slated to be played in Mexico. The United States has received a bye through the CONCACAF Olympic preliminaries and will play in Group B, and will be joined by the winners of preliminary qualifying Group 1 (Trinidad & Tobago and Surinam), Group 3 (Haiti and Dominican Republic) and Group 4 (Mexico, Honduras and Nicaragua). The top two teams from round robin play in Groups A and B will face off in the semifinals of the Final Round tournament, with the finalists receiving CONCACAF's two berths to the 2004 Summer Games in Athens. The change in venue for the final round now gives Costa Rica a bye through the preliminaries and a spot in Group A alongside Canada. Mexico will now host a preliminary three-team competition with Honduras and Nicaragua from December 10-14, 2003 (Costa Rica was originally scheduled to host that round-robin competition). The qualifying preliminaries include two other three-team competitions: Guatemala hosts Panama and Belize from November 19-23, 2003, and the Cayman Islands host Jamaica and U.S. Virgin Islands from December 3-7, 2003. Rounding out preliminary action, Haiti faces the Dominican Republic in a two-game series October 26 and November 9, and Suriname takes on Trinidad & Tobago in a two-games series on Nov. 9 and 12.
– U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –
U-19 WOMEN ARRIVE AT HOME DEPOT CENTER FOR 7-DAY TRAINING CAMP: The Under-19 Women's National Team arrived in Carson, Calif., this weekend for a seven-day training camp at The Home Depot Center. The 24 players will be divided into two teams that will play matches against the U-15 Boys South Bay Soccer Club tomorrow (Oct. 28). On Thursday (Oct. 30) they will play an intra-squad scrimmage. U-19 WNT head coach Tracy Leone has called in a 24-player roster for the week-long camp:
U-19 WNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (4): Laura Comeau (Lee, N.H.), Kelsey Davis (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Ashlyn Harris (Satellite Beach, Fla.), Lynn Murray (Atlanta, Ga.);
DEFENDERS (4): Nikki Krzysik (Clifton, N.J.), Stephanie Logterman (Austin, Texas), Kia McNeil (Avon, Conn.), Kasey Moore (Mission Viejo, Calif.);
MIDFIELDERS (10): Yael Averbuch (Upper Montclair, N.J.), Cydney Currie (Irving, Texas), Marti Desjarlais (Pewaukee, Wisc.), Lisa Ducote (Fredericksburg, Va.), Melissa Garey (Gonzalez, La.), Jamie Gilbert (North Andover, Mass.), Caitlin Kennedy (Euless, Texas), Ashlee Pistorius (Bloomington, Ill.), Lorraine Quinn (Farmingdale, N.Y.);
FORWARDS (6): Tina DiMartino (Massapequa, N.Y.), Sheree Gray (Toms River, N.J.), Kerri Hanks (Allen, Texas), Meagan Holmes (Timonium, Md.), Alexa Orand (Orange, Calif.), Megan Rapinoe (Redding, Calif.).
U-19 WNT Schedule
Oct. 28 U-15 Boys South Bay Soccer Club (two matches)
U-17 MEN ARRIVE IN FRANCE FOR VAL DE MARNE TOURNAMENT THIS WEEK: The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team arrived in Paris, France last weekend in preparation for the Val de Marne Tournament, which the team will compete in from Oct. 28-Nov. 1. The USA’s first match is tomorrow (Oct. 28) against Japan. The team will then meet Poland two days later, before wrapping up tournament play against the host country on Saturday (Nov. 1). The U-17 MNT is led by two players that appeared in the FIFA U-17 World Championship in Finland in August in midfielder Danny Szetela and 14-year-old forward Freddy Adu.
U-17 MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Marcus Rein (Modesto, Calif.), Stephen Sandbo (Columbus, Ohio);
DEFENDERS (6): Greg Folk (Woodland Hills, Calif.), Julian Valentin (Lancaster, Pa.), Nathan Sturgis (St. Augustine, Fla.), Adam Sloustcher (Pleasanton, Calif.), Jay Singh (San Bruno, Calif.), Richard Edgar (Mechanicsville, Md.);
MIDFIELDERS (6): Jordan Graye (Washinton, D.C.), Dax McCarty (Maitland, Fla.), Daniel Szetela (Clifton, N.J.), Ryan Soroka (Langhorne, Pa.), Robbie Rogers (Palos Verde, Calif.);
FORWARDS (3): Rodrigo Hidalgo (Atlantis, Fla.), Eric Avila (Encinitas, Calif.), Freddy Adu (Potomac, Md.).
U-17 MNT Schedule -- Val de Marne Tournament
Oct. 28 Japan
Oct. 30 Poland
Nov. 1 France
– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –
NATIONAL SOCCER HALL OF FAME HONORS NASL AT 2003 INDUCTION WEEKEND: The 2003 National Soccer Hall of Fame Induction took place this weekend at the National Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum Complex in Oneonta, N.Y. Along with the annual Induction Weekend festivities, the Hall hosted an NASL reunion, as the 2003 Induction Class was comprised entirely of builders and players that are NASL Alumni. Along with the new Hall of Fame Inductees, such former NASL stars as Giorgio Chinaglia, Ricky Davis, Juli Veee, Werner Roth and Bobby Iarusci attended the weekend's festivities.
- U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT -
PEAK PERFORMER: With 12 goals and 17 assists, Preki became the only two-time MLS Budweiser Scoring Champion. His 41 points equaled his total when he claimed the award in 1997 and tops his years of age (40) by just one little point. Having kept the Wizards in the post-season chase like he’s done throughout his entire career in Kansas City, the MLS machine deserved a good, long look when it’s MVP trophy-givin’ time.
MARQUEE MATCH-UP: Take your pick of any of the three MLS Playoff matches (Chicago vs. D.C., MetroStars vs. New England, or San Jose vs. L.A.) that kick off on Saturday (Nov. 1). With home-field advantage a bit of a misnomer in the MLS home-and-home playoff structure, the team that wins this first game could be the one most likely to advance to the semi’s and have a shot at the MLS Cup on Sunday, Nov. 23.
SOCCER SHOCKER: It was bound to happen. The normally well-behaved Wrecking Crew supporters club finished the season with a sour taste in their mouths, and it wasn’t from the brats. After watching McBride & Co. underachieve despite opening the season looking loaded on paper, they unfurled a "Sack Andrulis" banner midway through a 6-2 win over Chicago that wasn’t enough to slip into the post-season. A rare chorus of boo’s was also heard as Columbus missed the playoffs by just a point. Adding insult to injury were the Fire’s Barn Burner fanatics, who made the drive from Chicago to taunt the Crew faithful, causing a ruckus before security intervened.
QUOTABLE: "If the club wants changes, I can sleep with that, but I will be very disappointed. We have been dealt some brutal cards this season."
--D.C. United head coach Ray Hudson, before a 1-1 draw with Kansas City that helped them clinch the eighth and final spot of the MLS post-season, despite an injury-plagued season