CHICAGO (Wednesday, July 2, 2003) - The schedule for the U.S. Women’s National Team during its final run to the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003 has been set, and it features two send-off matches, the first against Costa Rica at The Home Depot Center in Los Angeles on Monday, Sept. 1, with the Labor Day kickoff at 8 p.m. PT live on ESPN2.
The USA will then travel to northern California to face Mexico on Sunday, Sept. 7, at Spartan Stadium with a 10 a.m. PT kickoff on ESPN in the final match before the U.S. women begin Women’s World Cup play on Sept. 21 against an opponent to be determined.
The USA will come together for its final pre-Women’s World Cup camp on Wednesday, Aug. 20, in San Diego and train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista from Aug. 20-24. That week also marks the run-up to the WUSA championship game – Founders Cup III – which is taking place on Aug. 24 at Torero Stadium, meaning every member of the USA’s 2003 Women’s World Cup Team will be in San Diego during those five days, either with the National Team or with one of the two WUSA clubs in the title game. U.S. Women’s National Team head coach April Heinrichs will name the Women’s World Cup Team in mid-August.
Following the Founders Cup III, the U.S. women will have four days off between Aug. 25-28 when there will be no media access, before traveling up the freeway to Los Angeles to hold their first ever practices at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The USA will train at The Home Depot Center on Aug. 29, 30 and 31 and then will play the first-ever match for any U.S. National Team at the sparkling new Home Depot Center, site of six matches of the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup, including the championship game on Oct. 12.
The USA will stay in Los Angeles for training from Sept. 2-4 at The Home Depot Center, and then continue its trek north, traveling up the California coast to train on Sept. 5 and 6 in the San Jose area before facing Mexico on Sept. 7 in the first half of a doubleheader that will also feature the San Jose Earthquakes against the New England Revolution (12:30 p.m. PT). The match at Spartan Stadium (where the U.S. women are 4-0-0 all-time and have never given up a goal) gives the San Francisco/San Jose Bay Area -- a venue that will not host Women’s World Cup matches -- the chance to cheer their team on in their final match before the Women’s World Cup beings two weeks later.
The U.S. team will then take approximately a week off before re-grouping in Washington, D.C. to prepare for their 2003 Women’s World Cup opener.
Individual tickets for the Sept. 1 game in Los Angeles will go on sale in mid-August through Ticketmaster and online at ussoccer.com, pending availability following the sale of venue-specific series tickets for Women's World Cup matches at the Home Depot Center.
Tickets for the Sept. 7 game in San Jose ranging in price levels from $20 to $50 go on sale starting Monday, July 14, at 10:00 a.m. PT at all Ticketmaster outlets (including Tower Records, Wherehouse Music and Rite-Aid), by phone (San Jose 408-998-8497; San Francisco 415-421-8497; Oakland 510-625-8497), and online at ussoccer.com.
The USA has faced Costa Rica twice in its history, both times in CONCACAF Gold Cup tournaments, winning 8-0 in 2000 and 7-0 last November in Seattle, Wash., in the match that qualified the USA for the 2003 Women’s World Cup. The USA has played and defeated Mexico eight times in its history, most recently a 3-0 win in the opening match of the 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup in Pasadena, Calif.
Mexico is currently preparing for two of the biggest matches in its history on July 5 and 12 when it will face Japan in a two-game series to determine the 16th and final berth in the 2003 Women’s World Cup. The first leg will be played in Mexico City and the second leg in Tokyo. In 1999, Mexico qualified by winning a two-game series against Argentina and became the first Spanish-speaking country to qualify for a Women’s World Cup.
The next match for the U.S. women is against Brazil at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans, La., on July 13 at 3 p.m. CT live on ESPN. Brazil, which won the 2003 South American Women’s Championship to qualify for the Women’s World Cup, has participated in all three previous Women’s World Cup tournaments, as well as the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, and has advanced to the semifinals in the last three world championships, falling to the USA in the last two.
The USA and Brazil played an historic encounter on July 4, 1999, at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto in front of 73,123 fans with the Americans prevailing, 2-0, on goals from Cindy Parlow and Michelle Akers. The two teams met again in Canberra, Australia, at the 2000 Olympics as the U.S. won, 1-0, on a goal from Mia Hamm, which was the most recent meeting between the two teams.
Brazil and the USA also met in group play at the 1991 Women’s World Cup, a 5-0 U.S. win, but the South Americans have improved dramatically since then and now are legitimate challengers for every world championship. The Brazilian Under-19 National Team, captained by San Diego Spirit midfielder Daniela and featuring numerous players that will face the USA in New Orleans, advanced to the semifinals of the 2002 FIFA U-19 World Championship, falling in penalty kicks to host Canada.
Prior to beginning Women’s World Cup play, the U.S. women will have played nine games this year against teams that will be participating in the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003.