MLS DOMINATED GROUP TO TRAIN AT IMG ACADEMY IN BRADENTON PRIOR TO MATCH: U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bruce Arena has named his roster that will train in preparation for the team’s international match against Canada on January 18 at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The first training camp of 2003 will be held at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida from Jan. 4-16, before the team relocates to Ft. Lauderdale. Six players from the U.S. World Cup side will participate in camp, led by the attacking trio of Brian McBride, Clint Mathis and Landon Donovan. MLS players dominate the roster, with all 10 MLS teams represented for the two-week training camp. Six players from the 2002 MLS Best XI – Wade Barrett, Carlos Bocanegra, Jeff Cunningham, Tim Howard, Steve Ralston, and Taylor Twellman – made the roster. The Columbus Crew contributes the largest contingent to Arena’s side, with McBride leading five members of the 2002 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup champions to Bradenton. In addition to the 28-man roster, Chicago Fire midfielder Chris Armas and FC Nurnberg defender Tony Sanneh will join the team in Florida to continue rehabilitation from injuries.
GIBBS ADDED TO MNT ROSTER: Defender Cory Gibbs has been added to the U.S. MNT’s January roster and will make his U.S. training camp debut with the team convenes Jan. 3 in Bradenton. The FC St. Pauli-based defender was previously invited to train with the U.S. during their trip to Germany last year, but a hamstring injury prevented his participation. Gibbs, 22, is currently spending the winter break from the Bundesliga at his home in Plantation, Fla. The addition of Gibbs brings the U.S. training camp roster to 28 players.
Goalkeepers (4): Joe Cannon, Kevin Hartman, Tim Howard, Nick Rimando;
Defenders (10): Wade Barrett, Carlos Bocanegra, Dan Califf, Brian Dunseth, Nick Garcia, Cory Gibbs, Chad McCarty, Eddie Pope, Ryan Suarez, Sasha Victorine;
Midfielders (9): DaMarcus Beasley, Bobby Convey, Chris Klein, Kyle Martino, Pablo Mastroeni, Richard Mulrooney, Ben Olsen, Steve Ralston, Pete Vagenas;
Forwards (5): Jeff Cunningham, Landon Donovan, Clint Mathis, Brian McBride, Taylor Twellman.
U.S. MEN TO MEET CON JAN. 18 VS. CANADA AT LOCKHART STADIUM IN FT. LAUDERDALE: The U.S. Men’s National Team will open 2003 with an international match against Canada at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., on Saturday, Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m. ET. The match against Canada is a rematch of the team’s 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal clash on January 30 in Pasadena, Calif., which was won by the U.S. in penalty kicks after a well-played 0-0 draw. In their history, the U.S. and Canada have squared off against each other 25 times in a rivalry dating all the way back to 1925, with the U.S. holding a slight 9-8-8 advantage. However, the United States has not lost to Canada in nine consecutive games, compiling a 5-0-4 mark in a stretch dating back more than 17 years to a 2-0 loss in Vancouver on April 2, 1985. Tickets ranging in price levels from $17 to $40 are on sale now at all South Florida Ticketmaster outlets (including FYE, Spec’s Music and Ricky’s Records) or by phone (Ft. Lauderdale: 954-523-3309; Miami: 305-358-5885; West Palm Beach: 561-966-3309).
U.S. WNT TO OPEN ROAD TO 2003 WWC VS. JAPAN ON JAN. 12 IN SAN DIEGO: The U.S. Women's National Team will open its 2003 schedule with a match against Japan on January 12, 2003, at Torero Stadium in San Diego, Calif. The match, which will kick off at 1 p.m. PT (live on ESPN), will represent the USA’s first game in its run to the 2003 Women’s World Cup in China. Tickets ranging in price levels from $20 to $45 are currently on sale at all Southern California Ticketmaster outlets (including Robinson’s-May and Wherehouse Music), by phone at 619-220-8497 and online at www.ussoccer.com. Additionally, less than 100 VIP field-level seats at $150 each, where ticket holders get to keep their chair, will also go on sale at this time. It will be the first of approximately 12 matches the USA will play before the 2003 Women’s World Cup. The U.S. women are 13-0-1 all-time versus Japan and have never lost a match in California, going 12-0-1 dating back to 1996.
U.S. SOCCER TO ANNOUNCE WINNERS OF 2002 “BEST OF…” AWARDS THIS WEEK: Later this week, U.S. Soccer will announce the winners of the inaugural 10 awards that make up the 2002 “Best of…” Series, which was introduced this year to honor the standout elements of the calendar year in American soccer. Fans have just two more days to make their vote count as online voting concludes at the end of tomorrow (Dec. 31).
2002 Best of U.S. Soccer Awards
Best Soccer Bar
Best Soccer Store
Best Soccer Stadium
Best Soccer Fans
Best U.S. Crowd
Best Place to Watch the World Cup from the U.S.
Best In-Game Promotion
Best U.S. Goal
Best U.S. Single-Game Performance (Player)
Best U.S. Single-Game Performance (Team)
– U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –
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 before travelling south to face Jamaica just four days later at the National Stadium in Kingston. Kickoff for the Feb.12 match is set for 2:30 p.m. ET. Fans can follow both matches live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The United States holds a 2-4 lifetime record against Argentina, who are currently ranked fifth in the FIFA World Rankings. The Feb. 8 meeting will be the second ever on U.S. soil. The teams' last met June 13, 1999 in Washington, D.C., when a Joe-Max Moore goal lifted the United States a 1-0 victory and their second straight win against their South American neighbors. The previous victory came four years earlier, when the United States shocked Argentina 3-0 on July 14, 1995, en route to a fourth place finish at the Copa America in Uruguay. Advance tickets ranging in price levels from $15 to $35 will go on sale later this 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 312-528-1290. 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 United States 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 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 on-line at www.ussoccer.com. Groups of 20 or more can order through U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290.
“OUR WAY” DVD & VHS STILL AVAILABLE ONLINE AT ussoccerstore.com: The increasingly popular and high-selling limited-edition U.S. Men’s National Team DVD, "Our Way: The Exclusive Behind-the-Scenes Story of the USA's 2002 World Cup Journey,” is still available at ussoccer.com. “Our Way” gives fans the chance to relive virtually every key moment along the team’s historic run to the quarterfinals, from the moment they stepped off the plane to intense security in Seoul, to the unforgettable bus ride back to the hotel in which they cranked the volume of the onboard karaoke machine and served up their own version of Sinatra’s classic tune. Fans can go inside the U.S. locker room, team meetings and training sessions to witness the unique blend of talent, character, and determination that symbolized the U.S. performance in Korea. As well as highlights from all five matches, special interviews and never-before-seen exclusive footage, fans also get hilarious Outtakes and a Memorable Moments Highlight Reel (including all U.S. goals) for a total of 70 minutes of action. Both the DVD and VHS versions are priced at $30.
– U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –
U.S. TO COMPETE IN FOUR NATIONS TOURNAMENT IN CHINA AT END OF JANUARY: The U.S. Women's National Team will travel to China in January for a major international tournament featuring the top four teams in the world as each nation gears up for the 2003 Women’s World Cup. The USA, Norway, Germany and Women’s World Cup host China will clash in a series of three doubleheaders in three Chinese cities in the three provinces in the southwest region of the country. The Four Nations Tournament will kick off on Jan. 23 at a venue to be determined in the Zhejiang Province, as China faces Germany and the USA takes on Norway. The teams will move to the Women’s World Cup venue Wuhan for the Jan. 26 matches that feature China vs. Norway and the USA vs. Germany. The blockbuster tournament will finish in Shanghai, site of the 2003 Women’s World Cup Final, with rematches of the 1995 Women’s World Cup Final as Germany takes on Norway and the 1999 Women’s World Cup Final as the USA faces China on Jan. 29. The U.S. team will gain invaluable experience in what will be the team’s final visit to China before the Women’s World Cup, which will be held from Sept. 23-Oct. 11 in Shanghai, Hongkou, Hangzhou, Wuhan and Chengdu, facing three teams who not only have already qualified for the Women’s World Cup, but who are among the favorites to win the title. The USA will also get a preview of the venues, travel and atmosphere they should encounter at the 2003 Women’s World Cup.
– YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –
U.S. UNDER-18s HEAD TO SAN DIEGO THIS WEEK FOR WEEK-LONG TRAINING CAMP: George Gelnovatch will lead his Under-18 Men’s National Team into their first training camp of the year from January 2-8 at the ARCO Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. Gelnovatch invited 22 players in for the camp that will include three matches against 1984 Regional Teams as part of a U.S Youth Soccer Interregional competition being staged from January 3-6. The U-18s will play Region II on Jan. 3 at 3 p.m. PT, Region IV on Jan. 4 at 3 p.m. PT and Region III on Jan. 6 at 11 a.m. PT. Three of the team’s leading scorers from 2002 will return for the three matches, including Arturo Alvarez (7 goals, 1 assist), Adam Christman (5 goals and 1 assist) and Craig Capano (5 goals, 1 assist). Eight other players will be making their first Under-18 National Team camp appearance.
U.S. UNDER-20s TO TAKE PART IN MLS COMBINE IN JANUARY: The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team will kick off their 2003 preparation for March’s World Youth Championship with a 13-day training camp in Fort Lauderdrale, Fla., from January 12-24. The Under-20s, who qualified for a U.S. Soccer record fourth consecutive FIFA World Youth Championship in November, will play three matches against MLS Combine teams in January and then conclude their camp with a January 23 game against Mexico’s Under-20 side. The combine teams will be made up of the best senior college players in the nation, as well as MLS’ recent Nike Project-40 signings. Mexico has also qualified for the 2003 World Youth Championship, which will be held in the United Arab Emirates from March 25-April 13. U.S. Under-20 head coach Thomas Rongen is expected to announce his roster next week for the four matches.
UNDER-17s WIN GROUP AT DISNEY SOCCER SHOWCASE: A young U.S. Under-17 MNT took part in the Disney Soccer Showcase in Orlando, Fla., this weekend in Orlando, Fla., posting two wins, two losses and a draw. The U.S. team played without 19 of the players in residency - including co-captains Corey Ashe and Brandon Owens – as the players were allowed to play in the showcase with their regional teams. U.S. head coach John Ellinger looked at several new players in the showcase, bringing in six players who had not previously played with the U.S. Under-17s, including Rodrigo Hidalgo, who scored twice in a 3-0 win over Region II on December 28. Freddy Adu led the way for the U.S., scoring three goals and recording one assist in four matches. The U.S. lost this morning’s match to Region III when two players who have been in the full-time residency program – Cameron Lewis and Michael Harrington – combined to score the game-winner just five minutes from time. The Under-17s will now travel to Seminole, Fla., where they will face AC Milan on January 1 at the Lake Sylvan Sports Complex.
– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –
DEADLINE FOR ONLINE VOTING FOR 2002 CHEVROLET AWARDS APPROACHES: Fans have just one more week to make their voices heard as part of the online voting for U.S. Soccer’s four Chevy Athlete of the Year awards, which continues at www.ussoccer.com. As the oldest and most prestigious awards of their kind, U.S. Soccer’s Chevy Athlete of the Year awards date back to 1984 for the men and 1985 for the women, with the winners of the two major awards receiving vehicles from Chevrolet.
CONCACAF EARNS ADDITIONAL HALF SPOT IN 2006 FIFA WORLD CUP: CONCACAF, the governing body of soccer in North and Central America, as well as the Caribbean, received an additional half spot in qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup via an announcement last week by FIFA's Executive Committee, meeting in Madrid, Spain. The half position brings CONCACAF's qualifying total to 3.5, with a playoff between the region's fourth place finisher in 2006 qualifying and the fifth-place finisher from Asia (who have 4.5 total positions). With the Oceania region picking up automatic qualification for the first time, Europe (13) and South America (4) retained their automatic bid totals, but will no longer have a playoff position available to them. Africa remained at five automatic entries.