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U.S. Soccer Wire - June 19, 206


U.S. MNT Draws, 1-1, With Italy, Faces Ghana on Thursday, June 22,
in Last Group E Match of 2006 FIFA World Cup

MNT BATTLES ITALY TO 1-1 TIE: In one of the all-time great performances in U.S. Soccer history, the U.S. played with nine men for 43 minutes to tie Italy, 1-1, on Saturday, June 17. It was their second match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup with a gutsy performance and spectacular saves from Kasey Keller. The surest chance that the U.S. has to advance is with a victory vs. Ghana on June 22 combined with an Italy victory over the Czech Republic. There are numerous scenarios in which the U.S. could advance if they win and Czech Republic gets a win or tie, but they require the U.S. substantially improving their goal differential. Both Group E finales will be played on Thursday, June 22, with 4 p.m. local time kickoffs (10 a.m. ET). Both Pablo Mastroeni and Eddie Pope will be out for the match vs. Ghana after receiving red cards against Italy. The U.S. is now 0-3-3 vs. Italy all-time, including 0-2-1 in World Cup play, and has an overall 6-15-3 record in the World Cup, including 2-3-2 under Arena.



WNT TO FACE IRELAND IN JULY: In the second of three matches in July, the U.S. Women’s National Team will face Ireland at 1 p.m. PT on Sunday, July 23, in San Diego, Calif., at Torero Stadium on the campus of the University of San Diego. All three matches will be broadcast live on ESPN2 as soccer fans across the USA will get a chance to see the new-look U.S. team in its first domestic games of 2006. The confirmation of the Ireland match completes a July schedule that features three games over three weekends and will also see the USA play Sweden on Saturday, July 15, at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn., in the USA’s first domestic match of the year. Kickoff for USA-Sweden is set for 5 p.m. CT. After the Ireland match on July 23, the USA will play in Cary, N.C. against Canada at SAS Soccer Park on Sunday, July 30, at 1 p.m. ET. Fans can also follow all three matches on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. Tickets for USA-Ireland will go on sale starting tomorrow, June 14, at 10 a.m. PT online at ussoccer.com, at all San Diego and Southern California area Ticketmaster outlets (including Tower Records, Robinson's-May and Second Spin stores) and by phone at 619-220-8497. (Note: Tickets will be available at Torero Stadium only on the day of the event.) Groups of 15 or more can purchase tickets by logging onto ussoccer.com or calling (312) 528-1290.

ABC EARNS 5.2 OVERNIGHT NIELSEN RATING FOR U.S.-ITALY WORLD CUP MATCH: The coverage of USA-Italy's scintillating World Cup match on Saturday earned high marks in the United States for both ABC and Univision. On ABC, the match earned a 5.2 overnight Nielsen rating, the highest overnight rating for a World Cup game on ABC since the 1998 final between Brazil and France (which earned a 7.0). Univision did a 13.5 NHTI (Nielsen Hispanic Television Index) household rating for the match, translating to 1,511,000 Hispanic TV homes. Overall, there were 2,661,000 Hispanic viewers, making it the fourth most-watched game of this tournament.

STOTT SEES TIME AS FOURTH OFFICIAL AT 2006 FIFA WORLD CUP: U.S. Soccer referee Kevin Stott, along with assistant referees Chris Strickland and Greg Barkey, is in Germany as part of FIFA’s Referee Development Group. Stott performed his first World Cup duties on Sunday, June 11, serving as the Fourth Official in Portugal’s 1-0 win against Angola. He was also the Fourth Official on Tuesday, June 13, in the match between France and Switzerland and on Thursday, June 15, in the England vs. Trinidad & Tobago contest. During the first matchup, Chris Strickland was on the sideline as the game’s Fifth Official, meaning that he was prepared to take the place of an assistant referee should anything happen, leaving him unable to continue assisting in the match. On Tuesday, Greg Barkey served as the Fifth Official, with Strickland picking up the duties again on Thursday.

– YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

U.S. U-21 WOMEN WIN TWO, TIE ONE IN MARYLAND; NORDIC CUP NEXT: The U.S. Under-21 Women’s National Team won two games and tied one in three matches against USL W-League teams last week during a training camp in Maryland. The USA started with a 5-0 win over the Virginia Majestics on June 12 in Arlington, Va. Midfielder Sarah Huffman opened the scoring in just the 6th minute and Tiffeny Weimer made it 2-0 just before halftime, running onto a long punt from goalkeeper Val Henderson. Forward Amanda Cinalli scored her first goal for the U-21s in the 71st minute, followed by defender Rachel Buehler adding her first of the year in the 79th. Midfielder Sheree Gray scored the final goal six minutes from time, also her first goal of the year. Two days later, on June 14, the U.S. U-21s downed the defending W-League champion New Jersey Wildcats in Boyds, Maryland at Maryland Soccer Plex by a 1-0 score. Substitute forward Bristyn Davis got the dramatic winner in the 84th minute, stealing the ball from the Wildcats back line and slipping a 15-yard shot into the left corner for the game’s only goal. The USA finished the three-game set with a match against the Washington Freedom Reserves on June 17 at the Soccer Plex, tying 2-2. The U-21s gave up a goal to former WUSA player Casey Zimny in the 8th minute, but forward Katie Griffin tied the match in the 18th minute. The USA took the lead through Weimer in the 39th, only to see Jill Porto tie the game in the 65th minute. The U.S. U-21s moved to 8-2-1 on the year. This was the last training camp before U.S. head coach Jill Ellis chooses her roster for the 2006 Nordic Cup, the annual competition that includes almost all of the world’s top U-21 women’s teams. The Nordic Cup will be held this summer in Norway from July 16-22. The USA has won an unprecedented seven straight Nordic Cups against the top U-21 teams from Europe.

U.S. Under-21 WNT Results
Date       Opponent                               Result     U.S. Goal Scorers
June 12   Virginia Majestics                     5-0 W     Huffman, Weimer, Cinalli,
                                                                        Buehler, Gray
June 14  New Jersey Wildcats                1-0 W     Davis
June 17  Washington Freedom Reserves  2-2 T      Griffin, Weimer


U.S. U-17 MNT IN TRAINING CAMP AT THE HDC, WILL FACE BAKERSFIELD BRIGADE: The U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team is at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., for an 11-day training camp that began June 11 and runs through June 22. U.S. U-17 MNT head coach John Hackworth took 38 players into camp, including 18 who are not members of U.S. Soccer's Residency Program. The U.S. U-17s kicked off camp with a 4-1 loss to the Chivas USA Reserves, with Brendan King scoring the USA’s only goal. The U-17 squad followed up with a 2-0 win against the U.S. Under-15 Boys’ National Team with goals from Taylor White and Gye Panuccio, and a 2-1 win against the PDL’s Bakersfield Brigade, off goals from King and Abdusalam Ibrahim. The U-17 Men will wrap up camp with a match on June 22 against the Los Angeles Galaxy Reserves.

U.S. Under-17 MNT Training Camp Schedule
Date      Opponent                     Result     U.S. Goal Scorer(s)
June 14 Chivas USA Reserves    1-4 L      Brendan King
June 16 U.S. U-15 MNT               2-0 W     Taylor White, Gye Panuccio
June 17 Bakersfield Brigade          2-1 W     Abdusalam Ibrahim, Brendan King
June 22 L.A. Galaxy Reserves


U.S. U-15 BNT WRAPS UP WEEK-LONG CAMP AT THE HDC: The U.S. Under-15 Boys' National Team finished up a weeklong camp at The Home Depot Center on Saturday, June 16, with a 2-0 loss to the U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team. The U-15s played eight matches as 37 players were called in for the six-day camp. Players were split into two teams and played eight total games, winning six of them and losing only twice. The U-15s kicked off the first matchday on June 12 with a 3-2 win against the U-16 Rampage squad, with two goals from Paul Islas and one from Scott Caldwell. The other U-15 team fell, 1-2, to the Irvine Strikers, with Dersu Abolfathi scoring the team's lone goal. On June 13, Paul Islas struck again for the U-15s, this time for a 1-0 win against SoCal United. Also scoring were Dylan Mencia, Andrew Lubahn, James Balba and Abolfathi, as the second match saw the U.S. defeat the Poway Vaqueros in a 4-0 win. Two days later on June 15, the U.S. got goals from Amobi Okugo and Ryan Finley in a 2-0 win against the Rampage, as well as from Eder Arreola and Ade Akinsanya in a 2-1 win against the Flyers. The U.S. youth closed out camp with a win and a loss on June 16, falling, 2-0, to the U.S. U-17s and winning, 3-2, against the San Diego Surf on goals from C.J. Phelps, Hasani Sinclair and James Balba.

U.S. U-15 Boys' National Team Results
Date      Opponent           Score       U.S. Goal Scorer(s)
June 12  Irvine Strikers     1-2 L        Dersu Abolfathi
June 12  Rampage U-16    3-2 W      Paul Islas 2, Scott Caldwell
June 13  SoCal United       1-0 W      Paul Islas
June 13  Poway Vaqueros  4-0 W      Dylan Mencia (pk), Andrew Lubahn, James Balba, Dersu Abolfathi
June 15  Rampage U-16     2-0 W      Amobi Okugo, Ryan Finley
June 15  Flyers                 2-1 W      Eder Arreola, Ade Akinsanya
June 16  San Diego Surf    3-2 W       C.J. Phelps, Hasani Sinclair, James Balba
June 16  U.S. U-17 MNT    0-2 L         --


– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

LUFTHANSA HELPS U.S. FANS CATCH WORLD CUP FEVER: Besides providing the U.S. Men's National Team with Business Jet aircrafts during the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Lufthansa is also "Bringing the World to the Cup" in the United States. Festivities include events at sports bars in gateway cities nationwide where soccer fans can gather to cheer on their favorite teams. Lufthansa also has street teams of photographers taking pictures of fans wearing soccer ball noses which are then displayed on the Reuters jumbotron billboard at Times Square. Fans can also upload their own photos, as well as enter the "Score Your Own Goal" sweepstakes to win prizes. Check listings for city-specific events at luftansa-usa.com/soccer.

FUTBOL DE PRIMERA BROADCASTS WORLD CUP IN SPANISH AND ENGLISH: Futbol de Primera is bringing U.S. fans live broadcasts of the 2006 FIFA World Cup across the United States in Spanish. Broadcasters are led by Andres Cantor, known for his famous "Gooool!" call, and include former U.S. National Team head coach, Bora Milutinovic, and former Colombia National Team and MLS star Carlos Valderrama. Futbol de Primera has also partnered with XM Satellite Radio to bring listeners the first English-language U.S. radio broadcast of an entire World Cup. Joining the XM Satellite team will be two-time U.S. World Cup veteran Jeff Agoos, U.S. World Cup veteran Christopher Sullivan and former U.S. MNT player Manny Lagos. More information about the Spanish- and English-language broadcasts is available at LaRadioDelMundial.com.

ALAN I. ROTHENBERG RECEIVES PRESTIGIOUS FIFA ORDER OF MERIT AWARD: At the annual FIFA Congress in Munich on June 7, FIFA awarded its most prestigious honor to Alan I. Rothenberg, U.S. Soccer’s President from 1990 through 1998. Rothenberg is widely credited as the man who brought an era of professionalism to U.S. Soccer in the years surrounding the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States. Under Rothenberg’s guidance, soccer gained new prominence on the sporting landscape in the United States. At the club level, the 67-year-old Rothenberg was the founder and chairman of Major League Soccer, for which he was honored when the league named their championship trophy after him, dubbing it the Alan I. Rothenberg Trophy during their inaugural season in 1996. Rothenberg is just the sixth American to receive the distinguished FIFA award, previously bestowed to Michelle Akers, Gene Edwards, Doug Ivester, Dr. Henry Kissinger and Fernando Alvarez.

2006 LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP THIRD ROUND PAIRINGS SET: U.S. Soccer announced the third round pairings for the 2006 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Thursday (June 15). The third round will take place on July 12, with eight new entrants—four teams from the United Soccer Leagues First Division and four from Major League Soccer—facing the winners of the June 28 second round games. With the first round being completed on Thursday, June 15, the original 42-team field is now down to 33 clubs. All 12 MLS teams, all eight of the U.S.-based USL First Division teams, six of the nine USL Second Division teams and eight teams from the PDL had places in the 2006 tournament. Additionally, regional qualifying narrowed down the field of USASA teams to eight. A schedule and results for the 2006 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is available at ussoccer.com.

HYDRATION GUIDELINES AVAILABLE AT USSOCCER.COM: Adolescent males typically lose up to 1.5 liters of sweat per hour when performing intense soccer activities in the heat, says a new first-of-its-kind study from the University of Connecticut presented this week at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) annual conference in Denver, Colorado. This study, coupled with the extra attention soccer is getting leading into the sport’s most elite international tournament and the quickly approaching heat of summer, has prompted the U.S. Soccer Federation – the governing body of soccer in the United States – to develop and distribute new Youth Soccer Heat and Hydration Guidelines to coaches and parents nationwide. The goal is to help prevent the potentially deadly effects of heat illness among the 14 million U.S. children who play soccer and, as it relates to more elite levels, increase physical performance of the next generation of US soccer stars. The Heat and Hydration Guidelines are available in ussoccer.com's Resource Center, in the Sports Medicine section.

US CLUB SOCCER NATIONAL CUP V LAS VEGAS REGIONAL CHAMPIONS CROWNED: 2006 National Cup V Region F Championships, and accompanying invitations to the National Cup V Finals, were awarded to 22 teams June 13 in Las Vegas. Arsenal FC (Calif.) advanced three regional champions to the finals, the most out of any club in the Las Vegas region. Three other clubs won a pair of Region F titles: California Odysessy (Calif.), Irvine Strikers (Calif.), and Rebels Select (Nev.). Winners from each of the National Cup V Regionals in Boys and Girls U-12 through U-17 age groups will compete in the Finals to be held in Greensboro, N.C. on July 22-25 (Girls U-12 through U-17) and July 28-31 (Boys U-12 through U-17). Region E and Region C competition in San Bernardino, Calif. and Jacksonville, Fla., respectively, concludes Tuesday, June 20, with Region B action in Fort Dix, N.J. taking place June 24-27.

Super Group Boys Region F Champions
U-13 – Arsenal FC The Gunners (Calif.)
U-14 – Irvine ISC Strikers (Calif.)
U-15 – Irvine ISC Strikers (Calif.)
U-16 – Maui United Hurricanes 90 (Hawaii)
U-16 – FC Bayern (Calif.)
U-17 – California Odyssey Red (Calif.)

Premier Boys Region F Champions
U-12 – Arsenal FC (Calif.)
U-13 – Juventus Sport Monarcas (Calif.)
U-14 – California Odyssey Red (Calif.)
U-15 – Paris Saint Germain FC (Calif.)
U-16 – La Roca Nighthawks (Utah)
U-17 – Real Colorado Real Atletico (Colo.)

Super Group Girls Region F Champions
U-15 – NFC Tabagators 91 Green (Nev.)
U-16 – Rebels Select Red (Nev.)
U-17 – Rebels Select Red (Nev.)

Premier Girls Region F Champions
U-12 – SC Del Sol Xtreme White (Ariz.)
U-13 – Arsenal FC White (Calif.)
U-13 – Heat FC 93 Orange (Nev.)
U-14 – Real Hawaii (Hawaii)
U-15 – Les Bois United White (Idaho)
U-16 – Rio Vista FC 90 Tiburonas (N.M.)
U-17 – Honolulu Bulls (Hawaii)



*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: In continuing with the team spirit of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the U.S. MNT is this week’s Peak Performer after battling it out against a tough Italian squad for a 1-1 draw on Saturday. The U.S. ended the match with nine men on the field to Italy’s 10 after Pablo Mastroeni and Eddie Pope were both shown red cards. The U.S. now has one final Group E match, against Ghana on Thursday, to determine whether or not they will go on to the Round of 16.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: The Group of Death got very interesting on Saturday (June 17) when Ghana defeated the Czech Republic, 2-0, and the U.S. drew, 1-1, vs. Italy. Points and a ticket to the next round are up for grabs in the final group game on Thursday, June 22, at 10 a.m. ET. The U.S. will face Ghana in Nuremburg while Italy and the Czech Republic duke it out in Hamburg, live on ESPN and ESPN2, respectively. Fans can also follow the U.S. match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.

SOCCER SHOCKER: Many a jaw dropped open in the second minute of Saturday’s match between Ghana and the Czech Republic. Instead of the Czechs scoring the first goal like they did in the early minutes of the game against the U.S., the goalscorer was Ghanian Asamoah Gyan. Even more shocking was the final result, a 2-0 win for Ghana, after Sulley Muntari knocked home Ghana’s second goal in the 82nd minute.

QUOTABLE: “This is a group of steel, and the USA's performance against us proved that."
-- Italy Manager Marcello Lippi gives his take on Group E's reputation as the most difficult in the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

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