CHICAGO (Monday, May 13, 2002) - The U.S. Paralympic Soccer Team defeated England 3-2 in overtime on May 2 in Kerkrade, Holland, to claim the first international CP Soccer Tournament of the year.
Held in the southeastern part of Holland, near the German border, the U.S. were paired against Scotland, Spain and Ireland in group play, compiling a 2-0-1 record, which included an impressive 5-0 victory over Scotland in their opener on April 29, 2002. Captain Josh McKinney and Eli Wolff led the way for the U.S. with a goal and an assist each.
In their second match against Spain, the U.S. drew 1-1 on April 30. Having previously lost their last two matches to Spain, the U.S. savored their come-from-behind tie, especially considering Spain’s only goal came on a penalty kick. The U.S. goal came midway through the second half with Josh McKinney taking a pass from Eli Wolff and eluding two defenders before skipping a low shot past the diving Spanish goalkeeper.
The U.S. booked a spot in the Championship Game after taking down Ireland 4-3 in a hard-fought match on May 1. A tie or loss against Ireland would have eliminated the U.S. from the championship game, but two goals from Josh Blue and one from Eli Wolff saw the U.S. build a 3-0 halftime lead. A furious Ireland rally in the second half saw the lead cut to 3-2, but McKinney would tally again to give the U.S. their eventual margin of victory.
The championship game against England was an epic battle for the two teams, with hat-trick hero McKinney deciding the match with a golden goal in overtime. On the goal McKinney received a pass from Jon McCullough and then turned away from one defender before accelerating around a second defender to toward goal. After faking a shot to force the goalkeeper to commit, McKinney quickly buried his shot into the open right side of the goal to give the U.S. the win. The goal came less than a minute into the overtime period. The U.S. built a 2-0 halftime lead on two more goals from McKinney, but England would not lay down. The Brits fought back to tie the game and force the golden goal overtime period and setting up McKinney’s heroics.
U.S. captain McKinney would be celebrating again at the end of the tournament, picking up the tournament’s Golden Boot as the top goal scorer with an impressive seven goals in four games. The U.S. will continue training during the summer as they prepare for the Pan American Championships in September. A first-place finish in that tournament would guarantee the USA a berth in the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games.
U.S. PARALYMPIC SOCCER TEAM ROSTER
Adolfo Aguilar (Dallas, Texas), Josh Blue (Denver, Colo.), Roman Grier (Atlanta, Ga.), Tommy Latsch (Euclid, Ohio), Jon McCullough (Washington, D.C.), Josh McKinney, captain (Princeton, W.Va.), Aaron Myers (Flagstaff, Ariz.), Colin Ryan (Massapequa, N.Y.), George Sansonetis (Winter Park, Colo.), John Theobald (Syracuse, N.Y.), Eli Wolff (Boston, Mass.) and Dave Woosnam (Atlanta, Ga.).
The team was coached by head coach Rick Moss (Austin, Texas) and assisted by Team Manager Jim Grier (Atlanta, Ga.).
Date: Opponent - Result -Goals
April 29: vs. Scotland - 5-0 W - Josh McKinney (2), Eli Wolff, Adolfo Aguilar, Jon McCullough
April 30: vs. Spain - 1-1 T - Josh McKinney
May 1: vs. Ireland - 4-3 W - Josh Blue (2), Josh McKinney Eli Wolff
May 2: vs. England - 3-2 W - Josh McKinney (2), Josh Blue