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U.S. Soccer Announces 2002 Finalists for Best U.S. Crowd and Best Place to Watch the World Cup from the U.S.

CHICAGO (Wednesday, December 4, 2002) — For the first time in its history, the U.S. Soccer Federation has created a series of 10 awards that will honor the standout performances of the calendar year in American soccer and make up the first annual U.S. Soccer “Best of…” Series.

With the help of U.S. National Team head coaches Bruce Arena and April Heinrichs, U.S. Soccer has selected the finalists for each of these first-time awards. Now it’s up to fans to make their voice heard with a vote in one or all of these unique, inaugural awards over the next month at Official online voting for the awards will begin on Friday (Dec. 6) and continue through Dec. 31.

Following on the heels of the 2002 “Best of…” awards series, U.S. Soccer will announce the seven suggested candidates for each of the four annual Chevy Athlete of the Year awards -- Young Female, Young Male, Female and Male -- next week. As the oldest and most prestigious award 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.  For the third straight year, fan votes (along with a media vote) will decide the winner. Online voting will begin at on Friday, Dec. 13 and run through Jan. 8.

The announcement of finalists for each of the 2002 Best of U.S. Soccer awards will be staggered across this week according to the schedule listed below. The following are the finalists for both Best U.S. Crowd and Best Place to Watch the World Cup from the U.S.:

BEST U.S. CROWD: This award goes to a domestic U.S. National Team game that, looking back at 2002, you’re proud to say “I was at that game.” Below are the five finalists (listed in chronological order):
1) Jan. 12 @ Blackbaud Stadium – U.S. WNT 7, Mexico 0 – 5,634 (sell-out)
2) March 2 @ Safeco Field – U.S. MNT 4, Honduras 0 – 38,534 (first soccer match at new stadium)
3) May 12 @ RFK Stadium – U.S. MNT 2, Uruguay 1 – 30,413 (part of “Nike Road to Korea”)
4) May 19 @ Gillette Stadium – U.S. MNT 0, Holland 2 – 36,778 (part of “Nike Road to Korea”)
5) Nov. 2 @ Safeco Field – U.S. WNT 9, Panama 0 – 21,522 (CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup record crowd)

BEST PLACE TO WATCH THE WORLD CUP FROM THE U.S.: Not everyone was lucky enough to be watching the U.S. World Cup Team in a stadium or public square live from Korea. In fact, very few of us were. So the summer became all about catching mid-evening naps when you could, setting the alarm for midway through the night and finding the best place to watch the U.S. boys compete against the world’s best. Here are our five choices for the best place to watch the World Cup from the U.S. in no particular order [Hint: there isn’t a bad choice here.]
1) The Stadium Club, Columbus Crew Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)
2) The Pavilion, Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Mo.)
3) RFK Stadium (Washington, D.C.)
4) Your local soccer-friendly pub
5) Your couch

Remaining 2002 Best of U.S. Soccer Award Schedule
Dec. 5:
 Best In-Game Promotion 
            Best U.S. Goal
Dec. 6: Best U.S. Performance (Player) 
            Best U.S. Performance (Team)