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Archive - March 2004

Center Circle
March 25, 2004
Volume IV, Issue 3

Table of Contents

1.  Armchair Midfielder:
2004 MLS Off-Season Moves
2.  In 3’s:
Under-17 Midfielder Danny Szetela
3.  Gear Galore:
New U.S. MNT Hooded Fleece
4.  Queries & Anecdotes:
WNT defender Kylie Bivens
5.  Mark That Calendar:
MNT vs. Poland - March 31, 2004
6.  Superstar!!!:
MNT goalkeeper Jonny Walker
7.  Fan Point/Counterpoint:
Who will be the 2004 MLS MVP
8.  You Don’t Know Jack (Marshall):
2003 MLS Trivia

  1. Armchair Midfielder: 2004 MLS Off-Season Moves
    A monthly column about the State of U.S. Soccer that takes a hard look at everything from the performance of the U.S. National Teams to pro soccer in the good ‘ole U-S-of-A . If you’re looking for a viewpoint that you won’t see in a generic, nuts-and-bolts U.S. Soccer press release, you’ve come to the right place.

    With decidedly fewer power lunches and less cell phone abuse by MLS General Managers in the off-season, the buzz between last November and now has been just as much about the marquee players that have moved on from MLS (Howard, McBride and Mathis) than it has been about the relatively few big-name players coming into the league. But the player personnel pros at the league office can get away with that when one of those players is Freddy Adu, 14-year-old fan favorite and rapidly-maturing media magnet. The Armchair Midfielder takes his annual look at the off-season additions and subtractions around the league, with teams broken down alphabetically within one of three categories: Who’s UP, Who’s DOWN and Who’s STUCK IN THE MIDDLE.
    [read more]

  2. In 3's: Under-17 MNT midfielder Danny Szetela
    What’s it going to be? Door number one, door number two, or door number THREE?!? Okay, so this section has less to do with “Let’s Make A Deal” and more to do with the Multiple Choice section of an SAT test. “In 3’s” peeks inside the head of a select National Team player as they pick one of three choices for 25 questions about personal tastes and pop culture.

    A native of New Jersey, with Polish heritage, U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team midfielder Danny Szetela has heard all the tired stereotypes about they of the mall bangs and lack of intelligence. But he doesn’t care about all that. He’s 16. All he cares about is doing well in soccer and doing well with the girls. So we give him his chance to produce an online dating profile that would work perfectly in the pages of “Tiger Beat.”

    Truest Jersey stereotype: IROC Camaro, mall bangs or mafia ties (connections, not skinny black silk that you knot around your collar)?
    "I'd have to go with mafia ties. I know a couple people (in the mafia) kinda. I don't really get involved with them because I don't want to get too close."

    Best way to wear a baseball cap brim: to the front, to the back or tilted to the side?
    "Back and to the right. That's just the way I wear it. I think it looks the best."

    Best way to wear your hair for soccer games: with shoelace (a la the Brian McBride of old), ponytail (a la the Jeff Agoos of old) or let it flow (a la Carlos Valderrama)?
    "I'm going with the ponytail now. I used to use a band, but now I put it into a ponytail because it is long enough. I started the long hair trend and (U.S. U-17 MNT teammates Christian) Jimenez and Rigo (Rodrigo Hidalgo) followed. And then they tried to say they started it." [Read More]

  3. Gear Galore: U.S. National Team Hooded Fleece
    In a new piece for 2004, we engage in some shameless self-promotion by spotlighting a different U.S. Soccer product each month, from the newest Nike apparel to all kinds of other exclusive U.S. Men’s & Women’s merch.

    Though it may not feel like it just yet, Spring is finally here again, which of course means that the latest fashions are rolling off the runway in Rome, Paris, Milan and…Beaverton, Oregon?

    Several new items have arrived at and are ready to ship so you can have them in time to show your pride the next time you're out at the field kicking around or taking in all the exciting action that's just around the corner.
    One of the coolest new items for Spring 2004 is the U.S. National Team Hooded Fleece, which is still a must-have in places from Portland to Chicago to New York and every still chilly city in between.

    The Nike hooded fleece, which retails for $50, has a drawstring, rib cuffs, warm hand pockets and a loose waistband. There's a tackle twill USA graphic applique on the center front and an embroidered U.S. Soccer shield logo on the left shoulder. The fine fabric is 75 percent cotton and 25 percent polyester fleece, and National Team players will tell you it’s about the most comfortable thing they own.

    To order it in gray, click here:
    To order it in navy, click here:

  4. Queries & Anecdotes w/ WNT defender Kylie Bivens
    Off-the-wall Questions and Answers, Queries and Anecdotes from U.S. Women’s National Team defender Kylie Bivens.

    CC: What was it like stepping onto the field in the Women's World Cup after making the team as somewhat of a surprise selection?
    "Somewhat of a surprise?  It was a total surprise.  The first game, even though I didn't play, it probably hit me the hardest.  With all that was going on with the WUSA, with all the ‘Save the WUSA’ signs that were in the stands, and everyone clapping and screaming for the team I always dreamed of playing for…it was like accomplishing part of my dream."

    CC: What was your best memory from the tournament, on or off the field?
    "The World Cup hadn't started yet and I was rooming with Abby Wambach.  I was pretty much a new player, and I didn't know how the team would react to me.  Then I get roomed with Abby, whose team just beat us in the WUSA championship game, and who scored the winning goal past me.  I woke up in the middle night talking in my sleep, and we both just started laughing hysterically for 15 minutes until someone banged on the wall in the room next door.  From then on, I felt a bit more comfortable." [Read More]

  5. Mark That Calendar: MNT vs. Poland – March 31, 1:30 p.m. ET – Live on ESPN2 / MatchTracker
    A stern reminder about an upcoming U.S. Soccer-related event, whether you plan to check it out live and in person, on the “telly” or that wacky world wide web.
    After an up-and-down 2003 that included a 10-4-2 overall mark, but disappointing finishes in the team’s two major tournaments of the year – the FIFA Confederations Cup in France and the CONCACAF Gold Cup – fans have expressed concern of late as the U.S. Men’s National has stumbled out of the gate in 2004.

    After a drab 1-1 draw with Denmark in its home opener, an experienced U.S. team was held in check in a 1-0 loss to Holland. Now after an uninspired friendly in Florida in which the squad was lucky to squeak out a 1-1 draw with Haiti, the U.S. is without a win in 2004.

    The March 31 match with Poland presents an opportunity, albeit a difficult one, to get in the win column. It also marks an opportunity to get revenge for the 3-1 loss at their hands in the final opening round match at the 2002 World Cup. Furthermore, it offers Bruce a chance to get his first win in Europe, which remains one of the few facets of his international coaching career that have fallen short. So there are clearly a few things riding on this game.

    With that in mind, the U.S. will trot out a team similar to the one that toughed it out at Amsterdam ArenA on Feb. 18, with 2002 World Cup hero Brad Friedel making his return to the Men’s National Team.

    Fans can follow the March 31 match live on ESPN2 at 1:30 p.m. ET and on’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.

  6. Superstar!!! w/ MNT goalkeeper Jonny Walker
    A monthly feature about a U.S. Men’s, Women’s or Youth National Team player whose performance demands that bright, shining spotlight.

    Better Late Than Never

    Two days before the USA’s match against Holland on Feb. 18, veteran goalkeeper Kasey Keller turned to his training partner at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam and quipped: “You’re getting a late start!”

    Never mind late, 29-year-old MetroStars goalkeeper Jonny Walker hadn’t expected a beginning at all. [Read More]

  7. Point/Counterpoint: Who will be MLS MVP in 2004?
    In this playful piece, we pose a question or make a statement about something in soccer that will be opined about, agreed and disagreed on, by YOU, the reader. No more so-called experts giving safe, politically correct answers. Those days are over. Instead, we’ve opened the floor to everyone out there in Cyberland to throw in their two cents.

    In February, we asked all you American footy-starved fans to dig out your Amazing Carnak caps and predict who will be the MLS MVP. With Preki down and out with a busted leg, we suggested foreign stars like Carlos Ruiz or John Spencer might fill the MVP void in ‘04. But you dug a little deeper and tabbed talented young Americans Taylor Twellman and Bobby Convey as your top two choices, with underdog selections from Brian Ching to Edson Buddle getting a nod as well. Below are the best of the best responses:

    Taylor Twellman:
    “My vote for MLS most valuable player would be Taylor Twellerman. Taylor has always been a one-man scoring machine for the Revs, and I see him leading the league in goals once again. With his scoring, having Pat Noonan ready to step up and help, and with the addition of Jose Cancela, I believe the Revs will have an even better season. Success in the standings and goals on the stat sheet should help DoubleT20 secure the MVP award.”
    --Jeffrey Moore / 21 / Gainesville, Fla. [Read More]

  8. You Don't Know Jack (Marshall): 2003 MLS Trivia
    Think you know your soccer trivia? We’ll be the judge of that. Pop quiz: who the heck is Jack Marshall? Even the trivia buffs in the U.S. Soccer Communications Department would be hard-pressed to tell you that one Jack Marshall received his one and only cap way back in 1926. Okay, that was pretty much impossible. They get easier. We give you four questions at varying difficulty levels, from 1 (easiest) to 4 (hardest).

    Two thousand three was a good year for MLS. With the worldwide notoriety gained from the tales of Timmy and Freddy off the field, and the improbable runs of Preki for MLS MVP and San Jose to their second MLS Cup, as well as the opening of The Home Depot Center and the announcement about the Burn’s new home in Frisco, 2003 might go down as one of the best single years in the league’s eight-year history. We look back on the exciting season with four toughies:

    Q1: Which of the following players led his team in scoring (total points) in 2003?
    A. Damani Ralph (Chicago Fire)
    B. John Wolyniec (MetroStars)
    C. Brad Davis (Dallas Burn)
    D. Pat Noonan (New England Revolution)

    Q2: Which Western Conference forward scored in six consecutive games from June 14 to July 9 last season?
    A. John Spencer (Colorado Rapids)
    B. Josh Wolff (Kansas City Wizards)
    C. Landon Donovan (San Jose Earthquakes)
    D. Ed Johnson (Dallas Burn)

    Q3: Which team led the league in scoring in 2003 with 55 goals scored?

    Q4: In 2003, Pat Onstad became the first foreign goalkeeper to win the league's Goalkeeper of the Year award. All of the seven previous winners have at least one appearance for the U.S. MNT. Who were the seven U.S. internationals to win this award? [Answers Here]

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