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Tab Ramos Concludes Brilliant International Career

CHICAGO (Friday, November 17, 2000) - One of the greatest players to have ever represented the United States National Team, midfielder Tab Ramos announced his retirement from the international game following Wednesday's World Cup qualifying victory in Barbados.

Ramos, 34, brings down the curtain on an illustrious career that spanned nearly 20 years and three World Cups (1990, 94, 98). During that time Ramos appeared 81 times in full international competitions, including an American record nine World Cup Finals matches, and numerous more with the Under-20 and Olympic Teams.

Recognized as possibly the most talented midfielder ever produced by the United States, Ramos possessed a remarkable combination of speed, creativity and vision that enabled him to create and score goals with alarming ease.

"Tab was a one-of-a-kind professional who raised the level of play for everyone around him," United States head coach Bruce Arena said. "His ability with the ball was remarkable, and he was an important part of the growth of the game in recent years."

One of only three Americans to appear in each of the last three World Cups, Ramos might best be remembered for his goal against Costa Rica on September 7, 1997. That goal, a spectacular long-range effort in his first qualifying game after returning from knee surgery, helped secure the USA's advancement to World Cup '98.

His ability to create goals was apparent almost every time he stepped onto the field, as evidenced by a two-assist performance against England in the 1993 U.S. Cup, and more importantly the pin-point accurate through ball he provided to Earnie Stewart to set up the game-winning goal against Colombia in the 1994 World Cup.

"This is a very tough decision for me because it's been so much fun being part of the development of international soccer in this country," Ramos said. "Watching it grow, and being part of that growth, has been an emotional and important experience for me.

"But it's the right time for me to do this. I really want to be able to spend more time with my wife and my two young children, and to concentrate on my club career. I'm glad I was able to finish playing with the national team while I was still healthy and able to contribute."

Ramos played 90 minutes for the United States in a World Cup qualifier win over Barbados on Wednesday, and announced his decision to the team following the match.

The gifted playmaker returned to the national team this year and appeared in three World Cup qualifying matches, scoring his eighth and final, international goal against Barbados at Foxboro Stadium on August 16.

"I've known Tab since he was 14-years-old, and it has been a pleasure playing with him," former USA teammate John Harkes said. "He's probably one of the best one-on-one players to ever play the game, and I wish him all the best."

Ramos rose to prominence out of St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, New Jersey, where he was twice named high school All-American and scored a remarkable 161 goals. A member of the 1988 Olympic Team, Ramos was named the United States Soccer Federation's Chevrolet Athlete of the Year in 1990 and was recognized by World Soccer magazine as one of the "Top 100 Players in the World" in 1991.