U.S. TEAM GREETED BY LARGE CROWD AT SEOUL AIRPORT LAST FRIDAY: The U.S. Men’s National Team finally arrived in Korea last Friday at the Incheon International Airport in Incheon, Korea. The team’s arrival was the news of the day in Korea, and the worldwide media converged to see Bruce Arena’s team. The U.S. Men have since settled into the J.W. Marriott in downtown Seoul, where they will be based throughout the first round of the tournament. The team has been training daily at Misari Practice Stadium on the outskirts of Seoul while anxiously awaiting its first match versus Portugal. While the 2002 World Cup kicks off on Friday (May 31) with defending champions France taking on African upstart Senegal in Seoul, Korea at 8:30 p.m. (live on ESPN2 at 7:30 a.m. ET) after the tournament’s opening ceremonies, the U.S. must wait eight days for their June 5 opener, which marks the last day of any teams' opening matches. Besides the France-Senegal contest, the highlighted matches this weekend come courtesy of Group D, where England faces Sweden and Argentina meets Nigeria to kick off the “Group of Death”.
STEWART TO PARTICIPATE IN LIVE ONLINE CHAT FROM SEOUL TOMORROW AT 7 p.m. ET: U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Earnie Stewart, the 2001 Chevy Male Athlete of the Year, will chat live on U.S. Soccer’s “World Cup Plus” website (www.ussoccer.com) from Seoul with fans and media tomorrow (May 29) at 7:00 p.m. ET. Stewart will discuss the team’s preparations for the World Cup as well as the USA’s stay in Korea, where the squad is preparing to open play in their fourth consecutive World Cup. Stewart, who started 15 of the USA’s 16 qualifying matches in the 2002 World Cup qualifying campaign, recorded one of the USA’s most memorable goals when he scored the game winner against Colombia in the 1994 World Cup. Stewart is the all-time leader for the U.S. in World Cup qualifying appearances (27) and goals (9).
MATHIS IN NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT AGAIN WITH FEATURE IN CURRENT ISSUE OF TV GUIDE: The attention and notoriety given to U.S. Men’s National Team scoring sensation Clint Mathis has been spreading like wildfire over the last month as national publications and networks profile the U.S. team and preview the 2002 World Cup. The most recent piece is a two-page feature on the 25-year-old forward in TV Guide, the nation's top weekly magazine circulation-wise. The issue hit newsstands yesterday and features actress Ashley Judd on the cover. Mathis, who made a big splash last week on the cover of Sports Illustrated, has also been featured in USA Today, the New York Times, and other major publications in addition to TV appearances on NBC’s “Today”, “CBS Evening News” and the Fox News Network.
DONOVAN TO BE FEATURED ON ESPN’S “THE LIFE” ON THURSDAY AT 9:30 P.M. (PT): On Thursday (May 30), the day before the World Cup kicks off in Korea/Japan, ESPN will air “The Life: with Landon Donovan” at 9:30 p.m. PT (12:30 a.m. ET). A crew from the popular reality TV show, which shows professional athletes going through their daily routine at home and on the road, followed Donovan extensively, and will show his recent experiences with Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes and the U.S. Men’s National Team as they prepared for the World Cup during May.
“ETHAN ZOHN’S ZONE” HITS ussoccer.com: To bring the excitement of the World Cup to life for U.S. fans, U.S. Soccer and Philips Electronics have teamed up to launch “Ethan Zohn’s Zone,” an online World Cup journal hosted by Ethan Zohn. A former professional soccer player and coach, Ethan’s latest achievement is capturing the title of million-dollar champion of one of the nation’s hottest reality programs, "Survivor: Africa". With an understanding of what survival of the fittest means, Ethan will provide fans with a behind-the-scenes look inside the U.S. Men’s National Team and the athletes taking part in the 2002 World Cup. Designed to satisfy the curiosity of every fan, the online journal will offer exclusive video footage of both on- and off-the-field moments. Through Ethan’s eyes, fans will be invited to join in-depth interviews with players and coaches. “Hosting the online journal at ussoccer.com allows me the chance to bring the flavor of the World Cup experience and the player’s personalities to life for soccer fans,” said Zohn.
BREAK DOWN THE CUP ON ussoccer.com’s “WORLD CUP PLUS”: One of the marquee attractions of ussoccer.com’s “World Cup Plus,” “Breaking Down the Cup” launched this weekend at ussoccer.com. In “Breaking Down the Cup,” a number of U.S. Soccer experts will offer their expertise in dissecting the games, events and storylines at the 2002 World Cup, including U.S. Soccer referee Brian Hall, U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team head coach John Ellinger, U.S. Women’s National Team star Brandi Chastain and U.S. Under-23 goalkeeper D.J. Countess. "World Cup Plus" is every fan's news source for the USA and the rest of the World Cup this summer. With several updates a day ranging from notes and quotes to unique features, audio and images, "World Cup Plus" will be the freshest place for media and fans to stay in tune with everything happening in Korea.
EXCLUSIVE AUDIO, PHOTOS NOW AVAILABLE ON ussoccer.com’s MEDIAWORLD: Exclusive audio clips from U.S. Soccer coaches and players can now be heard at MediaWorld on ussoccer.com. Listen to Bruce Arena, Tony Meola and more U.S. players discuss the World Cup, Korea and the city of Seoul. New sound clips and photos from Korea are added each day. To view the latest images and audio, click on the “Image of the Day” in the lower right hand corner of the “World Cup Plus” section.
LARGE MEDIA CONTINGENT FOLLOWING TEAM CONTINUES TO GROW: With less than ten days until the USA’s first match of the World Cup, the mass of media following the U.S. each day continues to swell. Journalists from Poland, Portugal, Spain, Mexico, Korea, England, Malaysia, Japan, France, Germany, Australia, Argentina, Italy and more have joined the U.S. media recently in focusing on the U.S. camp. The number of U.S. reporters continues to grow daily, with more coming in as the opener against Portugal approaches.
— U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE —
CONCACAF QUALIFING FOR THE 2003 WWC TO TAKE PLACE FROM OCT. 27-NOV. 9: The 2002 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup Tournament, which will serve as this region’s qualifying competition for the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup in China, will be held from Oct. 27-Nov. 9, 2002, at four venues on the West Coast of North America, with the championship match to be played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. on Saturday, Nov. 9. The eight-team tournament, which features two groups of four teams, will take place at Titan Stadium in Fullerton, Calif., at Centennial Stadium in Victoria, Canada and at Safeco Field in Seattle, Wash., as well as at the world-famous Rose Bowl, site of the 1984 Olympic Final, the 1994 World Cup Final and the 1999 Women’s World Cup Final. All of the group matches will be played as doubleheaders. Ticket information for all four venues will be announced in the near future. The USA will open the tournament on Sunday, Oct. 27, against Mexico at the Rose Bowl, then play its second first-round match on Tuesday, Oct. 29, against a Caribbean nation at Titan Stadium before traveling to Seattle for the final game of group play on Saturday, Nov. 2, against a Central American team. Should the Americans qualify for the semifinals, they will stay in Seattle, as both semifinals will be played as a doubleheader at Safeco Field on Wednesday, Nov. 6. The matches in Canada’s group in Victoria, B.C. will be played on Oct. 30, Nov. 1 and Nov. 3.
U.S. WOMEN TO FACE NORWAY ON JULY 21 IN BLAINE, MINNESOTA LIVE ON ESPN: The U.S. Women's National Team will face long-time rival Norway on July 21 at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn., in a match to be televised live on ESPN at 12 p.m. CT (1 p.m. ET). Tickets are currently at all TicketMaster outlets, charging by phone at 651-989-5151 and online at www.ussoccer.com. For group tickets of 10 or more people, fans can call the Minnesota Thunder at 763-785-3668. The USA played in Blaine last summer, defeating Canada 1-0 in front the largest crowd ever to watch a soccer game at the National Sports Center when 15,614 fans showed up to cheer on the U.S. women. The NSC holds 10,000 fans but additional seats can be added to accommodate an overflow. The U.S. women will be looking to break a frustrating four-game losing streak to the Norwegians, a streak which has seen the USA play equal to or better than Norway over the four matches, dating back to the 2000 Olympic gold medal game in Sydney, Australia, a crushing 3-2 sudden death overtime loss. Norway remains the only team in the world with an all-time winning record against the U.S. women, who are 13-18-2 vs. the Scandinavians.
- U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE -
UNDER-21 WNT TRAVELS TO FRANCE FOR THREE-GAME TRIP: U.S. Under-21 Women's National Team head coach Jerry Smith and his 18-player squad embarked on an eight-day trip to France, where they will play a total of three matches: two against French clubs and one against the French U-21 Women's National Team. Smith is preparing his team for the 2002 Nordic Cup, the top competition in the world for U-21 women, which will be held at the end of July in Finland. The U.S. U-21s, led by current full national team players Aly Wagner, Hope Solo, Cat Reddick, Christie Welsh and Devvyn Hawkins, will play the Paris St. Germain women's team today, play the Juvisy women's team on Thursday (May 30) and finish with the French U-21s on Saturday (June 1). All the matches will be played in the suburbs of Paris. Following is the U.S. U-21 Women's National Team Roster for the trip to France, with each player’s college in parentheses:
Goalkeepers: Nicole Barnhart (Stanford), Hope Solo (Washington);
Defenders: Amy LePeilbet (Arizona State), Ally Marquand (Stanford), Nandi Pryce (UCLA), Cat Reddick (North Carolina);
Midfielders: Betsy Barr (Portland), Devvyn Hawkins (Santa Clara), Carli Lloyd (Rutgers), Joanna Lohman (Penn State), Mary McDowell (North Carolina), Aly Wagner (Santa Clara), Kim Yokers (California);
Forwards: Abby Crumpton (Michigan), Alyssa Ramsey (North Carolina), Laura Schott (California), Chistie Welsh (Penn State), Veronica Zepeda (Santa Clara).
UNDER-20 MNT FALLS 2-0 TO RISING AFRICAN POWER BURKINA FASO: The U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team lost 2-0 to Burkina Faso at the Sportspark de Grift on Wednesday in Woudenberg, Netherlands. The result was the USA's first loss of the year in an international match and topped off a trip to the Netherlands that saw the U.S. win one, lose three and draw three matches. Prior to traveling to Woudenberg to face Burkina Faso, the U.S. finished in 11th place at the Groningen International Tournament in Groningen, Holland. The back-and-forth affair between the U.S. and Burkina Faso broke open with a goal three minutes from the end of the first half. Burkina Faso, who outshot the U.S. 8-5, secured the win with a Compaore penalty kick in the 73rd minute. U.S. goalkeepers Steve Cronin and Ford Williams each played one half and combined to make three saves. Four U.S. players earned their first Under-20 cap in the match. The U.S. team was without three of their offensive stars, as MLS standouts Eddie Johnson, Bobby Convey and Santino Quaranta did not travel with the team to Europe. The Under-20s are scheduled to regroup in mid-June for a training camp in Southern California.
UNDER-17 MNT TOPS CANADA 2-1 IN BRADENTON FRIENDLY: The U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team defeated Canada 2-1 in an international friendly played in Bradenton, Fla. on Saturday. After a scoreless first half, the Americans jumped out to a 2-0 lead with back-to-back tallies in the second stanza as midfielder Eddie Gaven (Hamilton, N.J.) opened the scoring via a penalty kick in the 48th minute and then forward Freddy Adu (Potomac, Md.) made it 2-0 with a free kick goal in the 62nd minute. Canada got on the board with a goal by midfielder Sherwin Emmanuel with two minutes remaining in the match.
— U.S. OPEN CUP UPDATE —
2002 LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP BRACKETS TO BE ANNOUNCED ON JUNE 5: U.S. Soccer will announce the brackets for the 2002 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on June 5, with the 32 teams being paired on a geographical basis. The 89-year-old competition will have a slight format revision in 2002, as the single-elimination tournament will pit nine Amateurs squads (five Premier Development League teams and four United States Amateur Soccer Association teams) against seven D3 Pro League Teams in the opening round, with the winners to face eight A-League teams from the United Soccer Leagues in the second round. The second round survivors will then meet eight Major League Soccer teams in the third round. In 2001, the Los Angeles Galaxy captured their first domestic championship by claiming the Open Cup crown with a thrilling 2-1 overtime victory over the New England Revolution in Fullerton, Calif.
- June 5: Bracket Announcement
- June 7-12: First Round (D3 Pro League Teams vs. Five PDL & Four USASA squads)
- June 26: Second Round (A-League Teams vs. Eight First Round Winners)
- July 17: Third Round (MLS Teams vs. Eight Second Round Winners)
- August 7: Quarterfinals (Third Round Winners)
- Sept. 3-4 or 10-11: Semifinals (Quarterfinal Winners)
- Oct. 26 or 27: Final (Semifinal Winners)
COLORADO CLINCHES; THREE TEAMS BATTLE FOR FINAL MLS SPOT IN 2002 OPEN CUP: By virtue of their 16 points in the current MLS standings, the Colorado Rapids have clinched one of the two final spots for the 2002 Open Cup tournament. The Rapids join six other teams - Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew, Dallas Burn, Los Angeles Galaxy, NY/NJ MetroStars and San Jose Earthquakes - that qualified based on their 2001 MLS regular season finish. The remaining three MLS teams - D.C. United (10 points), New England Revolution (10 points) and Kansas City Wizards (9 points) - will battle for the last berth to the single-elimination tournament this weekend. Eight MLS squads will enter the 2002 Open Cup in the third round on July 17th. The following scenarios exist that would allow any of those three clubs to claim the final spot:
1) New England will claim the last spot (via points/game) with a win regardless of Kansas City's result at home against Dallas on June 1.
2) Kansas City will claim the final berth with a win (via points/game) if New England loses or draws against San Jose on June 1.
3) Kansas City will claim the final berth with a draw (via goal differential) if NE losses to San Jose (all three clubs = 9gms, 10 pts).
- A draw would keep Kansas City's goal differential at -1
- New England would have a goal differential worse than -3
- D.C.'s current goal differential remains at -3
4) D.C. will claim the final berth (via goal differential) if both New England and Kansas City lose because:
- D.C. United goal differential = -3
- A loss will make NE's goal differential worse than -3
- Kansas City will fail to reach 10 points
A-LEAGUE'S ATLANTA, MINNESOTA CLINCH 2002 OPEN CUP BERTHS: The A-League's Atlanta Silverbacks and Minnesota Thunder clinched 2002 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup berths by winning their respective two-game series over the weekend. The Silverbacks blanked the El Paso Patriots 3-0 in Atlanta on Friday to complete the home-and-home series sweep after posting a 2-1 win in the opener on May 18, in El Paso. The Thunder, however, had to come back from a 2-1 aggregate deficit in the opener to top the Indiana Blast 2-0 on Saturday in the final match of the series. The Silverbacks and Thunder join the Hampton Road Mariners, Rochester Raging Rhinos, Richmond Kickers and the Seattle Sounders as six of the eight A-League squads that have qualified for the 2002 Open Cup. The final two A-League spots will be determined by the following two-game match-ups as the Charleston Battery battle the Charlotte Eagles (May 31 and June 1), while the Milwaukee Rampage try to avoid elimination at the hands of the Cincinnati Riverhawks when they meet in Game Two, which is slated for June 9. The Riverhawks won the first encounter of the series, 3-2, on May 4.
— AROUND THE SOCCER NATION —
BRIAN HALL TO OFFICIATE ITALY-ECUADOR WORLD CUP MATCH: U.S. Soccer referee Brian Hall will referee one of the first 32 games of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, running the center of the Italy-Ecuador match on June 3 in Sapporo, Japan. Hall will also serve as the Fourth Official for the Argentina-England “Group of Death” match on June 7, one of the most anticipated first round matches in years. Hall, who is the first U.S.-born official ever selected to referee the world’s greatest sporting event, has been a Major League Soccer referee since the league’s inception in 1996. He reached the pinnacle of the officiating world in 1992, when, at the age of 31, he was named to U.S. Soccer’s International Panel of FIFA referees. As a FIFA Referee, Hall has traveled to 27 different countries to ply his trade.
USA DRAWS REFEREES FROM ECUADOR, SWITZERLAND FOR FIRST TWO MATCHES: In the USA's World Cup opener against Portugal on June 5 in Suwon, Ecuadorian Byron Morean will serve as the referee, and Awni Hassouneh (JOR) and Bomer Fierro (ECU) will work as the assistant referees. Kuwait's Saad Mane will be the game's fourth official. In the second group D match for the Americans, against co-hosts Korea on June 10 in Daegu, the referee will be Switzerland's Urs Meier. Meier officated the USA-Iran world cup encounter on June 21, 1998 in Lyon, France, in which the Asians stunned the Americans 2-1. Meier will be assisted by Egon Bereuter (AUT) and Ali Tomusagne (UGA) for the first U.S. match against Korea, while the fourth official is Gamal Ghandour of Egypt.
BAHARMAST APPOINTED TO CONCACAF REFEREE COMMITTEE: Esfandiar "Esse" Baharmast has been appointed to the CONCACAF Referee Committee, effective in June. The Colorado native is currently the Director of Advanced & International Referee Development at U.S. Soccer and will continue in that capacity. Esse first came to U.S. Soccer in July 22, 1998 when he was named Director of Officials. Major League Soccer's Referee of the Year in 1997, the 48-year-old Baharmast has been a FIFA International Referee since 1993, while officiating in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and in the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France.
NATIONAL SOCCER HALL TO HOST "BREAKFAST AT THE WORLD CUP" ON JUNE 14: The National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, N.Y., has announced a special event entitled “Breakfast at the World Cup”, in which fans are invited to watch the U.S. Men’s National Team against Poland at the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan. Admission is only $10, and includes breakfast (bagels, quiche, fresh fruit, coffee, juice and muffins, etc.), admission to the museum, and a chance to watch the match on the Hall’s enormous video wall. For more information, call 607-432-3351 or visit their website at www.soccerhall.org. Also, the NSHoF has announced its Induction Weekend 2002, which is set to take place on Columbus Day Weekend from Oct. 12-14.
METROSTARS AND REVOLUTION SWAP STRIKERS AND MORE IN BLOCKBUSTER TRADE: MLS announced a blockbuster trade last week in which the NY/NJ MetroStars acquired forward Mamadou Diallo, midfielder Andy Williams and defender Ted Chronopoulos from the New England Revolution in exchange for Diego Serna, Daniel Hernandez, and Brian Kamler. To make room on the roster for Diallo and Williams, both of whom are senior internationals, the MetroStars waived senior international forward Darin Lewis. Diallo (Senegal) and Williams (Jamaica) join with Rodrigo Faria (Brazil) to give the team the MLS-maximum three senior international players. Diallo, the MLS Scoring Champion (26 goals, four assists) in 2000 while with Tampa Bay, has totaled 82 points (36 goals, 10 assists) over 57 regular-season games during the past three seasons. In his debut for the MetroStars, Diallo scored the equalizer in a 1-1 draw with the Kansas City Wizards at Giants Stadium on Saturday. Not to be outdone, Serna scored the game winner for the Revolution as they held off the Los Angeles Galaxy 3-2 on their new home turf at CMGI Field in Foxboro.
U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT
PEAK PERFORMERS: Less than four days after basically being swapped for one another by Eastern Conference rivals New York / New Jersey and New England, MLS scoring sensations Mamadou Diallo and Diego Serna returned to form to help lift their teams to solid results this weekend. In a trade that so far has worked out for both sides, Diallo and Serna both scored important goals for the MetroStars and Revolution, respectively, to get back on track for the 2002 season. The jury is still out on whether either player will be able to match their impressive scoring output of the last two years, but Saturday’s performances were encouraging.
MARQUEE MATCH-UP: Coming off a narrow 3-2 victory over co-host South Korea and a 2-1 loss to Belgium (their first home loss in three years), defending World Cup champion France suddenly looks very beatable. But despite the slip in this month's results, expect the pre-tournament favorites to be back in championship form when they meet a surprising Senegal squad to open the world's largest sporting event on Friday (May 31).
SOCCER SHOCKER: First, they pounded Scotland 4-1. (Not bad.) Then they pulled out a solid 1-1 draw with England. (Pretty good.) But then this weekend, South Korea followed up those two impressive results with perhaps their best performance ever in a 3-2 loss to France in which the defending World Cup champions had to scramble to eke out a win in the 90th minute. With a boisterous home crowd behind them and an offense that seems to be running on all cylinders, the South Koreans could be the USA’s second most difficult opponent when they meet on June 10 in Daegu.
"Well, we can’t give away our secrets. I tell you what. If (Korea head coach) Guus Hiddink gives you our weaknesses, I'll give you theirs."
- U.S. MNT Assistant Coach Dave Sarachan, on any weaknesses he may have identified in scouting the Korean team.