U.S. Women Arrive in Toronto to Prepare for "Independence Day Series"
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue3=%USA ARRIVES IN TORONTO TO PREPARE FOR INDEPENDENCE DAY SERIES: The U.S. Women's National Team arrived in Canada late yesterday as 15 WUSA and three college players will face Canada in the two-game Independence Day Series, taking place June 30 here in Toronto and July 3 in Blaine, Minn. The match in "Land of 10,000" Lakes will be broadcast live on ESPN at Noon CT. Seventeen of the 18 players on the U.S. roster arrived in Canada last night, with the only absence being the world's all-time caps leader, Kristine Lilly, who was finishing up the Kristine Lilly Soccer Academy, the soccer camp she runs every summer back in her hometown of Wilton, Conn. Lilly arrived on Wednesday night and will train with the USA in a rare evening training on Thursday night.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue3=%FOR THE RECORD: The U.S. women have not played a domestic game since December 17, 2000, when they tied Japan, 1-1, in Phoenix, Arizona. Brandi Chastain scored for the USA. Although the USA and Canada have played each other 26 times, the Independence Day Series carries some added spark as the USA has failed to beat Canada in the last three meetings, including losses in the last two games, after having reeled off 21 consecutive wins from 1986-2000. The all-time record stands at 22-3-1 for the Americans. The last meeting was a 3-0 loss at the Algarve Cup when the USA played a young lineup that actually out-shot the Canucks, 21-5.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue3=%INDEPENDENCE DAYS: The USA's match in Canada comes the day before Canada Day, which celebrates the events that occurred on July 1, 1867, when the British North America Act created the Canadian federal government. The match in Blaine comes one day before the USA's Independence Day. The USA has not faced Canada in Canada since May 22, 1995, a 2-1 U.S. win in a in a friendly before the 1995 Women's World Cup. Tiffeny Milbrett and Natalie Neaton scored for the USA. Milbrett is the only U.S. player who played in that match who is on the USA's roster for the Independence Day Series.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue3=%DO YOU NOT READ SPORTS ILLUSTRATED? Several U.S. players were briefly held up going through customs upon arrival in Toronto as Jaime Pagliarulo, Siri Mullinix and Brandi Chastain did not have their passports. After convincing the customs officials of their U.S. residency and the fact that they were there to play an international match against Canada, the three players were allowed into the country and joined their teammates, who were waiting outside with their bags.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue3=%MUGGY TORONTO: The Independence Day Series marks the first time that the majority of veteran national team players have been together since December of 2000, and to a woman, the team was extremely happy to be back together again, both on and off the field. The long-time teammates were buzzing and visibly happy to be playing with each other instead of against each other for the first time in months. U.S. head coach April Heinrichs conducted her first training session on Wednesday morning on a bumpy and thick pitch at De La Salle School on a muggy Toronto morning. The sharpness of the players coming together during the WUSA season was evident in a crisp and intense training session that lasted an hour and 20 minutes. The U.S. team ended training with a finishing game featuring 4 v. 4 inside a large grid with each team having four players on the outside of the grid as passing and crossing options. The game was not decided until a somewhat controversial "golden goal" by Shannon MacMillan, who came off the end line to score the winner.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue3=%NO MALL IS SAFE: After training and after the lunch, the majority of U.S. players embarked on one of their favorite road trip pastimes: shopping at the mall. Luckily for the U.S. players, there was a very large mall within walking distance and most of them spent a few hours there in the afternoon. The U.S. team is anxiously looking forward to a trip to the world-famous and massive Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minn. Said Minnesota's own Jena Kluegel: "It's a good thing that the team is experienced mall shoppers, because our mall can be a bit intimidating to the novice shoppers. This is the mother of all malls."
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue3=%FOUDY GOES FOR 200TH CAP: U.S. Women's National Team captain Julie Foudy will join one of the most exclusive clubs in international soccer if she plays in either of the two-game during the Independence Day Series. Foudy's next match will be her astounding 200th game for the United States. Foudy will join teammates Kristine Lilly (225) and Mia Hamm (216) as the only international soccer players, men or women, to have played 200 times for their country. Foudy debuted for the national team at the age of 17 on July 29, 1988 vs. France.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue3=%PARLOW GOES FOR 100TH CAP: Forward Cindy Parlow will become the youngest player in U.S. history to earn her 100th cap if she plays in both matches during the Independence Day Series. The 23-year-old Parlow debuted for the USA on Jan. 14, 1996, vs. Russia in a match played in Brazil and has since become the sixth-leading goal scorer in U.S. history with 45 career goals. Parlow was the USA's leading scorer in 2000 with 19 goals and seven assists, including four hat tricks.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue3=%CANADA - WUSA NORTH: Five members of the Canadian National Team roster are currently playing professionally in the WUSA and will be highly familiar with their U.S. opponents. Three members of the Atlanta Beat are likely to start for Canada as defender Sharolta Nonen, midfielder Amy Walsh and forward Charmaine Hooper are among Canada's top players. Karina LeBlanc of the Boston Breakers will likely start in goal and forward Silvana Burtini of the Carolina Courage is also likely to see action.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue3=%THE VETERAN AND THE KID: With the retirement of U.S. Women's National Team legends Michelle Akers and Carla Overbeck, and with America's #1 Soccer Mom Joy Fawcett recovering from the birth of her third daughter on June 5, 32-year old Brandi Chastain is the oldest player on the U.S. roster. The youngest player is 18-year-old Aleisha Cramer, who was also the third youngest player ever to appear for the full U.S. National Team when she played against Ukraine on Dec. 16, 1998, at 16 years, 141 days.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue3=%YOUNG GUNS: The three players on the U.S. roster who do not play in the WUSA are defenders Jena Kluegel and Catherine Reddick and midfielder Aleisha Cramer. Kluegel, who will return to her native state of Minnesota for the USA's next match in Blaine on July 3, will be a senior at North Carolina in the fall and a top candidate for college player of the year honors. Both Reddick and Cramer will be just sophomores this fall. Reddick helped lead UNC to the NCAA title last year, starting her only game in the national championship match and earning Defensive MVP of the Final Four. Cramer had a spectacular freshman year, earning First-Team All-American honors for the Cougars.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue3=%HEINRICHS TO GERMANY: U.S. head coach April Heinrichs will travel to Germany after the Independence Day Series to watch the end of the 2001 European Women's Championships. She will be on hand to view the semifinals and the championship game of tournament that is held once every four years as Germany tries to win its third consecutive continental title.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue3=%U-19s ARRIVE IN TORONTO TOMORROW: The U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team, which is in early preparations for the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women's World Championships, will arrive in Toronto on Thursday in preparation for its match vs. Canada in a pre-game to the full national team clash on Saturday, June 30. The U-19 match kicks off at 4:30 p.m. ET. U-19 head coach Tracey Leone has assembled a talented group of young players who will form the core of her team for world championships next summer to be held in Canada. The U.S. U-19s must qualify for the tournament at a date and venue to be determined. The U-19s and the full National Team will spend part of their Friday morning training together in a unique session for the youth national team.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue3=%INJURY REPORT: The U.S. players came into camp remarkably unscathed considering the pounding they have taken in their WUSA seasons so far. Defender Lorrie Fair has been hampered by a sore hamstring all season, but trained this morning and will be available for selection.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue3=%STAT OF NOTE: Jena Kluegel leads the USA in minutes played in 2001 with 573 out of a possible 630 as U.S. head coach April Heinrichs has used primarily younger players in the USA's seven matches so far this year.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue3=%QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"199 caps and I'm still sitting in E!"