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U.S. Soccer Wire: February 11, 2008


U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM TO FACE POLAND, SPAIN IN FRIENDLIES;
U.S. CONTINUES UNBEATEN STREAK AGAINST MEXICO ON HOME SOIL;
DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY WINTER SHOWCASE TO HIGHLIGHT
PRESIDENT’S DAY WEEKEND AT PIZZA HUT PARK

U.S. MNT TO FACE POLAND, SPAIN: The U.S. Men’s National Team will play a pair of friendlies in Europe this spring, traveling to face Poland and Spain in preparation for the start of 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying. The United States will first meet Poland on March 26 in Krakow, the match falling on the final international fixture date before the start of qualifying. On June 4, the U.S. travels to face fourth-ranked Spain just six days before the Spaniards open group play in the 2008 European Championship against Russia. Full details regarding kickoff times and broadcast information will be available in the near future. The U.S. will begin the attempt to qualify for their sixth-consecutive World Cup finals when they take on the winner of the first round qualifying series between Barbados and Dominica, who drew 1-1 in the first leg of their series on Feb. 6 in Dominica.

U.S. MNT TIES MEXICO IN HOUSTON: The U.S. Men’s National Team continued their dominating undefeated streak at home against Mexico on Wednesday, Feb. 6, with an exciting 2-2 draw in front of 70,103 fans at Reliant Stadium in Houston. The match was a high-paced affair, with the U.S. jumping out to a 2-1 lead at halftime, only to surrender the tying goal just two minutes into the second half to Mexico’s Jonny Magallón, who had both goals for the Tricolor. The U.S. goals came from defender Oguchi Onyewu and 18-year-old Jozy Altidore, making his first start for the United States.The U.S. is now undefeated in its last 10 home games against Mexico, compiling an impressive 8-0-2 record since 2000. The U.S. has outscored Mexico 17-3 in that stretch, including Wednesday’s match, which was the highest scoring game in the series in almost 11 years (dating back to a 2-2 draw on April 20, 1997, a span of 17 games).

DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY SHOWCASE TO KICK OFF IN TEXAS: The U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase will kick off on Sunday, Feb. 17, at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas. More than 40 elite teams across the U-15/16 and U-17/18 age groups will play more than 86 games over the course of the weekend. Clubs from 19 different states will be represented in Frisco, with California and New York sending five each, while North Carolina, Illinois and Ohio will each send four. Every team will play two games against non-conference opponents to complement their intraconference schedule. The Academy Winter Showcase is one of four Showcases throughout the 2007-08 season. The Spring Showcase will be held from May 24-27 and the Summer Showcase will take place June 27-30 at sites yet to be determined. The showcase matches are part of a nine-month season in which 122 teams will compete in more than 1,800 matches in conference play. With 2,440 players, 244 coaches and more than 200 referees participating in individual conference games, travel partner weekends and showcase weekends, the Academy boasts the most comprehensive platform for youth competition in U.S. Soccer history.

MNT TO OPEN WCQ PLAY AT THE HOME DEPOT CENTER ON JUNE 15: The U.S. Men’s National Team will begin the qualifying road to its sixth-consecutive FIFA World Cup when they host the first leg of the second round on June 15 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Kickoff for the USA’s first match of the 2010 qualifying campaign is set for 2 p.m. PT, with broadcast details still to be finalized. The U.S. will face the winner of the first round series between Barbados and Dominica, who tied, 1-1, on Feb. 6 in Dominica and meet again on March 26 in Barbados. The June 15 match represents the USA’s first World Cup qualifier played in Carson. The U.S. boasts an unbeaten 5-0-1 record at The HDC, including two victories during the group stage of its 2007 Gold Cup championship-winning run last year.

- OLYMPIC QUALIFYING UPDATE -

SCHEDULE SET FOR MEN’S OLYMPIC QUALIFYING: The U.S. will kick off Group A of the 2008 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualification against Cuba on Tuesday, March 11 at 8 p.m. ET at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. The U.S., which plays in the late game in each of the three doubleheaders, will then face Panama on Thursday, March 13 at 8 p.m. ET and finish the round-robin phase of the tournament against Guatemala on Saturday, March 15 at 7 p.m. ET. Group B, which will begin on March 12, features Canada, Guatemala, Haiti and Mexico, and will be played at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. After group play, the top two teams will advance to the semifinals which will be played on March 20 at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. LP Field will also be the location for the third-place game and championship match on Sunday, March 23. The two semifinal winners qualify for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

U.S. U-23 MNT CONCACAF Championship Schedule
Date         Opponent              Location                                                           Kickoff (local)
March 11 Cuba                      Raymond James Stadium; Tampa, Fla.   8 p.m. ET
March 13 Panama                 Raymond James Stadium; Tampa, Fla.  8 p.m. ET
March 15 Honduras              Raymond James Stadium; Tampa, Fla.   7 p.m. ET
March 20 Semifinals*           LP Field; Nashville, Tenn.                            5 p.m. CT / 8 p.m. CT
March 23 Third Place*          LP Field; Nashville, Tenn.                            1 p.m. CT
March 23 Championship*   LP Field; Nashville, Tenn.                            4 p.m. CT
* If necessary

MEN'S OLYMPIC QUALIFYING INDIVIDUAL TICKETS ON SALE NOW: Individual game tickets for the 2008 Men’s Olympic Qualifying tournament are now on sale. The eight-team event, will be played as eight doubleheaders from March 11-23, 2008, and will send two finalists to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Group A, which includes the United States, Honduras, Cuba and Panama, will play at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on March 11, 13 and 15. Group B features Canada, Guatemala, Haiti and Mexico facing off on March 12, 14 and 16 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. LP Field in Nashville will host the semifinals on Thursday, March 20, and the championship match and third-place game on Sunday, March 23. Tickets priced from $18 to $65 for each of the eight doubleheaders in the tournament are now on sale through ussoccer.com, by phone at 813-287-8844 (Tampa), 213-480-3232 (Los Angeles) or 615-255-9600 (Nashville) and at local Ticketmaster ticket centers in the venue cities. In Tampa and Los Angeles (where first round doubleheaders are scheduled), teams competing at those sites will have seats at every price level set aside for their fans, allowing supporters of the same country to sit together. Fans must order online to choose from this allotment. In Nashville, where the participating teams won’t be known until several days before the semifinal round, seating until the end of the first round will be allocated (based on the local population) for U.S.A., Mexico, and mixed/neutral fan sections at each price level.

– YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

U.S. UNDER-23 WOMEN FALL TO ENGLAND, 3-1, IN LA MANGA, SPAIN: The U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team fell to the England U-23 Women’s National Team by a 3-1 score at the La Manga Tournament in La Manga, Spain. English scored once in the first half and then twice in the last 11 minutes to get the win. After going down, 2-0, the USA pulled a goal back with 10 minutes to play on an 18-yard shot by Kiki Bosio that was misplayed by England goalkeeper Marie Hourihan, but instead of the Americans getting an equalizer, it was the English that got a clincher. Two minutes from the end of the game, the U.S. team lost the ball in the back and Rachel Williams was able to chip over the head of Val Henderson for the final margin. Henderson was forced into the match after Davis was shown a red card for taking down an English player on a breakaway just outside the penalty box about 12 minutes into the second half and the USA was forced to play with 10 women the rest of the way. The U-23s face Norway next on Feb. 13. In the day’s other match, Germany beat Norway, 1-0.

U.S. U-23 WNT Schedule
Date        Opponent             Result    U.S. Goal Scorer(s)
Feb. 11   England U-23       1-3 L      Kiki Bosio
Feb. 13   Norway U-23
Feb. 16   Germany U-23

RONGEN CALLS IN 23 PLAYERS FOR DOMESTIC TRAINING CAMP: U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Thomas Rongen has called in 23 players for a domestic training camp in New Orleans from Feb 19-24. The team, made up entirely of collegiate players, will gather in New Orleans on Feb. 19 and play two games in a four-team event. On Saturday, Feb. 23 the U.S. will face the Honduras U-20 MNT, and on Sunday will face either the New Orleans Shell Shockers or a youth team from CD Victoria in Honduras. The two Saturday winners will match up on Sunday, while the losing teams will meet in a consolation match.

U.S. U-20 MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Warren Gross (Penn State), Austin Guerrero (University of Portland);
DEFENDERS (6): Stuart Amick (University of Massachusetts), Greg Eckhardt (Clemson University), Andre Mittoo (South Florida), Ike Opara (Wake Forest), James Shupp (Virginia Tech), Chris Taylor (University of Tulsa);
MIDFIELDERS (8): Richard Balchan (Indiana University), Shawn Chin (Boston College), Daniel Cruz (UNLV), Blair Gavin (Akron), Wilfrido Lara (DePaul University), John Okafor (Brown University), Michael Stephens (UCLA), Spencer Thompson (Michigan State);
FORWARDS (7): Blake Brettschneider (University of South Carolina), Cameron Brown (University of North Carolina), Steven Cabas (Florida International), Daniel Kelly (Indiana University), Peri Marosevic (University of Michigan), Ryan Thomas (Stanford University), Andrew Weideman (University of California)

U.S. UNDER-20 WOMEN DEFEAT ENGLAND 1-0 ON NOYOLA GOAL: The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team opened its three-game run at the Four Nations Tournament in La Serena, Chile, with a 1-0 victory over England on a goal from midfielder Teresa Noyola in the final minute of the first half. The U.S. U-20s are currently in preparations for CONCACAF Qualifying for the 2008 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup, to be held in Chile from Nov. 20-Dec. 7. The 17-year-old Noyola, who is the youngest player on the roster, got on the end of a cross from Nikki Washington and hammered her first-time volley into the net from eight yards out. In a fairly even match where the USA perhaps created a few more dangerous chances, American ‘keeper Alyssa Naeher was forced to come up with big saves twice in the second half to preserve the shutout. It was the first international win for the U.S. U-20s under new head coach Tony DiCicco. The USA will take on Norway in the next match on Feb. 13. Norway drew with hosts Chile, 3-3, in the other match of the day.

U.S. U-20 WNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Alyssa Naeher (Penn State), Kristin Olsen (USC);
DEFENDERS (4): Lauren Barnes (UCLA), Lauren Fowlkes (Notre Dame), Nikki Marshall (Colorado), Ella Stephan (Florida State);
MIDFIELDERS (8): Amanda DaCosta (Florida State), Becky Edwards (Florida State), Kasey Johnson (USC), Teresa Noyola (MVLA Mercury), Elli Reed (Portland), Nikki Washington (UNC), Keelin Winters (Portland), Kylie Wright (UCLA);
FORWARDS (4): Michelle Enyeart (Portland), Melissa Henderson (Dallas Texans), Casey Nogueira (UNC), Kelley O’Hara (Stanford).

U.S. U-20 WNT Schedule
Date      Opponent            Result     U.S. Goal Scorer(s)
Feb. 11 England U-20     1-0 W      Teresa Noyola
Feb. 13 Norway U-20
Feb. 15 Chile U-20

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

MLS UNVEILS 2008 SEASON SCHEDULE: The 2008 Major League Soccer season begins on Saturday, March 29, with six matches. The 14 MLS clubs will play 30 regular season games, with regular season play ending on Oct. 26 and the post-season kicking off on Thursday, Oct. 30. ESPN2, ABC, Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Sports en EspaNol, HDNet and TeleFutura will all televise matches during the course of the 31-week season, which will see every regular season game aired on television through national or regional broadcasts and MLSnet.com. MLS Cup will be televised live at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 23, on ABC and TeleFutura. More details, including a full schedule, are available at MLSNet.com.

EGYPT WINS AFRICAN CUP OF NATIONS, QUALIFIES FOR CONFEDERATIONS CUP: Egypt defeated Cameroon, 1-0, in the African Cup of Nations final in Accra, Ghana on Sunday, behind a lone goal from midfielder Mohamed Aboutrika. The Pharaohs’ victory in the tournament marked a record sixth time that the east African nation has lifted the continental championship. Despite winning the previous title in 2006, Egypt came into the tournament as an unfancied side, with all the attention being focused on hosts Ghana and the high powered Ivory Coast team. Yet Hassan Shehata’s side cruised through the group stage before dismantling the hosts in the semifinal, and seeing off a spirited Cameroonian side in the final. The victory earns Egypt qualification into the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, which will be held in South Africa a year before the World Cup. In addition to the United States, other nations who have qualified for the tournament include South Africa (hosts), Italy (2006 World Cup Champions), Brazil (2007 Copa America Champions), and Iraq (Asian). The teams will be joined by the winners of the 2008 European Championships and the 2008 OFC Nations Cup to round out the eight team tournament.

DARTFISH TO OFFER FREE WEBINARS: Dartfish is offering free Webinars to demonstrate the benefits of the Connect Plus product, the video analysis software used by U.S. National Team coaches to review game footage, breakdown player performances and analyze upcoming opponents. The next 30-minute educational online seminar takes place Friday, Feb. 15 at 11:30 a.m. ET. Register here https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/611928068 to participate, or visit dartfish.com.

U.S. SOCCER SPRING COACHING SCHOOL SET: U.S. Soccer's National Coaching School Spring dates have been set for March 29-April 6. The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. will host both an “A” Audit and a “B” License course. The “B” License course is currently sold out. Space is available for the “A” Audit course but is limited. More information is available in the Coaches Section of ussoccer.com.

TWO COACHING SYMPOSIUMS SET FOR FEBRUARY: Two coaching symposiums are set for the Midwest this month. The KNVB are hosting a symposium in Faribault, Minn., and a Region II Coaching Symposium is scheduled for Bowling Green, Ohio. More information is available at http://www.ussoccer.com/coaches/continuing/sympSchedule/index.jsp.html.

DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS: Applications for the 2008-09 season of U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy are being accepted from now until March 1, 2008. Clubs will be admitted on a rolling basis until April 1, at which point all clubs will be notified of their status. Academy clubs follow the model used at the U.S. Under-17 Residency Program, with a focus on training and player development. Teams are required to train three times per week and rest one day per week during the eight-month season, during which they will play 30 regular-season Academy games. Applications are available at ussoccer.com.

*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: Tim Howard kept his third successive clean sheet for Everton, and the Toffees remained in fourth place following a 1-0 victory against Reading. The shutout marked the 13th time this year that Howard and Everton have kept opposing attackers from scoring, and the American shotstopper has allowed just one Premier League goal in 2008. Earlier in the week, Howard also made several key saves to help the U.S. continue its home unbeaten run against Mexico.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: The U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase kicks off this President’s Day Weekend at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas. Hundreds of elite youth soccer players will converge in for a weekend full of high quality soccer. Fans, friends and family can keep tabs on the Showcase at ussoccer.com.

QUOTABLE: “These kind of games are what the players look forward to and as coaches, we understand that we need this kind of games in order to look hard at our players and our team to find things that we need to improve … We gain experience against a very good team in an atmosphere that was loud and in a great stadium. We talk about big games, and in terms of understanding how to play in those big matches, tonight was an excellent example … It is probably always the same with a 2-2 tie. You see things that you’re happy about, but you see just as many things that you want to see improve”
-- U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley on the 2-2 tie against Mexico in front of a sold-out crowd of 70,103 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.


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