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U.S. Soccer Wire - July 5, 2005


U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM KICKS OFF GOLD CUP THURSDAY AGAINST CUBA;
RYAN CALLS 24 INTO CAMP FOR WNT JULY 10 MATCH IN PORTLAND

U.S. MNT’S GOLD CUP QUEST BEGINS THURSDAY: The U.S. Men’s National Team moved from their base at Nike World Headquarters in Portland, Ore., heading up I-5 to Seattle where they are conducting their final preparations as they get set to kickoff the 2005 Gold Cup on Thursday, July 7 against Cuba at Qwest Field. The USA’s opening match will be shown live on Telefutura at 7:30 p.m. PT, and fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. Two days later, the U.S. will take on Canada at Qwest Field before heading across the country to face Costa Rica on July 12 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., in their third and final group game. The team enjoyed the pristine fields at the Seattle Seahawks training facility on Tuesday with only New England goalkeeper Matt Reis getting an excused absence as he travels back from Los Angeles after the Revs 1-1 draw against the Galaxy on Monday night. Pat Noonan returned to duty after missing the last session in Portland with a bruised foot, while Kasey Keller, who joined the team last Thursday, continues to be the star of the show in his home state. The U.S. will be looking to continue their dominating form during CONCACAF Gold Cup group play when they face Cuba on Thursday, as the MNT have compiled an undefeated 16-0-0 record in the first round since the competition began back in 1991. Even more impressive, in those 16 matches the U.S. has earned 10 shutouts and only allowed eight goals overall, while scoring 33 goals against their opponents. The MNT shutout Cuba in their only other meetings in Gold Cup group play, winning 3-0 in 1998 and 1-0 in 2002. This year will be the first time the U.S. has faced Canada in group play of the Gold Cup.
U.S. Men’s National Team Gold Cup Schedule (Group Play)
Date         Opponent         Venue/Location                              Time                  Television   
July 7       Cuba                Qwest Field; Seattle, Wash.            7:30 p.m. PT      Telefutura
July 9       Canada            Qwest Field; Seattle, Wash.            1:30 p.m. PT      Telefutura
July 12     Costa Rica       Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass.    7 p.m. ET           Telefutura
U.S. Men's National Team Gold Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Marcus Hahnemann (Reading FC), Kasey Keller (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Matt Reis (New England Revolution); DEFENDERS (7): Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege), Eddie Pope (Real Salt Lake), Tony Sanneh (Chicago Fire), Greg Vanney (FC Dallas); MIDFIELDERS (9): Chris Armas (Chicago Fire), DaMarcus Beasley (PSV Eindhoven), Brad Davis (San Jose Earthquakes), Clint Dempsey (New England Revolution), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), John O’Brien (ADO Den Haag),  Ben Olsen (D.C. United), Steve Ralston (New England Revolution); FORWARDS (4): Conor Casey (FSV Mainz), Pat Noonan (New England Revolution), Santino Quaranta (D.C. United), Josh Wolff (Kansas City Wizards).

U.S. WNT PREPARES TO FACE UKRAINE IN PORTLAND: The U.S. Women’s National Team arrived in Portland this weekend as the 24 players invited into camp by head coach Greg Ryan prepare for their second domestic match of the year against Ukraine on Sunday, July 10 at Merlo Field on the campus of the University of Portland. The match will kickoff at 3:30 p.m. PT and fans can follow the action live on ESPN2 or ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. Tickets for the USA-Ukraine match start at $18 and are on sale online at ussoccer.com, at all Ticketmaster outlets throughout Oregon and Washington (including G.I. Joe’s and Fred Meyer) and by phone at 503-224-4400. Groups of 20 or more can call U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1249 or obtain a group order form at ussoccer.com. The U.S. team will hold most of their training sessions on the campus of the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., but with a few at the University of Portland. Ryan will choose 18 players to suit up for the team’s first meeting with Ukraine (currently 19th in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings) since December of 1998. Former University of Portland star Tiffeny Milbrett, who made her return to the U.S. team two weeks ago against Canada to earn her 200th cap, will be honored before the game on her college field for that historic achievement. Milbrett will also be going for her historic 100th goal in an attempt to join an exclusive list of just five players who have hit the century mark.  Milbrett has scored in every match she has played in Portland, except one – the 2003 Women’s World Cup semifinal – when she came off the bench in the second half.  She has six goals in her seven matches in her hometown.

FOURTH ROUND U.S. OPEN CUP PAIRINGS ANNOUNCED: U.S. Soccer announced the fourth round pairings for the 2005 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup after the second round matches were played last week. The final eight teams that will join the tournament – all from Major League Soccer – will play the winners of the July 12 and July 13 third round games. The fourth round is scheduled to be played on Wednesday, Aug. 3. The second round of the 2005 Open Cup was completed Wednesday night (June 29), with the home team advancing in seven of the eight matches. The USL Second Division Charlotte Eagles were the only road warriors to come away with a victory, an easy 4-1 defeat of the PDL’s El Paso Patriots. Two other PDL clubs playing at home were more fortunate, as the Ocean City Barons crushed the Long Island Rough Riders (USL2) 4-0 after two Long Island players were sent off. The upset of the night, however, came as the amateur Des Moines Menace (PDL) topped the 2004 U.S. Open Cup semifinalist Charleston Battery (USL1) 3-2 on an 80th minute goal by Armin Mujdzic. Two of the three remaining USASA regional qualifiers fell by 5-0 margins to USL2 opponents as the Western Mass Pioneers and Wilmington Hammerheads advanced past Reggae Boyz and Roma, respectively. The other winners on the night were USL1 sides including the Seattle Sounders, Virginia Beach Mariners and Minnesota Thunder. For complete fixtures, click here.

U.S. SOCCER TO HOST ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING IN VEGAS NEXT MARCH: U.S. Soccer will host its 2006 Annual General Meeting from March 9-12 at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The Annual General Meeting (AGM) serves as U.S. Soccer’s national meeting with all constituents from the youth, adult, professional and athlete councils. Representatives from each of these councils discuss administrative issues, review and vote on rule changes and conduct various other businesses during the course of the event. The schedule will include a U.S. Soccer Board of Directors meeting on Friday, March 10, as well as regional youth and adult meetings and various other council and committee meetings throughout the weekend.  After a Cocktail Reception and Dinner on Saturday night, the AGM concludes with U.S. Soccer’s National Council Meeting on Sunday.  The host city for the AGM revolves between each of the four U.S. Soccer Regions: Region 1 (Northeast), Region II (Midwest), Region III (South) and Region IV (West). The 2006 meeting in Las Vegas will be hosted by Region IV. More information about the 2006 Annual General Meeting, including registration materials and information, will be posted on ussoccer.com as it becomes available.

HAMM, DONOVAN AND JOHNSON NOMINTED FOR ESPYs: U.S. National Team members Mia Hamm, Landon Donovan and Eddie Johnson have been nominated for the 2005 ESPY Award for Best Soccer Player on Friday (June 24) for their 2004 overall performance. The winners of each of the awards will be announced at the 13th annual ESPY Awards, which will be televised by ESPN and ESPN Deportes from Hollywood's Kodak Theatre on Sunday, July 17, at 9 p.m. ET. The other two finalists for the award are FC Barcelona midfielder Ronaldinho and Birgit Prinz. The nominees are selected by ESPN producers and industry-wide experts. Voting for the awards began on Friday (June 24) and fans can cast their vote on ESPN.com through July 7 to determine the winner of the award. Click here to cast your vote for the 2005 ESPY Awards.

TICKETS ON SALE FOR U.S. WNT MATCH AGAINST ICELAND: After taking on Ukraine on July 10, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team will next meet Iceland on Sunday, July 24, at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., and tickets are now on sale. The match against Iceland kicks off at 2 p.m. PT and will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Groups of 20 or more can call U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290 or obtain a group order form at ussoccer.com. Tickets for the USA-Iceland match start at $15 and are on sale at ussoccer.com, at all Southern California Ticketmaster ticket centers (including Robinson’s-May, Wherehouse Music and Tower Records), The Home Depot Center ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and by phone at 213-480-3232.


-- FIFA 2006 WORLD CUP QUALIFYING UPDATE --


HARTFORD TO HOST USA VS. TRINIDAD & TOBAGO ON AUG. 17: Tickets remain on sale for the U.S. Men’s National Team’s World Cup qualifying match vs. Trinidad & Tobago on August 17 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn. The U.S. vs. Trinidad & Tobago match will kick off at 8 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN2, with fans also able to follow along live on ussoccer.com via MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased at ussoccer.com, by phone at 860-525-4500, at all Ticketmaster outlets in the region (including Filene's Stores) and at the Hartford Civic Center (open Monday – Friday, 12 noon to 5 p.m.).  Groups of 20 or more can call U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290 or obtain a group order form at ussoccer.com. Trinidad & Tobago will be the first opponent that the U.S. faces for the second time in the 10-game final round of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, playing the return leg of a 2-1 victory on February 9 in Trinidad.

U.S. TAKES ON MEXICO IN COLUMBUS ON SEPT. 3: The U.S. Men’s National Team will host Mexico on Saturday, Sept. 3 in Columbus Crew Stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET in their seventh of 10 final round qualifying matches for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The U.S. vs. Mexico match, which is being presented by Budweiser, will be broadcast live on ESPN Classic and Telemundo, with fans also able to follow the U.S. match live at ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. It will be the fourth out of five World Cup qualifiers played in the United States and the fifth World Cup qualifying match hosted by the six-year-old venue. Ticketing details will be announced in the future.
2006 FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFYING SCHEDULE:
CONCACAF Final Round

Date       Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Feb. 9     Panama 0, Guatemala 0
Feb. 9     Costa Rica 1, Mexico 2
Feb. 9    Trinidad & Tobago 1,  USA 2 
Date            Match-up (Home teams listed first)
March 26    Costa Rica 2, Panama 1
March 26    Guatemala 5, Trinidad & Tobago 1
March 27    Mexico 2, USA 1
Date             Match-up (Home teams listed first)
March 30     Panama 1, Mexico 1
March 30     USA 2, Guatemala 0
March 30     Trinidad & Tobago 0, Costa Rica 0
Date      Match-up (Home teams listed first)
June 4    Trinidad & Tobago 2, Panama 0  
June 4    Guatemala 0, Mexico 2  
June 4    USA 3, Costa Rica 0  
Date      Match-up (Home teams listed first)
June 8    Panama 0, USA 3  
June 8    Costa Rica 3, Guatemala 2  
June 8    Mexico 2, Trinidad & Tobago 0
Date         Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Aug. 17    Guatemala vs. Panama   
Aug. 17    Mexico vs. Costa Rica   
Aug. 17    USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date        Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Sept. 3    Panama vs. Costa Rica  
Sept. 3    Trinidad & Tobago vs. Guatemala
Sept. 3    USA vs. Mexico  
Date        Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Sept. 7    Mexico vs. Panama 
Sept. 7    Guatemala vs. USA  
Sept. 7    Costa Rica vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date       Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Oct. 8    Panama vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Oct. 8    Mexico vs. Guatemala 
Oct. 8/9    Costa Rica vs. USA 
Date        Match-up (Home teams listed first)
Oct. 12    USA vs. Panama   
Oct. 12    Guatemala vs. Costa Rica
Oct. 12    Trinidad & Tobago vs. Mexico
 
Playoff (*home team will be determined by lottery at the conclusion of the final round)
Date                  Match-up
*Nov. 12/13    AFC #5 vs. CONCACAF #4 
*Nov. 16         AFC #5 vs. CONCACAF #4


-- U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE --


U-17 MNT TO FACE BRAZIL AND URUGUAY IN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP PREPARATIONS: The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team will arrive in Brazil on Wednesday, July 6, for a two-week tour which will include four matches as head coach John Hackworth continues his preparations for the 2005 FIFA Under-17 World Championship, which will be from September 16-October 2 in Peru. The U-17s will take on Brazil and Uruguay, two of the three CONMEBOL World Championship representatives, in a four-team tournament in Porte Alegre during the second week of the tour. The U.S. will face Brazil on July 13, Uruguay on July 15 and another team to be determined on July 17 during the tournament. The U-17s will play their first match during the first week of the trip, going up against EC Cruzeiro on July 10 in Belo Horizonte, a day before they move camp to Porte Alegre. Hackworth is bringing a 22-player roster to Brazil for the two-week camp.
U-17 MNT Schedule
Date        Opponent
July 10    EC Cruzeiro
July 13    Brazil U-17
July 15    Uruguay U-17
July 17    TBD   
U-17 MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3):
Brian Perk (Pateadores), Diego Restrepo (HC United), Bryant Rueckner (PSG - Calif.); DEFENDERS (8): Kevin Alston (Potomac Cougars), Michael Balogun (Houstonians), Carlos Borja (ISC Strikers), Richard Edgar (Potomac Cougars), Amaechi Igwe (Santa Clara Sporting), Eric Lichaj (Chicago Magic), Ofori Sarkodie (Chicago Magic), Blake Wagner (HC United); MIDFIELDERS (8): Nikolas Besagno (Real Salt Lake), Michael Farfan (Nomads), Jeremy Hall (HC United), Daniel Kelly (TNFC), Quavas Kirk (Chicago Magic), Kyle Nakazawa (ISC Strikers), Ryan Soroka (FC Delco), Bobby Warshaw (FC Delco); FORWARDS (3): David Arvizu (Pateadores), Omar Gonzalez (Dallas Texans),  Preston Zimmerman (Crossfire Premier).

U.S. U-17 WNT HEAD TO MEXICO FOR THREE GAMES: Coming off a high successful run at the Houston Shootout at the end of May and early June where they went undefeated in four matches against older competition, the U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team will travel to Mexico from July 8-17, facing the Mexican U-20 and U-18 Women’s National Teams as well as the Canadian U-20s.  The U-17s, led by head coach Erika Walsh, take on the Mexican U-20s on July 14th in Mexico City, followed by matches on July 16th vs. Canada’s U-20s and July 17 vs. Mexico’s U-18s, the final two matches being played in Toluca. Walsh brought 24 players to Houston, but will bring an 18-player roster to Mexico featuring 16 of the players who tied Canada’s U-18s before reeling off wins over two U-18 Regional Teams and Japan’s U-18 Women’s National Team at the Houston Shootout. The two new players getting call-ups are defender Akilha Duggan and forward Whitney Hooper.
U-17 Women’s National Team Schedule – Mexico City and Toluca, Mexico
Date           Opponent
July 14        Mexico U-20 Women’s National Team
July 16        Canada U-20 Women’s National Team
July 17        Mexico U-18 Women’s National Team
U-17 WNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2):
Chantel Jones (Richmond, Va.), Alyssa Naeher (Stratford, Conn.); DEFENDERS (4): Jane Alukonis (Cocoa Beach, Fla.), Akilah Duggan (Brentwood, N.Y.), Kelly Eagan (St. James, N.Y.), Lauren Switzer (St. Charles, Ill.); MIDFIELDERS (6): Becky Edwards (Downingtown, Pa.), Melissa Hayes (Cave Creek, Ariz.), Tobin Heath (Basking Ridge, N.J.), Meghan Klingenberg (Gibsonia, Pa.), Kristin Stannard (Midlothian, Va.), Annie Yi (Indianapolis, Ind.); FORWARDS (6): Gina DiMartino (Massapequa Park, N.Y.), Rachel Givan (Ridgeland, Miss.), Whitney Hooper (Houston, Tex.), Alicia Jenkins (Diamond Springs, Calif.), Jessica McDonald (Phoenix, Ariz.), Kelly O’Hara (Fayetteville, Ga.).


– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –


U.S. YOUTH SOCCER NAMES 12 REGION IV CHAMPIONS, NATIONAL FINALISTS: The US Youth Soccer Far West (Region IV) Regional Championships concluded last week crowning 12 teams that will represent Region IV at the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships, July 26-31, at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. The 2005 US Youth Soccer National Championship Series is the country’s most prestigious national youth soccer tournament, providing approximately 129,000 players on 7,200 teams from US Youth Soccer’s 55 State Associations the opportunity to showcase their soccer skills against the best competition in the nation while emphasizing teamwork, discipline and fair play. The US Youth Soccer National Championships cap a yearlong series of competitions for boys and girls teams in multiple age brackets as teams earn their way from the top teams in their state to the regional championship tournaments. State Cup champions and selected wildcard teams in most age groups are eligible to compete in one of four US Youth Soccer Regional Championships. The following teams advanced to the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships:
2005 US Youth Soccer Far West Regional Champions
Under-12 Boys Regional Champion - San Diego Surf (CalSouth)
Under-12 Girls Regional Champion - Slammers FC (CalSouth)
Under-13 Boys Regional Champion - Valley United Blast (CalSouth)
Under-13 Girls Regional Champion - ISC Strikers (CalSouth)
Under-14 Boys Regional Champion - So Cal United (CalSouth)
Under-14 Girls Regional Champion - W. Southern California Blues (CalSouth)
Under-15 Boys Regional Champion - Nomads SC (CalSouth)
Under-15 Girls Regional Champion - San Diego Surf (CalSouth)
Under-16 Boys Regional Champion - Arsenal FC (CalSouth)
Under-16 Girls Regional Champion - Slammers FC (CalSouth)
Under-17 Boys Regional Champion - Real Colorado National (Colo.)
Under-17 Girls Regional Champion - Slammers FC (CalSouth)
Under-18 Boys Regional Champion - Real Colorado National (Colo.)
Under-18 Girls Regional Champion - Laguna Hills Eclipse (CalSouth)
Under-19 Boys Regional Champion - Nomads SC (CalSouth)
Under-19 Girls Regional Champion - Colorado Rush Nike (Colo.)

PARALYMPICS TEAM OPENS CPISRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS WITH VICTORY: The U.S. Paralympic Soccer Team opened up the 2005 CPISRA (Cerebral Palsy International Sport and Recreation Association) World Championships on June 30 with a 6-0 victory over Canada. The U.S. got a hat trick from Marthell Vazquez, two goals from Josh McKinney and one from Jon McCullough, while only allowing one shot on goal. A day later, the U.S. fell to 2004 Paralympic silver medalist Russia, 3-1. The U.S. fell behind 2-0 before McCullough buried a Derek Arneaud corner kick to cut the lead in half, but Russia was able to notch another goal to put it out of reach. The U.S. fell this afternoon to Iran 10-0, but will still play three more games. The U.S. will face Ireland on July 7 and Ukraine on July 8 before finishing up with a placement match on July 10. This is the first opportunity for teams to qualify for the Beijing 2008 Paralympics. The U.S. team, which includes several returning standouts from the 2004 Paralympic Games in September, hopes to improve their eighth place finish at the 2004 Paralympics with the addition of some fresh young talent.
U.S. Paralympic Team Results
Date       Opponent    Result    U.S. Goal Scorers
June 30   Canada       6-0 W     Vazquez (3), McKinney (2), McCullough
July 1      Russia        1-3 L       McCullough
July 5      Iran             0-10 L     --
U.S. Paralympic Team Roster
GOALKEEPER (1): Keith Johnson (Anchorage, Alaska); DEFENDERS (4): Jon McCullough (Washington, D.C.), John Theobald (Syracuse, N.Y.), Sean Matsey (Monroeville, Pa.), Jason Slemons (Seattle, Wash.); MIDFIELDERS (5): Derek Arneaud (E. Stroudsburg, Pa.), Josh McKinney (Morrisville, N.C.), Shaun Schetka (New Brighton, Pa.), David Woosnam (Roswell, Ga.), Tommy Latsch (Euclid, Ohio); FORWARDS (2): Josh Blue (Denver, Colo.), Marthell Vazquez (Long Beach, Calif.).

2005 NATIONAL CUP IV INVITES EXTENDED TO REGION B, REGION D CHAMPIONS: Region B and Region D champions received invitations to the 2005 National Cup IV Finals at competitions held June 25-28 in Ft. Dix, N.J. and June 24-27 in Ft. Wayne, Ind., respectively.  Match Fit Academy (NJ) and Vista (VA) each earned two Region B championships, while the Chicago Magic (IL) and Metro United (IL) won three Region D titles apiece.  Winners from each of the eight National Cup IV Regionals in Boys and Girls Under-12 through Under-17 age groups will compete in the Finals to be held July 21-24 in Jacksonville, Fla. (BU12-U14, GU12-U15), July 29-Aug. 1 in Orlando, Fla. (BU16-U17) and Aug. 5-8 in Stony Brook, N.Y. (GU16-U17).  Competition in Region G, the last 2005 National Cup IV Regional, concludes Tuesday, July 5 in Boise, Idaho.
Premier Boys 2005 National Cup IV Region B Champions
U-12 – PDA (NJ)
U-13 – SJ Barons (NJ)
U-14 – Roanoke Star (VA)
U-15 – NOVA (VA)
U-16 – PA Classics (PA)
U-17 – Match Fit Academy (NJ)
Super Group Boys 2005 National Cup IV Region B Champions
U-13 – NASA (NJ)
U-14 – Match Fit Academy (NJ)
U-14 – Black Watch (NY)
U-15 – Yonkers United (NY)
U-15 – Freestate United (MD)
Premier Girls 2005 National Cup IV Region B Champions
U-12 – Pennridge (PA)
U-13 – Vista Shockwave (VA)
U-14 – Soccer Domain (NJ)
U-15 – Vista Hotshots (VA)
U-15 – Albertson (NY)
U-16 – Reston FC (VA)
U-17 – Boston Renegades (MA)
Premier Boys 2005 National Cup IV Region D Champions
U-12 – Chicago Magic (IL)
U-13 – Chicago Magic (IL)
U-14 – FC Barrington (IL)
U-15 – CIS (IL)
U-16 – Metro United (IL)
U-17 – Ft. Wayne Fever (IN)
Super Group Boys 2005 National Cup IV Region D Champions
U-15 – Metro United (IL)
Premier Girls 2005 National Cup IV Region D Champions
U-12 – Century United (PA)
U-13 – Chicago Magic (IL)
U-14 – Bangu Tsunami (MN)
U-15 – CIS (IL)
U-16 – Kickers United (IL)
U-17 – Metro United (IL)

ARGENTINA WINS RECORD FIFTH WORLD YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE: Argentina started the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in Holland with a 1-0 loss to the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team, but then never looked back as they won six games in a row to secure their record-setting fifth championship title at the U-20 age level. Argentina’s Lionel Messi, who won the Golden Shoe and Golden Ball as the top scorer and player of the tournament, led his team in the final match with two penalty kick goals for a 2-1 victory over Nigeria. In the third place match, Brazil came back from a one-goal deficit in the final two minutes to win 2-1 after Morocco was reduced to 10 men in the 86th minute. The U.S., which won Group D with victories over Argentina and Egypt and a draw with Germany, fell to Italy in the Round of 16 and finished in 11th place.

COSTA RICA WINS FINAL CONCACAF SPOT IN FIFA U-17 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: Costa Rica secured the last ticket to the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship on Sunday after a 1-1 draw in Honduras gave them a 3-2 aggregate win in the CONCACAF third-place playoff. Costa Rica won the first leg 2-1 in Costa Rica, but Honduras took the lead in the second leg when Darwin García scored in the 81st minute. Cesar Elizondo became the hero for Costa Rica as he scored the equalizer one minute into the second period of extra time to push the Ticos through to their third consecutive FIFA U-17 World Championship, joining the U.S. and Mexico. The U.S. qualified by winning Group A in April with wins over El Salvador and Costa Rica, and drawing with Cuba, while Mexico won Group B. The U-17 World Championship will be held in Peru from September 16-October 2. The draw will be held on July 16 in Chiclayo.

SCHMEDES HITS TWICE IN USL ACTION: In USL W-League action last week and weekend involving U.S. Women’s National Team pool players, forward Kelly Schmedes scored twice to lead the Charlotte Lady Eagles over the Atlanta Silverbacks, 3-0, in the first-ever regular season televised game for the W-League.  Angela Hucles scored the Boston Renegades lone goal on a penalty kick in a 3-1 loss to the Western Mass. Lady Pioneers while defender Cat Reddick and forward Heather O’Reilly helped the New Jersey Wildcats stay undefeated with a 1-0 win over the Long Island Lady Riders.  The Wildcats are 10-0-0 and have allowed just one goal on the season. Goalkeeper Kristin Luckenbill’s Vermont Lady Voltage picked up a 7-0 win over the New Hampshire Lady Phantoms but fell to the Toronto Lady Lynx, 3-0.  Out West, goalkeeper Jen Branam amazingly scored from the kickoff in a 4-1 win over the Fort Collins Force. After the Force scored the first goal of the game, Branam suprised Fort Collins by scoring from the center spot on the restart for an immediate equalizer. She stuck to goalkeeping two days later for a 3-2 overtime win over the Mile High Mustangs and the day after that, backstopped the Heatwave to a 2-1 win over the Denver Lady Cougars.

FOX SOCCER CHANNEL TO SPONSOR FOUNDATION BANQUET: The U.S. Soccer Foundation, the major charitable arm of soccer in the United States, announced that Fox Soccer Channel has signed on as a Platinum Level Sponsor for the organization’s 2005 Banquet on September 15 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. The Foundation will commemorate its 10th anniversary at the Banquet, which will honor Lamar Hunt for his contributions over the years to soccer. Tickets can be reserved by contacting the U.S. Soccer Foundation at 202-872-9277 or online at ussoccerfoundation.org. Key elements of the sponsorship include: FSC’s promotion of the Foundation’s Top Ten Poll with a feature on foxsoccer.com, the running of public service announcements on the channel and a nightly crawl about the Top Ten poll on the Fox Sports World Report. The Top Ten Poll allows soccer fans nationwide the opportunity to vote online for their selections for the decade’s most memorable U.S. soccer moments. Users can only vote once through July 15, and have 20 different moments from which to select their top ten moments of the past 10 years. “We are delighted to be able to establish this relationship with an organization reaching out to the Foundation’s core supporters, soccer enthusiasts across the country,” said John Koskinen, President of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “Fox Soccer Channel has done an excellent job of cultivating fans of the beautiful game, young and old, with their programming, and their support will allow us to reach a significant audience.”

CONCACAF LAUNCHES TICKET HOTLINE NUMBER FOR 2005 CONCACAF GOLD CUP: CONCACAF has launched a ticket hotline number, 1-888-480-2005, for tickets to the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup, which will be played in six U.S. cities from July 6-24. The domestic and international telephone number will allow fans to purchase tickets in any of the seven stadiums hosting games in the showpiece event. Ticket prices for single dates start as low as $20 in some venues for first-round doubleheaders. Discounts are available for group tickets and for packages of tickets to all the match days in the same city. All tickets are subject to availability.

 

*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***


PEAK PERFORMER: Argentina’s Lionel Messi was named the top player (Golden Shoe) and top scorer (Golden Ball) of the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship after converting two penalty kicks against Nigeria in the championship match to give Argentina their record-setting fifth title at the U-20 age level. The lightning-quick 18-year-old was the engine for the eventual champs and at times looked unstoppable with his unmatched pace, dribbling skills and goal scoring talents. Messi finished with six goals (and two assists) to win the Golden Shoe, while he ran away with the Golden Ball by receiving 423 votes from the media, nearly 300 more than the Silver Ball winner, John Obi Mikel of Nigeria.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: The U.S. will be looking to continue their dominating form during CONCACAF Gold Cup group play when they face Cuba on Thursday, July 7 at Qwest Field at 7:30 p.m. PT, live on Telefutura. The MNT have compiled an undefeated 16-0-0 record in the first round of play since the competition began back in 1991, earning 10 shutouts and only allowing eight goals overall.

SOCCER SHOCKER: Despite being down a man for the entire second half, both Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids were able to pull out some late-game fireworks at home on Independence Day to snag some much needed points. RSL went down to 10 men right before halftime at Rice-Eccles Stadium, but were still able to stun the MetroStars by snagging two late goals to secure a 2-2 draw. Colorado did one better by scoring two goals in the second half after going down a goal in the eighth minute and then a man in the 40th minute, to come away with a 2-1 victory.

QUOTABLE: " You get a chance to get four, five or six games to show what you can do in a tough atmosphere, and to let coach know that in a big game you can perform when it’s crunch time.  This is obviously a big stretch for a lot of guys.”
 -- U.S. MNT forward Pat Noonan talking about the Gold Cup being a good opportunity for players to make a push for the 2006 World Cup roster.

 

 

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