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U.S. Soccer Wire - Nov. 28, 2005


VOTING BEGINS FOR U.S. SOCCER ATHLETES OF THE YEAR & “BEST OF” 2005;
U.S. U-20 WOMEN TO COMPETE IN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING IN JANUARY

ANNUAL VOTING BEGINS ONLINE AT ussoccer.com: U.S. Soccer has unveiled this year's nominees for the 2005 Athlete of the Year Awards, with five finalists each in the Male, Female, Young Male and Young Female categories. Log on to ussoccer.com to cast your vote and return back every day to help your candidate take home the prestigious award. Online balloting constitutes half of the total voting, while the other 50 percent comes from members of the national media and U.S. Soccer representatives. Fans can also check out ussoccer.com's 2005 "Best Of U.S. Soccer" series. Relive all the excitement of the past 12 months by selecting the best goal, assist and celebration. We've also added a few new categories, including Best Audio Podcast and Best all_access video. The annual “Best Of U.S. Soccer” awards are decided entirely by fans’ online voting conducted through Friday Dec. 16, 2005, so log on and let your voice be heard in all 11 categories.

2005 Athlete of the Year Balloting
 * Male Athlete of the Year
 * Female Athlete of the Year
 * Young Male Athlete of the Year
 * Young Female Athlete of the Year

“Best of U.S. Soccer” – 2005
   * Best Soccer Bar
   * Best Soccer Store
   * Best U.S. Atmosphere
   * Best Goal
   * Best Assist
   * Best Performance (Player)
   * Best Performance (Team)
   * Best Goal Celebration
   * Best all_access video
   * Best Audio Podcast
   * Best Photo

U.S. U-20 WNT TO QUALIFY FOR FIFA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP IN MEXICO: CONCACAF has announced that the Women’s Under-20 Final Qualifying Tournament will be hosted by Mexico from January 18-27, 2006, in Veracruz at Luis Pirata Fuentes Stadium and in Cordoba at Rafael Murillo Vidal Stadium. The USA was drawn into Group B, which also features Surinam, Jamaica and the yet-to-be determined winner of the Central American Group 2. Group A features reigning U-20 CONCACAF championships Canada and host Mexico along with Panama and Trinidad & Tobago. The top three finishers in the tournament will advance to the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship to be held in Russia from Aug. 17-Sept. 3, 2006. A total of 16 teams will compete for the title, made up by four teams from Europe, three from CONCACAF and Asia, two from both Africa and South America, one from Oceania, and host Russia. The European entrants have already been determined with Germany, France and surprise qualifiers Finland and Switzerland earning berths at the most recent UEFA U-19 Women’s Championships held last August in Hungary. The CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Final Qualifying Tournament schedule will be confirmed and announced in the next two weeks, but the group winners and the second place finishers will advance to the semifinals in a “cross-over” format with the winners of the semifinals games and the third-place match advancing to Russia.

2005 NIKE FRIENDLIES SET FOR THIS WEEKEND IN BRADENTON, FLA.: The 2005 Nike Friendlies kick off Thursday (Dec. 1) at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., with 65 teams competing across the Under-16, Under-17 and Under-18 age groups. Elite clubs from 20 states will play in the fifth annual event, along with the U.S. Under-15 Boys’ National Team, teams from the USA’s 40-player Under-17 Residency Program and a Brazil Youth National Team, which is making its second appearance at the Nike Friendlies. U.S. Soccer’s Nike Friendlies is an annual competition in which the best youth soccer clubs around the United States are invited for a high-level four-day event which stresses quality soccer and player development over wins and losses. Standings are not kept during the competition, in which each team plays four 80-minute games over the four days. U.S. Soccer will once again host a coaching symposium in conjunction with the Nike Friendlies, as well as a referee academy. More information, including a full list of teams and schedule of games, is available at ussoccer.com.

ussoccer.com and ESPN2 TO FOLLOW FIFA FINAL DRAW LIVE ON DEC. 9 AT 3 p.m. ET: Fans will be able to watch live when the U.S. learns their opponents for the 2006 FIFA World Cup at the Final Draw on Dec. 9 in Leipzig, Germany.  ESPN2 will broadcast the ceremony beginning at 3 p.m. ET. For fans unable to get to a television on that Friday afternoon, ussoccer.com will be providing comprehensive coverage of the proceedings, with detailed breakdowns of each team and venue. The Draw festivities begin at 2:30 p.m. ET in the United States, with the actual selections tentatively scheduled to begin around 3:20 p.m. ET.

TICKETS ON SALE FOR USA-NORWAY AT HDC IN JANUARY: The U.S. Men’s National Team will face Norway at The Home Depot Center on January 29, 2006, at 2 p.m. PT, as U.S. Manager Bruce Arena continues to shape and prepare his team for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. The match will be televised live on ESPN2 and is available online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. The match will be part of an extended training camp for the U.S. that will be held at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., beginning on Jan. 4 to kick off the World Cup year. Tickets begin at $20 and are available at ussoccer.com, all Southern California Ticketmaster ticket centers (including Robinson’s-May, Wherehouse Music and Tower Records), The Home Depot Center ticket office (stadium ticket office is open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), and by phone at (213) 480-3232. Groups of 15 or more can purchase discounted tickets starting at $18 by calling U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290 or downloading a group order form at ussoccer.com.

– YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

U-17 MNT FINISH THANKSGIVING INTERREGIONAL AGAINST REGIONAL TEAMS: The U.S. Under-17 ’90 Men’s National Team finished up the US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program Boys’ Thanksgiving Interregional on Monday morning with a 2-0 loss to Region II 1989. The U.S. finished the week with a 1-3 record against the four year-older regional teams. Head coach John Hackworth divided the 22 players on his roster into two teams, one comprising players already in U.S. Soccer’s U-17 Residency Program and the other of players being evaluated for a possible invitation into the program in the coming spring semester. In the first match on Friday (Nov. 25), the U-17s were unlucky not to score and fell 1-0 to Region IV 1989. The following day the non-Residency players struggled in the first half and let in six goals en route to a 7-0 loss to the older Region I 1989 squad. On Sunday, the Residency players snagged their first victory when Danny Barrera and Ellis McLoughlin notched goals in a 2-1 victory against Region III 1989.

U-17 ’90 MNT US Youth Soccer ODP Boys Thanksgiving Interregional Results
Date          Opponent              Result        U.S. Goal Scorer(s)
Nov. 25      Region IV 1989     0-1 L            --
Nov. 26      Region I 1989        0-7 L            --
Nov. 27      Region III 1989      2-1 W           Barerra, McLoughlin
Nov. 28      Region II 1989       0-2 L            --

U-16 GIRLS’ WIN TWO, TIE ONE AT USYS ODP THANKSGIVING INTERREGIONAL EVENT: The U.S. Under-16 Girls’ National Team put together an impressive three-game run at the US Youth Soccer ODP Thanksgiving Interregional Event in Boca Raton, Florida, winning two matches and tying one against Regional Teams one year older. On Monday, Nov. 21, the U.S. U-16s opened up with a 3-2 victory against Region I as Casey Nogueira (Raleigh, N.C.), Merritt Mathias (Birmingham, Ala.) and Teresa Noyola (Palo Alto, Calif.) tallied. The U.S. U-16s went up 2-0 before second half goals from U.S. Under-17 National Team pool players Ashley Moore and Kristen Stannard evened the match, but Noyola bagged the winner in the 75th minute off an assist from Hannah Cerrone (Wappinger Falls, N.Y.). On Wednesday, Nov. 23, the U-16s rolled to a 5-0 win against Region IV, as Jesse Baddley (Ogden, Utah) scored twice while Mathias, Laura Heyboer (Hudsonville, Mich.) and Bianca D'Agostino (Longmeadow, Mass.) also bagged goals. The U.S. U-16s finished the tournament on Friday, Nov. 25, with a 2-2 tie against Region II. Mathias, who was a late add to the roster, scored her third goal in as many games and Sinead Farrelly (Havertown, Pa.) added her first goal of the tournament. Goalkeepers Jorden Kussman (Lakewood, Wash.) and Bianca Henninger (Saratoga, Calif.) shared goalkeeper duties with each player getting one full match and one half over the three games. The U.S U-16s serve a vital link to the older U.S. youth national teams and give them the experience to compete for spots on the U.S. U-20 Women’s World Championship teams as well as the U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team, which will enter world championship competition for the first time in 2008.

U.S. U-16 GNT US Youth Soccer ODP Girls Thanksgiving Interregional Results
Date         Opponent              Result            U.S. Goal Scorer(s)

Nov. 21    Region I 1988s       3-2                Nogueira, Mathias, Noyola
Nov. 23    Region IV 1988s    5-0                 Baddley (2), Mathias, Heyboer, D'Agostino
Nov. 25    Region II 1988s      2-2                Mathias, Farrelly

U-14 BNT WRAP UP USYS THANKSGIVING INTERREGIONAL IN AUSTIN: The U.S. Under-14 Boys’ National Team finished the US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program Boys Thanksgiving Interregional with an intra squad scrimmage on Monday morning. With 35 players in camp, two teams were created – Blue and White – and they each played two games over the weekend. On Saturday, the Blue team fell 2-0 to Region III 1992, but the White team pulled out a 3-0 victory against Region I 1992 with a hat trick from Patrick Donyeh. On Sunday, Donyeh led the way once again notching the first two goals, while Jerome Stefan, Soony Saad, Charles Renken and Alberto Rosas also scored in a 6-2 victory against Region IV 1992. The Blue team secured a 4-0 win on Sunday with two goals from both Robert Barrera and Johan Hernandez. In their intra squad scrimmage on Monday, the Blue team defeated the White team by a score of 2-1, with goals from Dalton Carroll and Johan Hernandez. Stefan Jerome scored the lone goal for the White team.

U.S. U-14 BNT US Youth Soccer ODP Boys Thanksgiving Interregional Results
Date         Team                    Opponent                Result    U.S. Goal Scorer(s)

Nov. 26   U.S. BNT – Blue    Region III 1992         0-2 L     --
               U.S. BNT – White   Region I 1992          3-0 W    Patrick Donyeh (3)
Nov. 27   U.S. BNT – White   Region IV 1992        6-2 W    Patrick Donyeh (2), Stefan Jerome, Soony Sadd, Charles Renken, Alberto Rosas
               U.S. BNT – Blue    Region II 1992          4-0 W    Robert Barrera (2), Johan Hernandez (2)
Nov. 28   U.S. BNT – Blue    U.S. BNT – White     2-1 W     Stefan Jerome (White), Dalton Carroll (Blue), Johan Hernandez (Blue)

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

WAMBACH HEADS TO RWANDA AND UGANDA TO HELP CHILDREN: U.S. forward Abby Wambach, the two-time reigning U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year, is currently in Africa on behalf of “Right to Play,” an athlete-driven international humanitarian organization that uses sport as a tool for development of children and youth in the most disadvantaged areas of the world. Wambach becomes the first U.S. Women’s National Team player to travel to Africa for humanitarian reasons, making a first stop in Kigali, Rwanda for five days, before traveling to Mbarara, Uganda for three days and Kampala, Uganda for two days. As an ambassador for “Right to Play” the Olympic gold medal winner will talk with children and play soccer with them in two countries where conflict and strife are unfortunately intertwined with their histories. “Right To Play” promotes opportunities for development, health and peace in an attempt to encourage the healthy physical, social and emotional development of the world’s most disadvantaged children. The organization works to have an increasingly positive impact on refugee children, children in conflict zones and young people at risk or orphaned by HIV/AIDS. “This is something I am really passionate about: helping kids who haven’t had the kind of opportunity afforded to people who grow up and live in the USA,” said Wambach, who has 49 career goals in her 63 caps. “It’s also one of my passions in that I feel I will do this kind of work in my life past soccer, helping and being involved with children and youth because my experiences in sport growing up have helped me in so many ways.”

SUPER Y-LEAGUE CHAMPIONS CROWNED IN TAMPA, FLA.: The 10 Super Y-League 2005 North American Champions for the Under-13 through Under-17 Boys and Girls were crowned Tuesday (Nov. 22) in Tampa, Florida at the Ed Radic Sports Complex with teams from nine different clubs raising the cup after three were decided via penalty kicks and one in overtime. Match Fit Academy was the lone club with two teams capturing titles. Both Match Fit Academy teams also accomplished a remarkable feat in finishing unbeaten on the year and winning a championship. They were two of four to do so, joining the U-14 Boys De Anza SC and the U-13 Boys Michigan Wolves, who were perfect through the tournament with zero goals allowed in five games. The Super Y-League Finals will be broadcast Saturday, Dec. 3, at 8 p.m. ET on Fox Soccer Channel. The airing will feature the match between the U-16 Boys Vancouver Whitecaps against the Chicago Magic from the second day of group play.

2005 SYL Championship Results
U-13 Boys
SCC Breakers 0, Michigan Wolves 6
U-14 Boys
De Anza SC 1, Chicago Magic 0
U-15 Boys
Reading Rage 1, Schulz Academy 2
U-16 Boys
Santa Clara Sporting Ruckus 1, MetroStars 2 (OT)
U-17 Boys
Chicago Magic 0, Storm Academy 2
U-13 Girls
Cleveland Internationals 2, Cavitt Academy 1
U-14 Girls
Cleveland Internationals 0 (4 pk), Match Fit Academy 0 (5 pk)
U-15 Girls
Spokane Shadow 0 (0 pk), Chicago Magic 0 (3 pk)
U-16 Girls
Parsippany SC 1 (4 pk), Cleveland Soccer Academy 1 (3 pk)
U-17 Girls
Match Fit Academy 1, Charlotte SC 0

FORMER U.S. YOUTH PLAYERS HEAD M.A.C. HERMANN TROPHY SEMIFINALISTS: Ten former members of U.S. Men’s Youth National Teams lead the list of M.A.C. Hermann Trophy semifinalists. Among them are forward Justin Moose, midfielder Brian Plotkin, midfielder Michael Videira and defender Jed Zayner. Also on the list are midfielders Greg Dalby, Patrick Ianni and Sacha Kljestan, forward Jacob Peterson and defender Marvell Wynne, who were all members of the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team that competed in the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship. Three men's and three women's finalists for the prestigious collegiate award will be named on Friday, Dec. 9. The winner will be announced on Friday, Jan. 6, live on ESPNews. The winner will be determined in voting by NSCAA Division I member coaches.

2005 MISSOURI ATHLETIC CLUB HERMANN TROPHY MEN'S SEMIFINALISTS
Name                        Year   Pos.                Hometown                School
Mehdi Ballouchy      Jr.       Midfielder        --                             Santa Clara
Greg Dalby              Jr.        Midfielder       Poway, Calif.            Notre Dame
Jason Garey            Sr.       Forward          Gonzales, La.             Maryland
Matt Groenwald      Grad.    Forward        Mt. Prospect, Ill.          St. John's
Patrick Ianni            Jr.        Midfielder      Lodi, Calif.                 UCLA
Aaron King             Sr.        Forward         Denver, Colo.              North Carolina State
Sacha Kljestan      Jr.          Midfielder     Huntington Beach,      Calif. Seton Hall
Justin Moose         Sr.          Forward        Statesville, N.C.           Wake Forest
Randi Patterson     Jr.         Forward         Hackensack, N.J.          UNC-Greensboro
Jacob Peterson      Jr.         Forward         Portage, Mich.            Indiana
Brian Plotkin          Sr.        Midfielder     Lisle, Ill.                      Indiana
Jeff Rowland          Sr.       Forward        Albuquerque, N.M.       New Mexico
Michael Videira     So.      Midfielder      Milford, Mass.              Duke
Marvell Wynne      So.      Defender        Poway, Calif.               UCLA
Jed Zayner             Jr.      Defender         Orland Park, Ill.           Indiana

2005 FUTBOL DE PRIMERA AWARDS TAKE PLACE NOV. 30: The Futbol de Primera 2005 Honda Symposium take place Tuesday (Nov. 29), to be followed one day later with the 15th Annual Player of the Year Award. As always, the event is scheduled for Los Angeles, Calif., and speaking at the symposium this year are U.S. Men's National Team Manager Bruce Arena and U.S. Soccer President Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia. Also speaking at the symposium will be Chivas USA president Antonio Cue and Mexico Under-17 Men’s National Team Head Coach Jesus Ramirez. U.S. Men's National Team forward Landon Donovan, midfielder DaMarcus Beasley and goalkeeper Kasey Keller have been named the 2005 Player of the Year Awards finalists. The winner will be announced during the award luncheon celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the Honda Player of the Year Award, which will take place on Wednesday (Nov. 30) at The Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.


*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: U.S. forward Brian McBride tallied two goals in the first 18 minutes to give Fulham all the scoring they would need in a 2-1 win against Bolton this past Saturday. The USA's second all-time leading scorer posted his second-ever two goal performance for Fulham, handing his side some breathing room from the bottom of the EPL table. McBride poked home Thomas Radzinski's effort to the near post just four minutes in, then doubled Fulham's lead when he got on the end of a long punt from goalkeeper Mark Crossley, unleashing a wicked volley for his team-leading fifth league goal of the campaign.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: The picture in Spain's La Liga is beginning to take shape, with usual suspects FC Barcelona sitting at the head of the class with 28 points from 13 matches, and newly crowned European Footballer of the Year Ronaldinho the second-leading scorer in Spain. They travel this Saturday to face surging Villareal, the third place team that only gained promotion to the top flight in 1998 and finished fourth in the table last year. Since then, the first-time entrants into the Champions League have climbed to the top of the group that includes Manchester United, going unbeaten with a 1-0-4 record to date. On the league front, Villareal are tied for third in goals scored (20) and second in fewest allowed (12).

SOCCER SHOCKER: The semifinals of the Copa Sudamerica kicked off this past weekend, with the two Argentina semifinalists heavily favored to get results at home in the first leg. But it was the visitors who pulled off the surprises, each earning valuable draws. Legendary side Boca Juniors were unable to capitalize on the huge home field advantage at La Bombonera, needing an 83rd minute goal from Martin Palermoto to draw 2-2 with Universidad de Catolica from Chile, with all four goals coming in the final 20 minutes. Velez Sarsfield were equally denied, accepting a scoreless draw against UNAM Pumas of Mexico. In the short history of the tournament, there has never been a final without a team from Argentina competing for the title. The return legs will be played this week.

QUOTABLE:  "Everyone has their own opinion about football and their favorite players, but in terms of British players, you would find it difficult to think of anyone better."
-- Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson on George Best, who died Friday at age 59.


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