U.S. U-19s ARRIVE IN VICTORIA, B.C., TODAY FOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP IN CANADA: The U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team will arrive in Victoria, British Colombia, today to begin final preparations for the 2002 FIFA Under-19 Women’s World Championship, taking place in Canada from Aug. 17-Sept. 1, 2002. The U-19 team will train daily at their home base in Victoria before opening World Championship play on Saturday (Aug. 17) against England at 1 p.m. PT in the first match of the tournament. The USA will face Australia in its second opening round game on Aug. 19 at 7:15 p.m. PT and finish Group C play on Aug. 21 against Chinese Taipei (a.k.a. Taiwan) at 7:15 p.m. PT. All of the USA’s first round matches will be played at the 6,000-seat Centennial Stadium in Victoria, B.C. The 12-team tournament is divided into three groups of four teams each which will all play round-robin matches within the groups. Canada, Denmark, Nigeria and Japan will play in Group A in Edmonton, Alberta, while Group B, being played in Vancouver, B.C., is the “Group of Death” and features Germany, France, Mexico and Brazil. The group winners and second place teams will all advance to the quarterfinals, along with the two best third-place teams based on points, at which time the tournament becomes a knock-out competition. Fans will be able to follow the tournament by logging onto the special section of ussoccer.com dedicated to the first-ever FIFA Under-19 Women’s World Championship, to get game reports, group standings, notes and photos, as well as the ability to follow live game action on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
CONTIGUGLIA RE-ELECTED BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT AT ANNUAL MEETING IN SAN FRANCISCO: U.S. Soccer’s membership elected Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia to a second four-year term as President of the U.S. Soccer Federation by unanimous consent on Aug. 9. Contiguglia, who ran unopposed in the election, has been involved in soccer in the U.S. for more than three decades, during which he has excelled at almost every level of the game. During his first four-year tenure, U.S. Soccer’s National Team programs were successful at every level of the sport. In addition to winning the 1999 Women’s World Cup here in the United States, the Under-23 Men’s National Team advance to the medal round of the 2000 Olympic Games, the U-17s advanced to the final four of 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship and, of course, the U.S. Men had a historic run to the quarterfinals at the 2002 World Cup.
GALAXY, BURN, CREW ALL WIN, ADVANCE TO 2002 U.S. OPEN CUP SEMI-FINALS: U.S. Soccer announced last week that the Los Angeles Galaxy will host the Dallas Burn in a 2002 Lamar U.S. Open Cup Semifinal at Titan Stadium in Fullerton, Calif., on Tuesday, September 3, at 8 p.m. PT. The other Semifinal, set for Tuesday, Sept. 10, will pit the Columbus Crew (MLS) against the winner of the remaining Quarterfinal match to be played on August 24 when the Kansas City Wizards (MLS) visit the Milwaukee Rampage (A-League). The defending Open Cup champions L.A. Galaxy extended their tournament unbeaten streak to seven as they eliminated the 2001 MLS Cup champion San Jose Earthquakes for a third consecutive year, posting a 1-0 win on a “golden goal” by forward Carlos Ruiz in overtime on Aug. 7 at Spartan Stadium. In another overtime encounter, midfielder Ronnie O’Brien’s tally in the 111th minute helped the host Dallas Burn (MLS) earn a 1-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids (MLS) at the Cotton Bowl. In the other quarterfinal, forward Brian McBride scored his eighth career Open Cup goal and rookie midfielder Kyle Martino scored the game winner for the visiting Columbus Crew in their 2-1 win over the MetroStars (MLS) at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, N.Y.
– U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –
GERMAN LEAGUES KICK OFF, ENGLAND AND HOLLAND SET TO START THIS WEEKEND: With the Bundesliga and other German leagues kicking off the 2002-03 season this past weekend, a trio of U.S. defenders began the season with starting roles for their respective clubs. Tony Sanneh played a full 90 minutes for F.C. Nurnberg, but fell 3-1 to Vfl Bochum. Steve Cherundolo started and played the first 71 minutes in Hannover 96’s 2-1 loss to Hamburger SV, in which the team allowed two late goals after he had left the game. In the German Second Division, Corey Gibbs went the distance for F.C. St. Pauli, but they were downed 4-0 by SpVgg Unteraching. In the Third Division, midfielder Joe Enochs continues to perform well for VfL Osnabruck, playing the first half of their whopping 7-1 win over TuS Bersenbruck in a qualifying match for the Deutsch DFB Cup and then playing a full 90 minutes in a 4-1 win over Erzegebirge Aue. This weekend, leagues in England and the Netherlands will kick off their 2002-03 seasons, with plenty of U.S. Men’s National Team players ready for action. In England, U.S. captain Claudio Reyna will begin his first full season for Sunderland, while goalkeepers Brad Friedel and Kasey Keller hope to be in the nets for Blackburn and Tottenham, respectively, on opening day this Saturday (Aug. 17). In Holland, midfielders Earnie Stewart and John O’Brien are looking to again play major roles with their respective clubs as NAC Breda and Ajax kick off on Saturday.
– U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –
PANAMA JOINS MEXICO AS U.S. WOMEN’S QUALIFYING OPPONENT FOR 2003 WWC: The two Central American qualifiers for the 2002 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup -- Costa Rica and Panama -- posted very different results on the last day of the Central Zone qualifying tournament at Estadio Cuscatlán in San Salvador last week. Honduras scored five unanswered second-half goals to break a 1-1 halftime tie with a 10-player Panama and win 6-2, while Costa Rica needed three goals after the interval to break a scoreless tie and defeat the host nation 3-0. Costa Rica finished atop the group on 12 points in four matches played to wrap up the first Central Zone berth in the Women’s Gold Cup. Meanwhile, Panama and Guatemala each had six points, with Panama gaining the second spot by virtue of head-to-head competition. The hosts took fourth and Honduras fifth with three points apiece, El Salvador winning the tiebreaker. Panama will join Group A, along with USA, Mexico and winner of Caribbean Group A. Costa Rica will participate in Group B of the 2002 Women's Gold Cup, based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, along with the winners of Caribbean Group B and the third-place Caribbean side, and Canada.
U.S. WNT TO MEET SCOTLAND FOR FIRST TIME EVER, SEPT. 8 IN COLUMBUS LIVE ON ESPN: After playing its last match against a country that the U.S. Women's National Team has faced more than any other nation (a resounding 4-0 victory over Norway on July 21), the U.S. Women will take the field next against a team it has never played before, facing Scotland on Sept. 8, 2002, at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The match will kickoff at 1 p.m. ET and be broadcast live on ESPN. Tickets went on sale on last week at all TicketMaster locations in Ohio and the surrounding states and by phone at 614-431-3600. Tickets are also available at the Crew Stadium ticket office (open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.). Ticket prices are $18 (endline), $25 (sideline), $35 (midfield) and $45 (club seats). For information on group rates, please call 312-528-1249. The match against Scotland will be the first for the U.S. team after the WUSA season and all focus will be on preparing for the 2002 CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup, which takes place from Oct. 27-Nov. 9 and will serve as this region's qualifying tournament for the 2003 Women's World Cup in China.
– U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –
UNDER-14 GIRLS CAMP KICKS OFF TODAY IN DEERFIELD, MASS.: The Under-14 Girls’ Developmental Team kicked off a week-long training camp yesterday in Deerfield, Mass. A total of 100 girls have been selected from across the U.S. to take part in the training sessions. The Under-14 program gives the country’s top youths the chance to experience soccer at its highest level. All four regions send players to the camp for a week, where they are watched and evaluated by U.S. Soccer’s National Staff Coaches.
UNDER-17s TRAVEL TO NORTH CAROLINA FOR THREE MATCHES THIS WEEK: The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team traveled to North Carolina this weekend for an eight-day training camp that will include three matches against local squads. The Under-17s kick off their matches in N.C. today with a game against the Raleigh Elite of the PDL. The Elite were one of only three PDL team to advance to the second round of the U.S. Open Cup this summer. The Under-17s will also face a CASL Under-18 team and then N.C. State to complete their North Carolina tour. The Under-17s will leave Raleigh and then head to Finland, where they will play three international matches in ten days. More information on the trip to Finland will be released later this week.
U.S. U-23s POST 4-0 RECORD ON ENGLAND TOUR WITH 3-2 WIN OVER MAN. UNITED U-21s: The U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team finished their week-long trip to England with an undefeated 4-0 mark after coming back from a 1-0 halftime deficit to defeat the Manchester United U-21s 3-2 in Carrington, England, last week. With the win, the U.S. U-23s improve their overall record in 2002 to 5-1-2. University of Virginia forward Alecko Eskandarian, who scored in two of the team's three previous wins in England, led the way with an assist on the equalizer from East Illinois forward Jason Thompson in the 48th minute before scoring an unassisted goal to give the U-23's a 2-1 lead in the 60th minute. Eskandarian now leads the team in scoring in 2002 with five goals and two assists. The U.S. Under-23 MNT opened the trip with a dominating 4-1 win over Bolton Wanderers reserves on Aug. 1 in which Wake Forest midfielder Brian Carroll provided book ends for the U.S. scoring, notching goals in the 38th and 76th minutes to seal the win. After the team's big opening win, the U-23s downed Huddersfield 2-1 on Aug. 3 behind goals from UNC forward David Testo and Eskandarian after giving up a goal in 6th minute. The Under-23s put another 4-1 result on an English U-21 club on Aug. 5, this time using goals from Testo, Buddle, Thompson (all of whom who join Carroll and Eskandarian in scoring at least two goals for the trip).
— AROUND THE SOCCER WORLD —
COURAGE EARNS REGULAR SEASON WUSA TITLE; PLAYOFFS BEGIN SATURDAY: With a 1-1 draw against the San Diego Spirit yesterday, the Carolina Courage (12-5-4, 40 pts.) clinched the WUSA regular season championship and concluded a remarkable worst-to-first season. The Atlanta Beat (11-9-1, 34 pts.), last year’s regular season champs, defeated the Philadelphia Charge (11-4-6, 39 pts.), who have led much of this season, 2-0 this weekend to claim the fourth and final playoff berth. The Washington (D.C.) Freedom (11-5-5, 38 pts.), who finished seventh in 2001, fought their way to top half of the table and finished just two points out of the top spot. In winning the regular season title, the #1-seeded Carolina will face 2001 Founders Cup finalist Atlanta, while #2 seed Philadelphia will play host to Washington. The WUSA Playoff Semifinals, which are single elimination, will take place on Saturday (Aug. 17) and will be broadcast live on PAX at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. ET. The winners advance to Founders Cup II in Atlanta on Saturday, August 24 to battle for the WUSA title. PAX TV will broadcast the championship game live from Herndon Stadium at 4:00 p.m. ET.
WIZARDS FALL TO MORELIA 6-1 IN FIRST LEG OF CHAMPIONS CUP SEMIFINAL SERIES: The Kansas City Wizards fell to the host Monarcas Morelia 6-1 at Estadio Morelas in Mexico last week in the first-leg of the two-game CONCACAF Champions Cup Semifinal. After holding the home team scorless in the first half, Morelia exploded for six goals in 34 minutes to put the game out of reach. The only remaining U.S. club left in the tournament, the Wizards will host the second leg on August 28 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. In the other semifinal series, LD Alajuelense of Costa Rica defeated Pachuca CF of Mexico 2-1. The second leg of that series will also be played on August 28, with Pachuca hosting the match.
CRUSADERS CAPTURE PDL CROWN, RENEGADES TAKE W-LEAGUE TITLE: Two of the United Soccer Leagues crowned their 2002 champions this weekend, as the Cape Cod Crusaders edged the Boulder Rapids Reserve 2-1 in overtime for the PDL championship, and the Boston Renegades shut out the Charlotte Lady Eagles 3-0 for the W-League Championship. Tied at 1-1 at the end of regulation, the Crusaders got a “golden goal” from forward Casey Schmidt in the 99th minute to take the title. Midfielder Felix Brillant was named MVP of the post-season tournament. The Renegades, who won the W-1 in 2001 and have advanced to the league semi-finals in each of the last three seasons, were powered by two goals from midfielder and post-season MVP Erin O’Grady and two assists from Meghan Moore.
USL ANNOUNCES 2002 MVPs FOR PDL, W-LEAGUE: USL announced last week the Most Valuable Players for the Premier Development League and W-League last week, honoring Des Moines Menace midfielder Tomas Boltnar and Kansas City Mystic forward Maribel Dominguez. Boltnar led the Menace to an undefeated record of 15-0-3, only the third in USL’s PDL/amateur history. He posted the highest goal (24) and point (59) totals since Boniventure Maruti’s 27 and 63, respectively, in 1998. Mexican National Team star Maribel Dominguez led the W-League in points (46) and assists (12) and also finished second in goals with 17, just one short of New York’s Jessica Reifer. The 5-4 forward was named to the W-League Team of the Week three times this season, earning the Player of the Week honor twice.
U.S. FUTSAL TEAM TO HOST BRAZIL, MEXICO IN MILWAUKEE: The U.S. Futsal National Team will host two nations at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wis., from August 24-25, as CONCACAF rival Mexico and the three-time FIFA World Champions Brazil visit the Midwest. This is the second time this year that the U.S. squad has played international futsal matches on home soil, having defeated Canada (10-0) and tied Mexico (1-1) in a triangular event held in the Washington, D.C., area in mid-March. "I am excited that we can compete against one of the top futsal teams in the world in Brazil and once again face our (CONCACAF) regional foe Mexico in the USA," said head coach Keith Tozer. "Hosting this event is another step for our squad to get ready for the CONCACAF qualifiers in another year." Mexico is coming off a 7-1 victory over Canada in their last international match this past March, while Brazil has recently added another title to its already crowded trophy case as they won the gold medal at the VIIth South American Games over the weekend with a perfect 6-0 record, while outscoring their opponents 42-5. Tozer has also named a 14-man player roster along with nine alternates for this competition. The U.S. will open the triangular event on Aug. 24 at 3 p.m. CT, as they face Brazil for the first time since 1998. After Mexico battles Brazil in the opener on Aug. 25 at 2 p.m. CT, the Americans close out the competition squaring off against the Tri-Colores in the nightcap at 5 p.m. CT. Tickets for the event go on sale today at the Bradley Center Ticket Office. Individual session tickets are priced at $25 (reserved), and $12 (general admission), with all-session tickets priced at $40 (reserved), and $20 (general admission). For more information, contact the Wave Office at 414-224-WAVE (9283).
Goalkeepers (2): Dan Green (Milwaukee Wave - MISL), Scott Hileman (Baltimore Blast - MISL);
Defenders (4): Sean Bowers (Baltimore Blast - MISL), Troy Dusosky (Milwaukee Wave - MISL), Pat Morris (Philadelphia Kixx - MISL), Pat White (Milwaukee Wave - MISL);
Midfielders (4): John Ball (Cleveland Crunch/Carolina Dynamo - MISL/D3 Pro League), Brian Loftin (Milwaukee Wave - MISL), Matt Tanzini (Harrisburg Heat - MISL), Lee Tschantret (Baltimore Blast - MISL);
Forwards (4): Steve Butcher (Cleveland Crunch - MISL), Todd Dusosky (Milwaukee Wave - MISL), Dewayne Gilpatrick (Milwaukee Wave - MISL), Greg Howes (Milwaukee Wave/Portland Timbers - MISL/A-League).
2003 MISL ALL-STAR WEEKEND COMING TO MILWAUKEE: The Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) announced last week that the city of Milwaukee and its MISL entry, the Milwaukee Wave, have been selected to host the 2003 MISL All-Star Weekend. The three-day event will be held March 7-9, 2003 and will culminate with the 2003 MISL Legends and All-Star Games to be played on Sunday, March 9 at the Bradley Center. During the event, the 2003 MISL All-Stars and Legends will be introduced and Commissioner Steve Ryan will deliver his annual "State of the League" address. The Milwaukee Wave Greats will host MISL Heroes in the second annual MISL Legends Game, followed by the 2003 MISL All-Star Game, which will feature an Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference format and will be nationally televised on a carrier to be named at a later date. Voting for the all-star rosters will include an online fan component as well as balloting of media and team personnel from each of the League's member cities.
U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT
PEAK PERFORMER: Cape Cod Crusaders forward Casey Schmidt twice pulled off some overtime magic to help lift the Premier Development League club to the 2002 league championship. Schmidt had the game winner in a 3-2 overtime win over the Bradenton Academics in the semifinals two weekends ago to advance to the final, then struck in the 99th minute to register a 2-1 overtime win over the Boulder Rapids Reserves in the 2002 PDL Final.
MARQUEE MATCH-UP: Well, it all starts with this weekend for the U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team. While they’ve achieved unparalleled success (read: 15-1-1 international record and 93-10 goal differential in those matches) over the last 18 months since the program’s official inception, none of that matters as they get ready to compete in the first ever FIFA Women’s Youth (U-19) World Championship. As the first women’s youth tournament of its kind, the pressure is on the U.S. teenagers to uphold the winning tradition set by the U.S. Women’s National Team in world championships. It all starts on Saturday when they meet England at 1 p.m. PT in Victoria, British Columbia, in a match that media and fans can follow on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
SOCCER SHOCKER: Unlike the formative years of its Major League Soccer counterpart, in which one team (D.C. United) ruled and you always knew who the better team was (L.A. was good, San Jose was bad), the WUSA’s first two seasons have presented quite a different picture. Consider that the defending WUSA champion San Jose CyberRays missed the cut and the two cellar-dwellers from the inaugural season – the Carolina Courage and Washington D.C. Freedom – are sitting just two points away from each other occupying the first and third spots in the eight-team standings. The Atlanta Beat and the Philadelphia Charge are the only consistent performers from 2001, having made the playoffs in both seasons.
“I would like to think it’s the former, that we’ve done such a good job that people are happy with what’s going on. This was the first uncontested election in my 30 years at U.S. Soccer, and I do know there are talented people in leadership roles who could have run and are presidential material but felt things were going in the right direction and would like to wait awhile.”
- Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia, who was re-elected as U.S. Soccer President through 2006, on whether his running unopposed is a good sign or a bad sign for the Federation and the sport