APRIL, BRANDI TO DISCUSS U.S. TEAM ON CONCACAF CONFERENCE CALL TOMORROW AT 1 P.M. ET: With the 2002 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup less than two weeks away (Oct. 27-Nov. 9), U.S. Women’s National Team head coach April Heinrichs will announce the USA’s 18-player Gold Cup roster tomorrow. Heinrichs, along with U.S. defender Brandi Chastain, will discuss the roster and the Gold Cup on a CONCACAF conference call tomorrow at 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT. The U.S. kicks off against Mexico on Oct. 27 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., followed by a Oct. 29 match versus Trinidad & Tobago at nearby Titan Stadium in Fullerton, Calif. The U.S. Women will conclude Gold Cup opening round play up the coast at Safeco Field in Seattle, Wash., against Panama on Nov. 2. Should the U.S. advance, they would meet one of the top two teams from Group B (Canada, Costa Rica, Haiti and Jamaica) in the semi-finals in Seattle on Nov. 6 and then compete in the final at the Rose Bowl on Nov. 9. The tournament is both the women’s championship of this region and the qualifying tournament for the 2003 Women’s World Cup. The two finalists at the 2002 Women’s Gold Cup will automatically qualify for the 2003 Women’s World Cup, while the winner of the tournament’s third-place game will qualify for a Women’s World Cup qualifying playoff against the third place team from Asia. All of the tournament matches are being played as doubleheader, with 13 of 16 televised live on Fox Sports World and Fox Sports En Espanol.
GALAXY EARN FOURTH MLS CUP BERTH, FACE REVS SUNDAY LIVE ON ABC AT 1:30 P.M. ET: After needing a decisive Game Three to get past the Kansas City Wizards in the Quarterfinals, the Los Angeles Galaxy’s offensive juggernaut made quick work of the Colorado Rapids in the semi’s, winning the first match 4-0 at the Rose Bowl and then squeaking by 1-0 in what ended up being the deciding match of the series at Denver’s Invesco Field. L.A. now finds itself in its fourth MLS Cup in the league’s seven-year history, but the Galaxy have yet to bring home a trophy from their three previous title matches. After drawing 0-0 in the first match and getting an early goal from Jay Heaps to steal a 1-0 victory at Crew Stadium, the New England Revolution needed a draw to advance to their first ever MLS Cup. After building a 2-0 lead, the Revs escaped Gillette Stadium, site of MLS Cup 2002, with a 2-2 result and a spot in the final. The Galaxy, who come into the championship game with the league’s most potent offense, will meet the Revs, who boast one of the league’s more solid defenses, in MLS Cup 2002 this Sunday (Oct. 20) live on ABC at 1:30 p.m. ET as the league will crown a first-time champion.
CREW TO HOST GALAXY IN 2002 U.S. OPEN CUP FINAL NEXT WEEK LIVE ON FSW: The MLS’ Columbus Crew will host the defending champion Los Angeles Galaxy for the 2002 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final at Crew Stadium next Wednesday (Oct. 24) at 7 p.m. ET in a match broadcast live on Fox Sports World and FSEspanol. The Galaxy will be putting an eight-game Open Cup unbeaten streak on the line (matching the Chicago Fire from 2000-2001) and have never lost a tournament match on the road (4-0-1), while the Crew haven't dropped an Open Cup game on their home-soil (6-0-1). The U.S. Open Cup Final returns to Columbus, Ohio and Crew Stadium for the first time since September 14, 1999, when the Rochester Raging Rhinos (A-League) blanked the Colorado Rapids (MLS) 2-0 for the title. [NOTE TO MEDIA: MLS credentials will not be honored at the 2002 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final on Oct. 24. Members of the media wishing to attend the event must contact the U.S. Soccer Communications Department at 312-808-1300 or firstname.lastname@example.org for accreditation.]
– U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –
U.S. MEN RETURN TO D.C. FOR NOV. 17 MATCH AGAINST EL SALVADOR LIVE ON ESPN: The U.S. Men’s National Team will return to international action next month on Sunday, Nov. 17, as they welcome El Salvador to RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN. The United States has not faced an international opponent since the team’s historic quarterfinal finish at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in June. The team will train in the Washington, D.C. area beginning Nov. 10. The teams last met in the 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal earlier this year, with Brian McBride netting a hat trick en route to a 4-0 U.S. victory January 27 at the Rose Bowl. The United States went on to capture the Gold Cup championship, beginning the impressive form that would carry through to Korea/Japan. Tickets for the November 17 friendly, which is being presented to fans by Lego, range in price from $22 to $50 and will be available starting this Thursday (Oct. 10) at 10 a.m. ET through all TicketMaster outlets (D.C. 202-432-7328; Baltimore 410-481-7328; Northern Virginia 703-573-7328; out of state 1-800-551-7328). Fans can also order online at ussoccer.com. Discount rates for groups of 20 or more are available by calling the D.C. United ticket offices at 703-478-6600. The United States holds an 8-1-4 lifetime advantage against El Salvador, and has never lost a meeting on home soil. The Nov. 17 match will mark the first contest between the fellow CONCACAF nations in Washington, D.C., where the U.S. has collected an 8-3-3 record. RFK last hosted an international friendly May 12 of this year, when the USA beat Uruguay 2-1 during the Nike "Road to Korea."
– YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –
RONGEN TO ANNOUNCE U.S. UNDER-20 QUALIFYING ROSTER ON OCT. 22: With CONCACAF Under-20 qualifying less than one month away, U.S. Under-20 MNT head coach Thomas Rongen will announce his 18-man qualifying roster on Oct. 22 for the tournament, which will take place at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C., from Nov. 13-17. Joining the U.S in the four-team round-robin tournament will be Haiti, El Salvador and Canada. The U.S. Under-20s are 14-7-9 in 2002, and are coming off of a second-place performance at the C.O.T.I.F XIX Torneig Internacional in L’Alcudia, Spain. Much of the roster is expected to come from the roster Rongen called on for the tournament in Spain, where the U.S. finished ahead of traditional powers Italy, Spain, Uruguay, Ukraine and others, losing to Brazil 1-0 in the final. Several players who are eligible for selection to the Under-20 squad are currently playing in Major League Soccer, including Devin Barclay (San Jose Earthquakes), Craig Capano (Chicago Fire), Bobby Convey (D.C. United), Eddie Johnson (Dallas Burn), Justin Mapp (D.C. United), Santino Quaranta (D.C. United), Miguel Saavedra (Chicago) and Jordan Stone (Dallas Burn). This tournament marks the first time since 1980 that U.S. Soccer has hosted an Under-20 qualifying tournament. Tickets for the qualifying tournament are currently available at all Ticketmaster outlets throughout the Carolinas (including Publix and Cat’s Music Stores), by phone at 843-554-6060, on-line at ussoccer.com and at Blackbaud Stadium (office open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Series and group tickets are available through the Charleston Battery at 843-971-4625.
THREE U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM PLAYERS INJURED IN AUTO ACCIDENT: Three members of the U.S. Youth National Teams program were involved in an auto accident last week on Interstate 85 in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. Gray Griffin, 18, was killed after his sport utility vehicle overturned and was then hit by a tractor-trailer. The accident occurred at approximately 2:50 a.m., according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol. Also injured in the accident were two of Griffin’s former U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team teammates, Chefik Simo and Josh Villalobos, and one of their teammates at Furman University, Sean Murray. The four players were returning to Furman University from Charlotte, N.C. Simo underwent surgery on Friday and is currently listed in stable condition at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center. Murray and Villalobos were treated for non-life threatening injuries and have been released from the hospital. Griffin, a native of Huntersville, N.C., served as one of the U.S. Under-17s co-captains in 2000 and 2001. He appeared in 77 matches across two years, and played every minute of the 2001 FIFA Under-17 World Championship. A two-time Parade All-American, Griffin spent almost two full years in U.S. Soccer’s Full-Time Residency Program.
GRAY GRIFFIN MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP FUND BEING CREATED BY FURMAN UNIVERSITY: A scholarship fund is being created by Furman University in honor of Gray Griffin, who died last Friday morning in an auto accident. The University will start an endowed scholarship as a memorial to the freshman soccer player, who was a co-captain of the U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team in 2000-2001. Donations for the scholarship fund should be sent to the attention of Furman Athletic Director Gary Clark at:
Attn: Gray Griffin Memorial Scholarship
3300 Poinsett Highway
Greenville, SC 29613
Furman University has scheduled a memorial service for Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. in the Daniel Chapel on Furman's campus. The team attended funeral services for Griffin Monday morning in Griffin's hometown of Huntersville, N.C.
U.S. UNDER-17s TRAVEL TO FT. LAUDERDALE FOR FOUR GAMES THIS WEEKEND: All 30 members of the U.S. full-time residency program will make the trek Southeast to Fort Lauderdale this weekend, where the U.S. Under-17 MNT will play four games across two days against club teams from West Kendall and Plantation. The teams are scheduled to play at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday at the Sunrise Hilton soccer field. The U.S. team has posted a 22-13-8 record in 2002, and are led offensively by Freddy Adu (12 goals, 5 assists), Corey Ashe (8 g, 7 a), Guillermo Gonzalez (17 g, 7 a) and John DiRaimondo (10 g, 3 a).
– AROUND THE SOCCER WORLD –
BOGICEVIC, HIGGINS & BACHMEIER INDUCTED TO NATIONAL SOCCER HALL OF FAME: Three soccer legends were inducted this weekend into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, N.Y. Shannon Higgins was inducted for her international exploits as a playmaker on the inaugural U.S. Women's World Cup champions, and as a four-time NCAA champion at North Carolina. Former Yugoslavian midfielder Vladislav Bogicevic was the hub of some of the New York Cosmos' greatest teams, and perhaps the most outstanding midfielder in the North American Soccer League's history. Adolph Bachmeier was a Veterans Committee inductee for his exploits as a player who starred for Chicago-area teams and the U.S. National Team at several levels in the 1950's and 60's. The induction culminated three days of activities in Oneonta, which included a player clinic and exhibition match between the WUSA's Boston Breakers and Philadelphia Charge.
U.S. SUPREME COURT DECLINES MLS PLAYER LAWSUIT APPEAL: The United States Supreme Court has declined to hear the plaintiff's appeal in Fraser v. Major League Soccer. Prior courts, including a jury trial in Massachusetts and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, affirmed the summary judgment and jury verdict in favor of Major League Soccer and the United States Soccer Federation in the MLS player lawsuit. "As I have stated throughout this process, Major League Soccer is pleased that these seven years of litigation are now behind us," said Garber. "We are excited to concentrate on the tasks at hand, the foremost of which is working with our players and focusing on the continued development of professional soccer in the United States."
MLS ANNOUNCES FIRST TWO SERIES OF 2002 YEAR-END AWARDS: With MLS Cup 2002 coming this weekend, the league unveiled the first two series of 2002 year-end awards earlier this week. The Colorado Rapids and the Kansas City Wizards won the individual and team Fair Play awards, respectively. It marked the second time in the league's seven-year history that Chung and the Wizards have received the award. MetroStars defender Steve Jolley won Humanitarian of the Year for his contributions to the community through the Just Jolley Foundation, a charitable organization that raised over $18,000 for a variety of important causes. K.C. midfielder Chris Klein took Comeback Player of the Year honors after recovering from an off-season ACL tear to help lead the Wizards to the playoffs. In just his third year in MLS, Chicago’s Carlos Bocanegra became the youngest player ever to win Defender of the Year. San Jose’s Joe Cannon got the nod as the league’s Goalkeeper of the Year after posting a 1.10 goal against average and leading the league with eight shutouts and 13 wins.
USL TO ANNOUNCE CREATION OF HALL OF FAME AT 2002 ANNUAL MEETING: The 2002 AOM will feature the establishment of a USL Hall of Fame, celebrating the longevity of USL and the people and franchises who have helped the league grow since its founding as a five-team indoor league in the Southwest in 1986. The initial class of inductees will be comprised of Builders, Clubs, Coaches and Players categories. Candidates will be elected based on their abilities, sportsmanship, character and contribution to their organization, USL and to the sport in general. Nearly a dozen Builders and Clubs each will be recognized in the Inaugural Class for their 10-plus years of service, dedication and support to USL. The Inaugural Class of Players and Coaches, to be elected and inducted by USL Hall of Fame Founder Francisco Marcos, will emphasize personal achievements accomplished during and beyond their USL tenure. Following the Inaugural Class of inductions into the Hall of Fame, an Election Committee will be established to nominate and vote on further classes. The Election Committee will be comprised, in part, by those inducted in the Inaugural Class.
GOAL LINE REFEREES TO WORK 2003 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP AND CONFEDERATIONS CUP: FIFA has announced that during the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2003 Women's World Cup, a pilot program will be instituted to test the use of extra assistant referees behind the goal lines. The idea was previously put forth former French international and FIFA executive committee member Michel Platini in March.
U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT
PEAK PERFORMER: New England goalkeeper Adin Brown came up big down the final stretch of the regular season and even more so in the Revs’ semifinal series versus the Columbus Crew. The 6'5" bohemoth made a total of 22 saves (including 10 in the third and deciding game) and allowed just two goals in three games against the likes of potent forwards Brian McBride, Jeff Cunningham and Edson Buddle to help deliver the Stars & Stripes to MLS Cup 2002.
MARQUEE MATCH-UP: Will Los Angeles fall yet again as the favored team in the MLS Cup, cementing their place in history as the Buffalo Bills of soccer? Will New England benefit enough from its home-field advantage to complete its remarkable roller coaster season by capturing the Cup? It all goes down on Sunday! Sunday!! Sunday!!! The 2002 MLS Cup, live on ABC at 1:30 p.m. ET at the Razor!!!
SOCCER SHOCKER: First, it was shocking that the Revs even found their way into the playoffs by rattling off a 6-0-1 record in their final seven games. Then it was a surprise that they advanced past two-time MLS Cup finalist Chicago in the quarterfinals. This is the same team looked loaded before the season began, but woefully underachieved and fired its coach mid-season. To think that now they’ve got a home crowd behind them and are a fluke goal away from holding MLS hardware is a bit of a shock. But along the way, they’ve made this one of the most exciting conclusions to a regular season and, in turn, post-season.
"I don't watch much ESPN. Unless they have soccer on."
- Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger (from the Washington Post)