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U.S. WNT LOOKING TO FINISH ATOP DIFFICULT GROUP B; WOMEN???S NIKE FRIENDLIES KICK OFF THIS WEEK


USA TO FINISH GROUP B AGAINST NIGERIA AT 2007 FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: The U.S. Women’s World Cup Team heads into its final match in Group B at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup with four points off two of the best teams in the tournament in its first two matches. The USA faces Nigeria on Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. local (7:55 a.m. ET on ESPN) needing a win or a tie to advance to the quarterfinals. As the USA is knotted with North Korea atop the group – both teams have four points, four goals scored and two allowed – the group title is still up for grabs. The North Korea-Sweden game will be played in Tianjin at the Olympic Center Stadium simultaneously with the U.S. game. In perhaps the most competitive Women’s World Cup ever, where only Brazil won its first two games, the USA is looking to emerge from the tournament’s most difficult Group B in first place. If two teams are tied on points, goal difference (goals scored minus goals allowed) is the first tie-breaker, followed by most goals scored. If the USA and North Korea post the same score line in victories or ties on Tuesday, they would be knotted on every tie-breaker and the group would then be determined by Fair Play points, in layman’s terms, who has less yellow cards (and/or red cards). The USA currently has one yellow card. North Korea has two.

U.S. 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup Schedule
Date Opponent Venue Kickoff TV
Sept. 11 North Korea Chengdu (Chengdu Sports Center Stadium) 2-2 T
Sept. 14 Sweden Chengdu (Chengdu Sports Center Stadium) 2-0 W
Sept. 18 Nigeria Shanghai (Shanghai Hongkou Football Stadium) 8 p.m. local / 8 a.m. ET ESPN
Sept. 22 Quarterfinals* Wuhan or Tianjin 5 p.m. local or 8 p.m. local ESPN2
Sept. 26/27 Semifinals* Tianjin or Hangzhou 8 p.m. local / 8 a.m. ET ESPN2
Sept. 30 Final* Shanghai (Shanghai Hongkou Football Stadium) 8 p.m. local / 8 a.m. ET ESPN2
* If Necessary
Complete Schedule

STUDIO 90: CHINA ‘07 IS ONLINE: You can check out “Studio 90: China ’07” on ussoccer.com as the popular web show is rolling in China. Check out the latest episode that includes a Nigeria game preview as well as an interview with U.S. midfielder Leslie Osborne and a special feature on the USA’s Hawaiian forward Natasha Kai. Stay tuned to ussoccer.com for “Studio 90: News” briefings and all_access updates.

U.S. WNT TO PLAY THREE-GAME SERIES VS. MEXICO AFTER WORLD CUP: Following a previously announced match against Mexico in St. Louis on Oct. 13 (tickets), the U.S. women will play on Oct. 17 in Portland, Ore., with a 7 p.m. PT kickoff at PGE Park before wrapping up the three-game series vs. Mexico in Albuquerque on Oct. 20 at 4:30 p.m. MT. The games will feature the U.S. Women’s World Cup team currently competing in China. For the game in Portland, tickets starting at $20 are now on sale at ussoccer.com, by phone at 503-224-4400, and at all Portland-area Ticketmaster ticket centers (including Fred Meyer and Joe’s Sports, Outdoor & More). For the match in Albuquerque, tickets starting at $18 are now on sale at ussoccer.com, by calling 505-925-5858 or 1-877-664-8661 (toll free), by visiting any University of New Mexico ticket outlet (including select Albertson’s), and at the UNM Ticket Offices at The Pit and the UNM Bookstore. Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form for either game at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290.

– YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

WOMEN’S NIKE FRIENDLIES TO KICK OFF THIS WEEK; SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED: The U.S. Under-14 and Under-15 Girl’s National Teams will participate in the second annual Women’s Nike Friendlies, which takes place from Sept. 19-23 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The Under-14 squad, all born in 1993, will match up against the top Under-16 club teams from all over the country, while the Under-15 team will be pitted against the nation’s best Under-17 clubs. Under-15 head coach Tad Bobak named a 23-player roster for the friendlies last week, and will also be watching the U-14 GNT in their first-ever competitive matches to get an early start on picking next year’s player pool. For a complete schedule and full coverage of the Women’s Nike Friendlies, fan can check in at ussoccer.com.

U.S. U-15 GNT Women's Nike Friendlies Roster
GOALKEEPERS: Erin Dees (Downers Grove, Ill.), Nichole Downing (Carlsbad, Calif.), Makenna Henry (Fountain Valley, Calif.), Emily Oliver (Flossmoor, Ill.), Anna Sieloff (Troy, Mich.)
DEFENDERS: Mackenzie Akerfelds (Littleton, Colo.), Mia Bruno (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.), Briana Hovington (Lothian, Md.), Megan Oyster (Naperville, Ill.), Mollie Pathman (Durham, N.C.), Catherine Sessions (Woodbury, Minn.), Carrie Whigman (Phoenix, Ariz.)
MIDFIELDERS: Michelle Cruz (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Kylie Facinelli (Del Mar, Calif.), Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick (Pleasonton, Ore.), Kaitlyn Kerr (Bensalem, Pa.), Natalia Ledezma (La Mirada, Calif.), Samantha Mewis (Hanson, Mass.), Zuri Walker (San Diego, Calif.)
FORWARDS: Kaley Blades (Largo, Fla.), Maya Hayes (West Orange, N.J.), Devin Marshall (Bonita, Calif.), Kealia Ohai (Draper, Utah)

U.S. U-14 GNT Women's Nike Friendlies Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Bryane Heaberlin (St. Petersburg, Fla.), Megan Kufeld (Fremont, Calif.), Molly Polleto (Englewood, Colo.);
DEFENDERS (5): Katy Colas (Vienna, Va.), Haley Cooper (Palatine, Ill.), Michaela Cowgill (Portsmouth, N.H.), Casey Morrison (York, Pa.), Brittany Von Rueden (Mequon, Wis.);
MIDFIELDERS (11): Kristi Abbatte (Northport, N.Y.), Morgan Brian (St. Simons Island, Ga.), Alexandra Doll (Bethesda, Md.), Jennifer Gonzalez (Alta Loma, Calif.), Stephanie Hepfer (Cedar Park, Texas), Lo’eau LaBonta (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Indiana Mead (Boulder City, Nev.), Sarah Molina (Rocky River, Ohio), Vania Robles (Arcadia, Calif.), Haley Rosen (Palos Verdes, Calif.), Olivia Schultz (Hopkins, Minn.);
FORWARDS (5): Shea Groom (Liberty, Mo.), Whitney Jaynes (Plano, Tex.), Cate Parchinski (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Shelby Payne (Lutz, Fla.), Sydney Payne (Lutz, Fla.)

U.S. SOCCER DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY INAUGURAL FALL SHOWCASE WEEKEND NOW THREE WEEKS AWAY: U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy, the innovative new program designed to revolutionize elite youth player development, is set to debut competition with the inaugural Fall Showcase Weekend from Oct. 6-8 at the National Training Center in Carson, Calif. Forty teams from 20 elite clubs will participate in the three-day event, which includes teams at the U-16 and U-18 age groups. The premier match takes place the evening of Saturday, Oct. 7, when the U.S. Youth National Team takes on the Chivas USA U-18 Academy Team on the Mooch Myernick Field at The Home Depot Center. A full schedule of matches will be available later this week. A total of 40 matches will be played during the weekend showcase, which is expected to draw a host of college coaches and scouts from Southern California and beyond. Additionally, national staff coaches will use the Fall Showcase to identify players for places in upcoming national team camps.

U.S. Soccer Development Academy Fall Showcase Clubs
AFC Lightning (Fayetteville, Ga.), Atlanta Fire United (Duluth, Ga.), Birmingham United (Birmingham, Ala.) Bridge FA (Charleston, S.C.), Chivas USA (Carson, Calif.), Clearwater Chargers (Clearwater, Fla.), Concorde Fire SC (Marietta, Ga.), Crossfire Premier (Redmond, Wash.), De Anza SC (Sunnyvale, Calif.), IMG Soccer Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), Miami FC Kendall (Miami, Fla.), Mustang SC (Danville, Calif.), Nomads SC (San Diego, Calif.), Richmond Strikers (Glen Allen, Va.), Richmond Kickers (Glen Allen), Schulz Academy (Boca Raton, Fla.), Surf SC (Carlsbad, Calif.), U.S. YNT (Bradenton, Fla.), Virginia Rush (Virginia Beach, Va.), Washington Premier (Tacoma, Wash.)

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

NOMINATIONS BEING ACCEPTED FOR U.S. SOCCER’S PRESTIGIOUS 2008 WERNER FRICKER BUILDER AWARD: Nominations are now being accepted for the 2008 U.S. Soccer Werner Fricker Builder Award, which is presented annually to an individual or individuals who have worked tirelessly in furthering the interest of the sport of soccer, without regard to personal recognition or advancement. The award was created in 2002 and is the greatest recognition bestowed by U.S. Soccer on its membership. “To receive the Werner Fricker Builder Award is truly a prestigious honor. It is a distinction that helps personify a man whose dedication to the growth of soccer in the United States was unrivaled,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, the 2003 recipient of the award. The award is designed to honor those who have created or fostered programs that will outlast their own active involvement in the sport and that establish a lasting legacy in the history and structure of soccer in the United States. Interested persons can nominate individuals for the annual Werner Fricker Builder Award by downloading the form at ussoccer.com and mailing it to U.S. Soccer, c/o the Werner Fricker Builder Award Committee, 1801 S. Prairie Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616 or emailing it to wernerfrickeraward@ussoccer.org. This form is also available at ussoccer.com, and applications must be postmarked or sent by January 1, 2008.

DALLAS, NEW ENGLAND ADVANCE TO 2007 LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP FINAL: The 2007 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship will feature two Major League Soccer clubs after the New England Revolution and FC Dallas advanced to the finals with overtime victories on Sept. 4. Both clubs overcame spirited opposition from United Soccer League First Division teams in a tournament which saw five of the final eight teams represented by the lower divisions of the professional game in the United States. The final between the two teams is slated for Oct. 3 at 8 p.m. ET at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas, in a match that will be televised live on Fox Soccer Channel. In New Britain, Conn., the New England Revolution downed the USL's expansion Carolina Railhawks, 2-1, in overtime on a goal by Pat Noonan in the 93rd minute. In Seattle, the perennially strong Sounders and FC Dallas battled into overtime at 0-0, before watching the MLS side score twice and eventually win 2-1 in Washington. Dallas was led by Carlos Ruiz and Abe Thompson, each scoring in overtime to lift the franchise into their second U.S. Open Cup final.

2007 LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP

Championship
No. Date Teams Venue; Location Time Television
39 Oct. 3 New England Revolution (MLS) at FC Dallas (MLS) Pizza Hut Park; Frisco, Texas 7 p.m. CT Fox Soccer Channel

U.S. SOCCER'S REFEREE BLOG OFFERS FIRST-HAND ACCOUNT OF REFEREE PREPARATION: "Official Take," the official blog of U.S. Soccer's referees, is currently in China at the FIFA Women's World Cup, where U.S. referees Kari Seitz and Jennifer Bennett are on assignment and reporting on all the latest activity. Seitz and Bennett are keeping both the referee community and soccer fans up-to-date on all the preparations for the FIFA Women's World Cup. From fitness testing to the emotion of learning their assignments, the "Official Take" referee blog is a unique look at officiating from an inside perspective. "Official Take" also highlights the latest information on position papers, bulletins and other information coming from the U.S. Soccer Referee Department. Fans are also encouraged to offer feedback and comment at "Official Take."

COACHING SYMPOSIUM TO BE HELD FROM SEPT. 20-23: U.S. Soccer’s Coaching Department will host the second annual Women’s Nike Friendlies Coaching Symposium in conjunction with the 2007 Women’s Nike Friendlies from Sept. 20-23 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The symposium includes nightly presentations on Sept. 20 and 21, as well as a match analysis on Sept. 22 at The Home Depot Center. The Coaching Symposium will be led by U.S. Soccer National Staff Coaches Mike Dickey, Jeff Pill and David Rubinson and will feature former Women’s National Team player and current UCLA assistant coach Shannon MacMillan, former professional player and current Univ. of Maryland assistant coach Laurie Pells, and California South Youth Soccer Association Director of Coaching Steve Hoffman. The topics will range from integrating the goalkeeper into training to the attacking and defending principles in a 4-3-3 formation. Registration is open to all coaches. There is no fee to attend any of the symposium sessions and participating coaches will have the opportunity to watch the 2007 Women’s Nike Friendlies.

REGION II C LICENSE RETESTING SET FOR NOVEMBER: Candidates who received a “Not Ready” in a previously completed “C” License Course have the opportunity to retest their “Not-Ready” component at a U.S. Soccer hosted regional test site. Once a “Pass” grade is received for each component, then the candidate will receive a U.S. Soccer National “C” License. Retesting will take place on Nov. 9-10 at the Mockingbird Soccer Club in Louisville, Ky. Interested coaches should send their completed forms via email to coaches@ussoccer.org or via fax to 312-808-9708.

U.S. SOCCER FOUNDATION GRANTS PROGRAM OPEN FOR 2008: The 2008 Annual Grants Program for the U.S. Soccer Foundation, the major charitable arm of soccer in the United States, is now available online at ussoccerfoundation.org. Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. ET on Monday, October 15. Applications can be submitted for: a Program Grant to support the development of players, coaches or referees; a Field Enhancement Grant to improve a field with new goals, irrigation or lighting; or an All Conditions Fields Grant to help build a synthetic grass field. More information about the grant making program, as well as Frequently Asked Questions are available at www.ussoccerfoundation.org.

*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: U.S. forward Abby Wambach’s two-goals against Sweden were the 79th and 80th in her 95 National Team appearances. With three goals in two games, Abby Wambach now has six career Women’s World Cup goals, leaving her just one shy of tying Kristine Lilly and Tiffeny Milbrett for third on the all-time U.S. scoring list in Women’s World Cup matches.

SOCCER SHOCKER: Last Wednesday in EURO 2008 Qualifying, Scotland earned what was possibly the greatest victory in their history with a 1-0 win over France in Paris, and moved to the top of their qualifying group, from which two teams will advance. With three matches to play, Scotland has pushed the No. 4 ranked French into third place in the group behind World Cup Champion Italy, and in danger of not advancing.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: The U.S. Women’s National Team continues their 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign against Nigeria on Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 8 a.m. ET (8 p.m. local time) live on ESPN. The U.S. will be looking to win their third FIFA Women’s World Cup.

QUOTABLE: ”It's one of those goals as a forward that you want to say, 'yea, I meant to do that, to put it exactly where it went' but you know, in this situation, I just hit it as hard as I could and it went in."
-U.S. forward Abby Wambach on her second-half strike against Sweden

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