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U.S. Soccer Wire - December 4, 2006


Online Voting Begins For Annual "Best of U.S. Soccer" And
"Athlete of the Year" Awards;
U.S. WNT To Kick Off 2007 Home Schedule on April 14 in Boston

FANS CAN VOTE NOW FOR THE “BEST OF U.S. SOCCER” AWARDS:  U.S. Soccer has announced the finalists for the 2006 “Best of U.S. Soccer” awards and fans can vote now for their favorites at ussoccer.com. The fifth annual series, presented by Soccer America, the No. 1 soccer magazine in the United States, allows fans the opportunity to make their selections for the best in soccer in the United States. Fans can vote once a day from now until Wednesday, Dec. 20, through a sharp multimedia voter interface on ussoccer.com. The 2006 “Best of U.S. Soccer” awards will be decided entirely by online fan votes submitted over the next three weeks, and shortly after the winners will be announced. As with last year, fans across the country were called on to nominate finalists for the Best Bar, Best Store and Best all_access video awards and the most popular choices became finalists. Fans also sent in their own photographs for the newest category, Best Fan Photo from the World Cup, and the top 10 nominees were chosen. This year, the “Best of” awards include two Best Goal categories. The annual Best Goal, presented by Sierra Mist, returns, while a special addition for 2006 is the Best Kristine Lilly Goal. The U.S. Women’s National Team captain simply scored too many sensational goals, necessitating the creation of a whole new category just for her. VOTE NOW!

2006 “Best of U.S. Soccer” Awards
Categories
Best Bar
Best Store
Best Goal presented by Sierra Mist
Best Kristine Lilly Goal
Best Performance (Player)
Best Performance (Team)
Best all_access Video
Best Action Photo
Best U.S. Fan Photo from the World Cup
Best Look/Style
Best Atmosphere


Launch the voting interface  |  Complete list of nominees

FINALISTS NAMED FOR 2006 U.S. SOCCER ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AWARDS: The finalists for each of the four prestigious U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year Awards – Male, Female, Young Male and Young Female – have been announced by the sport’s governing body in the United States. Fans can vote now for the high profile annual U.S. Soccer awards through a multimedia voter interface once a day through Wednesday, Dec. 20. The U.S. Soccer Male and Female Athletes of the Year Awards are the oldest and most prestigious awards of their kind, dating back to 1984 for the men and 1985 for the women, while the Young Male and Young Female awards were added in 1998. The finalists for each award were nominated on the basis of: a) competing and excelling at the highest level (both at the national team and professional level) during the calendar year; b) exhibiting decorum on and off the field that reflects well on U.S. Soccer; and c) contributing toward the growth, development, credibility and popularization of soccer in the USA. Online votes for the annual award will be tallied and equivalent to 50 percent of the total votes. As in years past, the other 50 percent will be represented by 100 votes compiled from members of the national media and U.S. Soccer representatives (from national team coaches to the National Board of Directors). VOTE NOW!

U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year Candidates
Abby Wambach, Forward
Kristine Lilly, Forward
Cat Whitehill, Defender
Hope Solo, Goalkeeper
Leslie Osborne, Midfielder

U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year Candidates
Clint Dempsey, Midfielder
Bobby Convey, Midfielder
Brian McBride, Forward
Kasey Keller, Goalkeeper
Oguchi Onyewu, Defender

Youth Female Athlete of the Year Candidates
Danesha Adams, Forward
Val Henderson, Goalkeeper
Stephanie Lopez, Defender
Amanda Poach, Midfielder
Amy Rodriguez, Forward

U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year Candidates
Josmer Altidore, Forward
Quavas Kirk, Midfielder
Johann Smith, Forward
Nathan Sturgis, Defender
Preston Zimmerman, Forward


Launch the voting interface  |  Complete list of nominees

U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM TO OPEN 2007 DOMESTIC SCHEDULE IN BOSTON: The U.S. Women’s National Team will play its first domestic match of 2007 during the run up to the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup on Saturday, April 14, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The U.S. team will play the first match of a doubleheader that also features the home opener of the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer against expansion club Toronto FC. The opponent, kickoff time and TV network for the U.S. women’s game are all TBD, but the Americans do know they will be playing their first match in the Boston area since the historic 1-0 win against Norway on October 1, 2003, during the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinals at Gillette Stadium. Abby Wambach scored the USA’s loan goal on a header in front of more than 20,000 fans.

SIX VENUES NAMED FOR 2007 CONCACAF GOLD CUP: CONCACAF announced the six venues that will host the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup from June 6-24. The 12-nation tournament will kick off the group stages at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., the Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla., and The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The groups will finish play at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., and Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, with the semifinal and final matches being hosted by Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill. All matches, except for the final, will be double headers. Game dates will be announced early next year and the full tournament schedule will be announced in March 2007 after the conclusion of Central American and Caribbean qualifying. The 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup champion will represent CONCACAF at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa.

2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup Venues
Giants Stadium (E. Rutherford, N.J.)
Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
Orange Bowl (Miami, Fla.)
Reliant Stadium (Houston, Texas)
Soldier Field (Chicago, Ill.)
The Home Depot (Carson, Calif.)


U.S. MNT TO KICK OFF 2007 AGAINST DENMARK: The U.S. Men’s National Team will play its first match of 2007 against Denmark on Saturday, Jan. 20, at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., at 2 p.m. PT. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and tape delayed at 9 p.m. PT (12 a.m. ET) on Galavision. Fans can also follow the game live via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. Tickets starting at $18 are now on sale at ussoccer.com, all Southern California Ticketmaster outlets (including Macy’s, Wherehouse Music and Ritmo Latino), The Home Depot Center ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), and by phone at 213-480-3232. Groups of 15 or more can purchase tickets by calling U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290 or obtaining a group order form at ussoccer.com. The U.S. and Denmark have met four times in their history, with the United States still in search of their first victory after posting a 0-1-3 record. The teams’ last meeting on Jan. 18, 2004, marked the first-ever visit by the U.S. MNT to The Home Depot Center. Despite out-shooting Denmark 16-4, the U.S. only collected a 1-1 draw after a pair of penalties on either side of halftime delivered each side their only goal of the match. The USA-Denmark clash will serve as the launching point for what promises to be a challenging schedule in 2007, as the USA seeks to defend its Gold Cup title when they join 11 other teams in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, which will take place from June 6-24 in several cities across the United States. The following week, the U.S. will compete in the 2007 Copa America, the regional championship of South America. The 12-team tournament will run from June 26-July 15 in nine cities in Venezuela.

U.S. SOCCER FOUNDATION AUCTION TO BENEFIT "MOOCH MYERNICK MEMORIAL FUND": The annual U.S. Soccer Foundation Holiday Auction is underway this year and available now at ussoccerfoundation.org/auction. This year's items include an autographed 2006 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Jersey, an autographed Dwayne DeRosario jersey, an autographed Manchester United Team jersey and an autographed Kaka jersey from the Brazilian National Team. Along with dozens of other items, the auction runs through Friday, Dec. 15. A hundred percent of every dollar contributed to the 2006 Holiday Auction will go to the "Mooch Myernick Memorial Fund" and will be distributed through grants by the Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Soccer Federation, to soccer clubs and organizations in urban areas to help increase the number of children playing the sport in metropolitan communities nationwide. The auction will also include authentic gear signed by members of the U.S. Men's and Women’s National Teams.

– YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

NOTRE DAME SWEEPS M.A.C. HERMANN AWARDS: The University of Notre Dame duo of sophomore forward Kerri Hanks and junior forward Joseph Lapira were named the winners of the 2006 Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy, presented annually to the top female and male players in NCAA Division I soccer. This marks the first time since the M.A.C. began awarding both a men’s and women’s award in 1991 that players from the same school have won the award in the same year. Hanks and Lapira share more in common than playing for the Fighting Irish. They each led the nation in goal scoring this season. The winners were decided by a vote of NCAA Division I soccer coaches who are current members of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). Hanks, who has extensive U.S. youth national team experience as a member of both the 2002 and 2004 U.S. U-19 squads that competed in the FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship, is the first sophomore to claim the top individual honor in women’s soccer. She scored for the USA against Brazil in the consolation match of the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship as the USA took third place with a 3-0 win. Hanks finished the season as the nation’s scoring leader in both goals and assists, notching an amazing 22 of each. She joins UNC great Mia Hamm as the only Division I players to lead in goals and assists in the same season. Hanks, who was selected as the Big East Conference Offensive Player of the Year, has racked up 137 career points (50 goals, 37 assists), totaling more points over the course of her first two seasons than all but two previous players in the 25-year history of Division I women’s soccer. Hanks becomes the third Notre Dame player to win the women’s award, joining Anne Makinen (2000) and Cindy Daws (1996). The first runner-up was full Women’s National Team player and University of North Carolina senior forward Heather O’Reilly, who got the better of Hanks and her Irish teammates in the NCAA Championship game on Sunday (Dec. 3), winning 2-1 to give head coach Anson Dorrance his 18th NCAA title. O’Reilly scored the first goal of the match and was named Offensive MVP of the NCAA College Cup. Lapira led all NCAA Division I men’s scorers in points with 50 goals and 22 assists as he became the first player in Notre Dame men’s soccer history to win college soccer’s top honor. This marks the second year in a row that a Louisiana native who led the nation in goal scoring has won the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy. The University of Maryland’s Jason Garey (Gonzalez, La.) won the award in 2005.

U-17 WNT HEADS TO ARGENTINA FOR THREE MATCHES: The U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team will finish up a busy year of activity for the U.S. girl’s and women’s youth teams with an 11-day trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina, from Dec. 8-18. Head coach Erica Walsh will take 18 players on the trip and play three matches, against the Argentina U-20 Women’s National Team (Dec. 13), against the senior Argentina Women’s National Team (Dec. 15) that recently won the South American Women’s Championships to qualify for the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and a final match against either the Argentina U-17s or a women’s club (Dec. 17).

U.S. U-17 WNT Argentina Schedule
Date        Opponent                    City
Dec. 13    Argentina U-20 WNT    Buenos Aires, Argentina
Dec. 15    Argentina WNT            Buenos Aires, Argentina
Dec. 17    TBD                           Buenos Aires, Argentina

U.S. U-17 WNT Argentina Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Wendy Balogun (Bowie, Md.), Bianca Henninger (Saratoga, Calif.);       
DEFENDERS (4): Lauren Barnes (Upland, Calif.), Hannah Cerrone (Wappingers Fall, N.Y.), Julie Lancos (Belford, N.J.), Ashley Rape (Dallas, Texas)     
MIDFIELDERS (8): Courtney Barg (Plano, Texas), Amanda DaCosta (Somers, N.Y.), Sinead Farrelly (Havertown, Pa.), Christine Nairn (Bowie, Md.), Teresa Noyola (Palo Alto, Calif.), Casey Short (Naperville, Ill.), Ella Stephan (Indian Harbour Beach, Fla.), Kylie Wright (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.),  
FORWARDS (4): Danielle Foxhoven (Littleton, Colo.), Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas), Merritt Mathias (Birmingham, Ala.), Elli Reed (Park City, Utah).


– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

2007 USYS ODP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED: US Youth Soccer’s elite will compete at the 2007 US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program National Championships to be played March 16-18 at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas. Boy’s and girl’s teams in the 1989 and 1991 age groups will play semifinal matches on Friday, March 16, beginning at 1 p.m., with championship and consolation matches to be played Sunday, March 18, beginning at 8 a.m. The teams competing have qualified by winning their respective age division at their US Youth Soccer ODP Regional Championships. Representatives from US Youth Soccer Region IV will be determined by Jan. 27 after their regional competition. To see the complete list of teams and schedule of events visit USYouthSoccer.org.

VENTURA COUNTY FUSION, SAN JOSE FROGS JOIN PDL FOR 2007: The San Jose Frogs will join the USL Premier Development League from the National Premier Soccer League, and the Ventura County Fusion will become the newest PDL franchise for the 2007 season. San Jose, which boasted a successful 12-4-4 season in the NPSL, will play a 16-game schedule in 2007, with home games at PAL Stadium in San Jose. Tryout information and game schedules will be available at sjfrogs.com. Ventura County Fusion will also begin play in 2007 at the Ventura College Sports Complex. Tryouts for the squad will be held on Dec. 15-17, Jan. 26-28 and Feb. 23-25.


*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER(S): U.S. WNT forward Heather O’Reilly and U.S. U-20 WNT forward Casey Nogueira pulled through for the University of North Carolina this past weekend, both scoring a goal in the semifinals and finals to win UNC’s 18th national title. UNC edged UCLA, 2-0, in the semifinals with a goal from Nogueira in the 84th minute and another from O’Reilly in the 86th minute. In the championship match against Notre Dame, Nogueira celebrated her first start by assisting on an O’Reilly goal in the 18th minute, then scoring one of her own in the 47th minute as North Carolina went on to win, 2-1.

MARQUEE MATCHUP(S): The reigning Champion’s League champ is in a bit of trouble heading into their final group game on Tuesday, Dec. 5. With one match left to go, Barcelona is in third place in Group A with eight points, two behind Chelsea and Werder Bremen. Their fate is in their own hands as they take on Werder Bremen in a must-win match, live at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2. No defending champion has ever failed to get out of group play.

SOCCER SHOCKER: Unranked heading into the NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament, UC Santa Barbara reversed a regular season loss to UCLA and won its first NCAA men’s soccer title with a 2-0 victory against its Southern California rival. It was just the second NCAA title in UCSB’s history. UCSB entered the match against the heavily favored Bruins having won just one game in 32 previous meetings between the schools, that coming 24 years ago. UCSB finished the season with an 18-7-0 record, including a perfect 6-0 mark in the NCAA Tournament and an 11-1-0 record since opening the season at 7-6-0. Santa Barbara, which out-shot UCLA, 15-11, got a third minute goal from Nick Perera and a 61st minute score from U.S. U-17 international Eric Avila. UCLA pulled a goal back with 12 minutes left through Jason Leopoldo, but it was too little, too late for the four-time NCAA champions as the upstart Gauchos pulled off one of the biggest wins in the school’s athletic history.

QUOTABLE: “The first idea was to give me a financial sanction, another one to gather all the balls after the training session, but when the Brazilian shirt idea came up they all lifted their hands. My teammates have a great sense of humor and they have asked me to do that, but they know it will be impossible.”
 -- Argentina and West Ham forward Carlos Tevez after his teammates voted for him to wear a Brazil jersey to training for a week as punishment for storming out of the stadium after being substituted against.

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