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U.S. Cerebral Palsy Soccer Team Places Sixth at World Games, Wins Fair Play Award

NOTTINGHAM, England (Monday, July 30, 2001) - The 12-member United States Cerebral Palsy Soccer Team completed play at the Cerebral Palsy International Sport and Recreation Association (CP-ISRA) World Games in Nottingham, England, with a 1-0 loss to Australia yesterday in a match to decide fifth and sixth place in the 14-team tournament. In addition to their sixth-place finish, the U.S. picked up the tournament's Fair Play Award as the only team in the competition to not be whistled for a single yellow or red card.

After a hard fought match in the blazing sun on Sunday, Australia slipped a goal in behind the USA defense in the second to last minute of the game to steal fifth place in the tournament. The U.S. had played strong for the entire match, with Josh McKinney, Jon McCullough and Eli Wolff each hitting shots off the post or crossbar but failing to find the back of the net.

In earning the Fair Play Award, Bob Fischer, the Manager of Football for CP-ISRA said, "When the award was discussed, USA were the unanimous choice. They had earned the respect of referees, match officials and the other teams."

As a result of their strong finish, the U.S. have received formal invitations to upcoming tournaments in Iran (October 2001) and Russia (May 2002).

After advancing out the first round after a 0-0 tie with Portugal (on July 22) and 2-0 loss to a powerful Iranian team (on July 24), the U.S. team dropped consecutive games to the Ukraine and Brazil, before rebounding on Friday against Holland. Against the Ukraine on Tuesday, the U.S. faced a tough opponent and failed to score in a 5-0 defeat.

On Thursday the U.S. took the field against Brazil, and actually grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second half before watchign the talented Brazilians rally for a 3-1 win. The lone U.S. goal came when after Eli Wolff took a pass down the right wing behind the Brazilian defense and slipped a ball into the middle of the field to Josh McKinney who eluded his defender and smashed a shot into the back of the net. The U.S. has not beaten Brazil since the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games, losing to the them in the 1998 World Championships and the 1999 Pan American Games.

Final Ranking of the Top 8

  1. Ukraine
  2. Russia
  3. Brazil
  4. Iran
  5. Australia
  6. USA
  7. England
  8. Netherlands