This will mark the fourth time that the U.S. Soccer Federation has sent the U.S. Women's National Team into a residency training camp environment in preparation for a world championship tournament. The USA conducted residency camps prior to the 1995 Women's World Cup, the 1996 Olympics and the 1999 Women's World Cup, but all three were based at the Seminole County Sports Training Center outside of Orlando, Fla. This will be the USA's first residency camp on the West Coast, putting the team in closer proximity to Australia, where they will travel twice in the next seven months.
Heinrichs will invite 25-30 players to the residency camp, as the U.S. team will be based at the five-year-old Olympic Training Center, nestled near the California-Mexico border in southern San Diego County. Due to the busy travel and competition schedule for the U.S. team through the six months leading up to the Olympics, the USA will train in Chula Vista in separate blocks from April to June totaling approximately five to six weeks.
The U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista features four world-class soccer fields as well as two buildings dedicated solely to U.S. Soccer, one as a team room and one for office space. All of U.S. Soccer's national teams have utilized the OTC while the U.S. Men's Under-20 National Team conducted its residency camp there prior to participating in the 1997 FIFA World Youth Championships in Malaysia.
"We value the tremendous relationship that the USOC has always had with all our national teams," said U.S. Women's National Team General Manager Brian Fleming. "The USOC has made the transition into our next residency camp a smooth one and has given us a great tool to help us compete for another gold medal. Combine that with the consistent weather, beautiful fields, proximity to airports, and the availability of competition for scrimmages in Southern California, it made Chula Vista an ideal place to bring the team."
The U.S. women have conducted numerous camps at the OTC since it opened in 1995. The training center has also supported almost all of the USA's up-and-coming women's soccer talent by hosting many training camps for the Under-14, Under-16, Under-18 and Under-21 Women's National Teams.
"I'm ecstatic about the opportunity to train the USA in Chula Vista," said Heinrichs. "It's a world class facility to train world class athletes. The weather is perfect year round and it provides the players an environment where they can really focus on the game of soccer, on beautiful fields and with a great support staff in every area of the center."
As the USA will be traveling and playing in tournaments for almost all of July and August before departing for Sydney, Australia in early September, the residency camp program will run only until the end of June, a much shorter time-span than the six-month camps of the past.
"I'm quite confident that the U.S. Olympic Training Center is the best choice for the Women's Soccer Olympic residency camp, as day-in and day-out we focus on providing 'gold medal' support and services to all our U.S. athletes," said OTC Director Pat Milkovich. "While the OTC in Chula Vista is known for its excellent weather, exceptional venues and quality services, we have a tremendously supportive local community that has provided additional resources to enhance the overall endeavor."