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U.S. WNT Olympic Qualifying Notes - Feb. 26, 2004

After an 11-day training period and a physically tough match against Trinidad & Tobago last Wednesday to open the CONCACAF Final Round Olympic Qualifying, U.S. head coach April Heinrichs gave the team Thursday off from training.  While the field at Estadio Nacional had a bit better surface than the field the U.S. has been training on, it was not much, if any softer, and the U.S. team used the off day to refresh their legs with a workout in the swimming pool.  The end of the light workout included a four-team synchronized swimming contest where each team made up short, but dramatic routines, several of which included intricate "deck work" before jumping into the pool.  While the quickly choreographed routines (during which all swimmers were allowed to stand in the shallow end of the pool) made it clear why no members of U.S. team pursued a career in synchronized swimming, the team of Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Christie Rampone, Kate Markgraf and Shannon MacMillan took the title in a hotly contested competition.  A highlight of the afternoon was Mia Hamm throwing head coach April Heinrichs in the pool to celebrate the coach's 40th birthday, which is tomorrow.

The U.S. Women's National Team has faced Haiti just once in its history, that coming almost 13 years ago on April 25, 1991 in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, in qualifying for the 1991 FIFA Women's World Cup.  The USA won 10-0 as current members of the U.S. team or coaching staff accounted for six of the goals, one by Joy Fawcett (then Joy Biefeld before she was married), one by Kristine Lilly and two each by assistant coach Tracey Leone (then Tracey Bates before she was married) and head coach April Heinrichs.  Leone's goals accounted for two of her five career scores.  Haiti brings a young and inexperienced team to Costa Rica, two qualities that will not bode well against a highly experienced American side coming off a 7-0 trouncing of Trinidad & Tobago.  Haiti hung tough with Mexico in its first game, but eventually succumbed 5-0, and will be hard-pressed to limit a U.S. team whose attack seems to be clicking.  A win by the USA will virtually guarantee a spot in the semifinals (the top two teams in each group go through), with the winner of both semifinals earning a berth to the Athens 2004 Olympics.  The match vs. Haiti kicks off at 8 p.m. CT and can be followed live on's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.


As much as the U.S. players travel, they miss numerous birthdays, anniversaries and weddings, and thus must be creative in making sure their loved ones know they are not forgotten.  With many of the married players' husbands experiencing a sort of 21st century role reversal - the woman is on the road and the man stays at home - U.S. defender Christie Rampone wanted to make sure she celebrated her husband Chris' birthday in style.  Before Rampone left for Costa Rica, she strategically hid notes around the house, then on the morning of her husband's birthday (Feb. 23), called him and gave him the location of the first note, which took him on an adventure around the house from the basement, to computer room, to the kitchen and then for the grand finale, to the shed in the backyard.  When Mr. Rampone pulled opened the shed, he found his birthday present -- a brand new, all black riding mower with a 42-inch cutting deck and a five-speed transmission.  This baby has a fully enclosed hood, dual independent steering with 15-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels, a step-through design, a 24-inch turning radius and a 9-bushel triple rear bagger.  And oh yeah…don't forget the beverage holder.  It also features snow-blowing capability for those cold New Jersey winters.  The sweet machine will come in handy mowing the Rampone's new backyard, which features 1.5 acres of lush, uncut grass.  Happy Birthday Chris…and get to work. 

It was a bit scary, and certainly bloody, but U.S. midfielder Leslie Osborne is fine after suffering a gash high on her forehead when she banged heads with a T&T player after winning a header.  Osborne left the field under her own power, U.S. team doctor Sandy Glasson stitched up the two-inch cut in the locker room and Osborne returned to finish the game.  Don't think that the cut will hinder Osborne's game, however, as this is the third time she has suffered a head wound in the last eight months, cutting the other side of her forehead against UCLA during her college season and suffering a gash on the top of her head while playing for the U.S. U-21s before the 2003 Nordic Cup.    

Aly Wagner and Lindsay Tarpley, who both played in the U.S. Women's first match of the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying against Trinidad & Tobago, are both featured in the February edition of U.S. Soccer's Center Circle. Tarpley gives us a peek into her likes and dislikes as she picks one of three choices for 25 questions about personal tastes and pop culture in "In 3's," while resident U.S. Soccer movie critic Wagner sizes up the nominees for the top six awards in this special Oscars installment of “Aly at the Movies.”

"In 3's" -- /articles/viewArticle.jsp_54142.html

"Aly at the Movies" -- /articles/viewArticle.jsp_54132.html


"That stuff works.  It's like wearing a liquid t-shirt."

        -- U.S. goalkeeper Siri Mullinix on the SPF 70 sunscreen that has become popular with the U.S. team and staff to ward off the blistering sun of Costa Rica.