CREW GRABS THREE OF 10 INAUGURAL AWARDS, D.C. AREA HONORED TWICE: Last week U.S. Soccer announced the winners of the 10 inaugural awards that made up the 2002
“Best of U.S. Soccer” awards series. These first awards of their kind were introduced on Dec. 2 after U.S. head coaches Bruce Arena and April Heinrichs helped pick the finalists for each of the unique honors. The voting was done entirely by fans, with more than 45,000 votes being registered online at www.ussoccer.com during the month of December. The Columbus Crew grabbed three, including Best Stadium, while the D.C. area claimed Best U.S. Crowd and Best Soccer Bar. Following on the heels of the 2002 “Best of…” awards series, U.S. Soccer will announce the winners of the four annual Chevy Athlete of the Year awards – Male, Female, Young Male and Young Female – over the next two weeks. For the third straight year, fan votes (along with a media vote) will decide the winner, with online voting continuing through Wednesday.
2002 Best of U.S. Soccer Awards:
Best Soccer Bar: Summers Restaurant (Arlington, Va.)
Best Soccer Store: Soccer Unlimited (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Best Soccer Stadium: Columbus Crew Stadium
Best Soccer Fans: Fans Who Traveled to Korea
Best U.S. Crowd: RFK Stadium – May 12 – MNT 2, Uruguay 1
Best Place to Watch the World Cup from the U.S.: Your couch
Best In-Game Promotion: “Buck-a-Brat Night” -- Columbus Crew
Best U.S. Goal: Brian McBride vs. Portugal – June 5
Best Game Performance (Player): Brad Friedel vs. Korea – June 10
Best Game Performance (Team): MNT vs. Portugal – June 5
HEINRICHS NAMES YOUTHFUL ROSTER FOR JAN. 12 MATCH IN SAN DIEGO: U.S. Women’s National Team head coach April Heinrichs named the 26 players who will train in San Diego, Calif., with the hopes of making two rosters: the first to face Japan on Jan. 12 at Torero Stadium (1 p.m. PT on ESPN) and the second to travel to China for the prestigious Four Nations Tournament featuring the top four teams in the world. The U.S. team will arrive in San Diego on Thursday (Jan. 9), face Japan three days later, train for three more days and then depart for the Far East on Jan. 16. Tickets ranging in price from $20 to $35 are on sale now at all Southern California Ticketmaster outlets (including Robinson’s-May and Wherehouse Music), by phone at 619-220-8497 and online at www.ussoccer.com. The USA vs. Japan match will be the first of approximately 12 games the USA will play before the 2003 Women’s World Cup, which runs from September 23-October 11. The roster includes 20 WUSA professionals, five college players and one high school player, all looking to get, or keep, themselves in the running for a spot on the 2003 Women’s World Cup Team. The 26 players span several generations of U.S. women, with nine players having 80 or more caps and 15 with 33 or less caps (including nine players in single digits).
Goalkeepers (4): LaKeysia Beene, Siri Mullinix, Jaime Pagliarulo, Briana Scurry;
Defenders (9): Jenny Benson, Thori Bryan, Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett, Jena Kluegel, Heather Mitts, Christie Pearce, Cat Reddick, Kate Sobrero;
Midfielders (6): Kylie Bivens, Lorrie Fair, Devvyn Hawkins, Angela Hucles, Tiffany Roberts, Aly Wagner;
Forwards (7): Shannon MacMillan, Tiffeny Milbrett, Heather O’Reilly, Cindy Parlow, Lindsay Tarpley, Abby Wambach, Kelly Wilson.
U.S. WOMEN HEAD TO CHINA NEXT WEEK TO COMPETE IN FOUR NATIONS TOURNAMENT: The U.S. Women's National Team will travel to China next week for the Four Nations Tournament, which features the top four teams in the world as each nation gears up for the 2003 Women’s World Cup. The USA, Norway, Germany and Women’s World Cup host China will clash in a series of three doubleheaders in three Chinese cities in the three provinces in the southwest region of the country. The Four Nations Tournament begins on Jan. 23 in Yiwu, as China faces Germany and the USA takes on Norway. The teams will move to Women’s World Cup venue Wuhan for the Jan. 26 matches that feature Germany vs. Norway and the USA vs. China. The blockbuster tournament will finish on Jan. 29 in Shanghai, site of the 2003 Women’s World Cup Final, as the USA takes on Germany and China faces Norway.
– U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –
CURT ONALFO, PIERRE BARRIEU JOIN U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM STAFF: Bruce Arena has made two additions to the national team staff since the departure of long-time assistant Dave Sarachan. In addition to Glenn Myernick, Arena has selected former D.C. United defender and assistant coach Curt Onalfo to serve on the national team staff. Onalfo, 33, has served the past three seasons as assistant coach for United. In a nine-year professional career, Onalfo reached the MLS Cup final with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 1996, and was part of the United team that captured MLS Cup '99. The former University of Virginia standout served as co-captain of the 1992 Olympic Team in Barcelona. Pierre Barrieu joins the national team program as the strength and conditioning coach after filling that responsibility for the USA during the 2002 World Cup and the 2002 Gold Cup. Board certified and holding a Master's Degree in Sports Science from the University of Nancy in France, Barrieu has served as the strength and conditioning coach for UVa's men's soccer team, as well as the men's and women's tennis teams, and as an assistant for the football team. While Barrieu is currently with the team in Bradenton, Onalfo will join the camp on Friday (Jan. 10).
JAN. 18 MATCH VS. CANADA AVAILABLE ON LIMITED PAY-PER-VIEW: Setanta Sports will be broadcasting the USA vs. Canada friendly on Jan. 18, live at 7:30 p.m. ET on a pay-per-view basis. DirecTV subscribers can order the match, which will be played at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., for $19.95. Fans can also follow the action live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The match against Canada is a rematch of the team’s 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal clash on January 30 in Pasadena, Calif., which was won by the U.S. in penalty kicks after a well-played 0-0 draw. In their history, the U.S. and Canada have squared off against each other 25 times in a rivalry dating all the way back to 1925, with the U.S. holding a slight 9-8-8 advantage. However, the United States has not lost to Canada in nine consecutive games, compiling a 5-0-4 mark in a stretch dating back more than 17 years to a 2-0 loss in Vancouver on April 2, 1985. Tickets ranging in price levels from $17 to $40 are on sale now at all South Florida Ticketmaster outlets (including FYE, Spec’s Music and Ricky’s Records) or by phone (Ft. Lauderdale: 954-523-3309; Miami: 305-358-5885; West Palm Beach: 561-966-3309).
MLS DOMINATED GROUP TRAINING AT IMG ACADEMY IN BRADENTON PRIOR TO MATCH: The U.S. Men’s National Team arrived in Bradenton, Fla., this weekend for the first training camp of 2003, which will be held at the IMG Academy from Jan. 4-16 before the team relocates to Ft. Lauderdale for the Jan. 18 match versus Canada . MLS players dominate the roster, with all 10 MLS teams represented for the two-week training camp. Six players from the 2002 MLS Best XI – Wade Barrett, Carlos Bocanegra, Jeff Cunningham, Tim Howard, Steve Ralston, and Taylor Twellman – made the roster. Crew teammates Brian McBride (loan to Everton) and Kyle Martino (injury) have both had to leave camp, but defenders Cory Gibbs and Eddie Pope have joined the camp in their place. In addition to the 27-man roster, Chicago Fire midfielder Chris Armas and FC Nurnberg defender Tony Sanneh are also with the team in Florida to continue rehabilitation from injuries.
U.S. MEN TO PLAY ARGENTINA IN MIAMI ON FEB. 8, JAMAICA IN KINGSTON ON FEB. 12: The U.S. Men's National Team will host two-time World Cup champion Argentina in an international friendly on Feb. 8 at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla., at 12 p.m. ET live on ESPN2 before travelling south to face Jamaica just four days later at the National Stadium in Kingston at 2:30 p.m. ET. Fans can follow both matches live via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The Feb. 8 meeting marks just the third time the two teams have met on U.S. soil, with the U.S. holding a 2-4-0 all-time record against the world power. Advance tickets ranging in price levels from $15 to $35 went on sale last week at all South Florida Ticketmaster outlets (including FYE, Spec’s Music and Ricky’s Records), by phone (Ft. Lauderdale 954-523-3309; Miami 305-358-5885; West Palm Beach 561-966-3309) and online at www.ussoccer.com. Groups of 20 or more can order immediately through U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1249. The United States has never lost to Jamaica, holding a 7-0-5 record against the Reggae Boyz. Despite the unbeaten record, the USA has only one victory in five matches at "The Office" in Kingston.
U.S. MNT TO RETURN TO SEATTLE TO MEET ASIAN CHAMPIONS JAPAN ON MARCH 29: The U.S. Men's National Team will host fellow World Cup finalists Japan at Seattle Seahawks Stadium on March 29 in Seattle (live on ESPN2 at 1 p.m. PT). Fans can also follow the action live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The USA and Japan have met only one time at the senior international level, with Japan capturing a 3-1 victory on March 14, 1993 in Tokyo. The clash with Japan will be the first international soccer match hosted by the newly minted Seattle Seahawks Stadium. Tickets ranging in price levels from $20 to $70 went on sale last week at all Ticketmaster outlets throughout Washington, Oregon and British Columbia, at the Seahawks Stadium ticket office, by phone (Seattle 206-628-0888; Tacoma 253-627-8497), and online at www.ussoccer.com. Groups of 20 or more can order through U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290.
– YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –
U-23 MNT HEADS TO PORTUGAL THIS WEEKEND FOR FIVE-GAME TRIP: U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team head coach Glenn “Mooch” Myernick named a 20-man roster today for a five-game trip to Portugal from Jan. 10-23. The roster, which features young MLS stars like D.J. Countess, Kelly Gray and Brad Davis as well as college standouts like Alecko Eskandarian and Roger Levesque, is very similar to that of the last camp in which the U.S. split a pair of games with Canada last month in Ft. Lauderdale. The U.S. will play three games against reserve squads from the top pro clubs in Portugal across three consecutive days (Jan. 14-16), then take a four-day break before facing Russia on Jan. 21 and an opponent to be named later on Jan. 23 to finish the five-game trip. This first camp of 2003 will provide further preparation for the 2003 Pan Am Games, which take place in the Dominican Republic from August 1-17 and will act as the team’s first major international competition since the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. In 2002, the U-23s posted a 6-2-2 overall record, including a second place finish in the Maderia International Tournament, but were just 1-2-2 in international games.
Goalkeepers (2): D.J. Countess (Dallas Burn), Doug Warren (Clemson);
Defenders (8): Jose Burciaga (K.C. Wizards), Kelly Gray (Chicago Fire), Ricky Lewis (Clemson), Oguchi Onyewu (FC Metz – France), Seth Stammler (Univ. of Maryland), David Stokes (UNC), Scot Thompson (UCLA), Chris Wingert (St. John’s University);
Midfielders (6): Kyle Beckerman (Colorado Rapids), Brian Carroll (Wake Forest), Brad Davis (MetroStars), Adolpho Gregorio (UCLA), Logan Pause (UNC), Seth Trembly (Colorado Raipds);
Forwards (4): Alecko Eskandarian (Virginia), Roger Levesque (Stanford), David Testo (UNC), Jason Thompson (Eastern Illinois).
U.S. UNDER-20s TO TAKE PART IN MLS COMBINE NEXT WEEK: The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team will kick off their 2003 preparation for March’s World Youth Championship with a 13-day training camp in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., from January 12-24. The Under-20s, who qualified for a U.S. Soccer record fourth consecutive FIFA World Youth Championship in November, will play three matches against MLS Combine teams and then conclude their camp with a January 23 game against Mexico’s Under-20 side. The combine teams will be made up of the best senior college players in the nation, as well as MLS’ recent Nike Project-40 signings. Mexico has also qualified for the 2003 World Youth Championship, which will be held in the United Arab Emirates from March 25-April 13. U.S. Under-20 head coach Thomas Rongen is expected to announce his roster for these matches next week.
U.S. UNDER-18s RECORD DRAW, LOSS IN FIRST ACTION OF 2003: The U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team opened up the new year with a draw and a loss against '84 Regional Teams at the ARCO Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. In their first match, the U.S. countered a late Region II goal with an 83rd minute equalizer from Danny Vasquez for a 1-1 decision. The U.S. again fell behind in their second match, allowing Region IV to go ahead in the 38th minute. Craig Capano, who scored five goals for the U.S. Under-18s in 2002, evened the score in the 84th minute, but the U.S. gave up goals in the 89th and 91st minutes for a 3-1 loss. Eight players are making their first Under-18 National Team appearance in this camp. The Under-18s will wrap up their games at this training camp today against Region III at 3 p.m. PT.
– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –
U.S. SOCCER FEDERATION TO CELEBRATE 90-YEAR ANNIVERSARY IN 2003: Coming off arguably the most successful year in U.S. Soccer history, the U.S. Soccer Federation will be celebrating its 90-year anniversary throughout 2003 with a number of special projects and events. To launch the 90-year anniversary, U.S. Soccer has unveiled a special commemorative logo, featuring the organization’s familiar crest over a blue-medallion and a 90-year anniversary banner. The logo will be used throughout the year on publications and other printed materials. As part of the year-long commemoration, ussoccer.com’s popular Communications Center e-mail distribution system will include weekly articles looking back at the organization’s history. Many of the Communications Center articles will be featured in a limited-edition 90-Year Anniversary Reflection, a coffee-table book which will be published for fans and U.S. Soccer constituencies around the time of the organization’s 87th Annual General Meeting in Chicago from Aug. 13-16, 2003.
U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT
PEAK PERFORMER: U.S. fans will find out who earned the Peak Performer award for all of 2002 when U.S. Soccer unveils its Chevy Female Athlete of the Year and Chevy Young Female Athlete of the Year winners at a press conference on Friday (Jan. 10) in San Diego.
MARQUEE MATCH-UP: Speaking of San Diego, it all starts there for the U.S. Women’s National Team as they round the final turn and come down the home stretch on the way to defending their title at the 2003 Women’s World Cup in September. First up is a much-improved Japan squad led by Atlanta Beat star Homare Sawa, with the match taking place Sunday (Jan. 12) at the Spirit’s Torero Stadium at 1 p.m. PT live on ESPN. With Mia, Julie and Lill sitting this one out, it will give U.S. fans yet another chance to see how the future looks without the accomplished trio.
SOCCER SHOCKER: First division side Wolverhampton shocked Newcastle, who sit in fourth place in the Premiership, 3-2 on Saturday. Wolverhampton, who sit tenth in the First Division, jumped out to a 2-0 lead only to see Newcastle even the score by halftime. But just four minutes into the second half, George Ndah scored from close range to send Newcastle to a crushing loss at Molineux Stadium.
“It was the most difficult thing I've had to do in my professional life. I feel strongly that Peter should have retired in a Fire uniform, and we tried every option that would have allowed that to happen.''
- Chicago general manager Peter Wilt, after trading the long-time Fire captain and former Polish international to the New England Revolution to make room under the salary cap.