U.S. Women Will End Glory Tour Against Japan in Phoenix on December 17
Tickets are priced at $18-$45 and are available through Ticketmaster (480-784-4444 in Phoenix, 520-321-1000 in Tucson), and at other outlets, including Robinson's-May, Wherehouse Music, Tower Records and the Bank One Ballpark ticket office. Tickets are also available via the Internet at www.us-soccer.com.
The Japan match will mark the 41st game of 2000 for the U.S. women, by far the most ever in a calendar year and certainly the most ever by a women's national team from any country. The bulk of the matches were in preparation for the 2000 Olympics, but the heavy schedule also represented a huge demand in the USA and around the world to see the reigning Women's World Cup champs, in addition to the growing number of international women's soccer competitions. With the onset of the Women's United Soccer Association, the national team schedule will be scaled down to allow the players to compete with their clubs.
The match at Bank One Ballpark, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, will use the baseball outfield as a soccer pitch. BOB is one of the nation's most modern stadiums and features a natural grass field, but also a retractable roof. The roof is used to keep the sun off the stands and concrete structure during the 100-degree-plus summer days, and is sometimes opened at night to allow air circulation and heat loss to the desert sky. To enable the grass to survive, the roof is not totally closed during daylight hours, but is operated to create a moving band of sun on the field to permit photosynthesis. The BOB also has a swimming pool beyond the outfield fence among other ultra-modern amenities.
Should the roof be closed during the USA-Japan clash, it will be the second time the U.S. women have played indoors. The first time was on June 6, 1993, when the USA defeated Canada 3-0 at the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit, Mich., marking the first-ever U.S. National Team to play a full international match indoors. The USA tested the field that was brought in for the 1994 World Cup games.
The USA has never lost to Japan, a 1999 Women's World Cup participant, and will bring a 13-0-0 all-time record to Phoenix. Following its disappointing first-round exit at the 1999 Women's World Cup, Japan fired their coach and brought in a slew of new, young and talented players. The revamped Japanese squad played one of its best games ever against the USA at the Pacific Cup in Australia last June during the most recent meeting between the two teams. The USA came out on top, 4-1, but Japan showed some punch in an attack that has always been backed with tremendous technical ability. Japan's best player is midfielder Homare Sawa, taken last week by Atlanta in the first-ever WUSA International Player Allocation Draft.
All the stars of the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team will be coming to Phoenix to face Japan, including forwards Mia Hamm and Tiffeny Milbrett, midfielders Julie Foudy and Kristine Lilly and defenders Joy Fawcett and Kate Sobrero. It will also be the final national team match for long-time U.S. captain Carla Overbeck, who will retire from international soccer following the game. The U.S. women will also play "Glory Tour" matches on Nov. 11 in Columbus, Ohio, against Canada and on Dec. 10 in Houston, Tex., against Mexico.