UNIONDALE, N.Y. (Thursday, September 26, 2002) - The U.S. Women's National Team came together on Tuesday in Long Island, N.Y. for its second event since the end of the 2002 WUSA season as the team prepares to host the 9th Nike U.S. Women's Cup. The USA will open the four-team, six-game competition on Sunday, Sept. 29, against Russia at the Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, N.Y. The USA will also face Australia at SAS Park in Cary, N.C. on Oct. 2 (Kickoff 7:30 p.m. ET live on ESPN2) and Italy on Oct. 6 (Kickoff 2 p.m. ET on live) ESPN2, also at SAS Park. The tournament has for almost a decade been a stage for some of the world's best teams to meet in tournament competition and this year is no different. Featuring Russia, which has qualified for the 2003 Women's World Cup, and likely qualifiers Australia and the USA, as well as the always competitive Italians, the 2002 Nike U.S. Women's Cup will be a sharp preview of the Women's World Cup in China next year. The American women have compiled a 21-0-0 record in the tournament, including one win last year over Germany before the competition was canceled due to the events of Sept. 11. The USA players have had a bit of rest coming off the WUSA season, although quite a few played against Scotland and in the WUSA All-Star Game on Sept. 21, and all the players are now focused on making an impression to either get, or keep, themselves in the running for a spot on the 2003 Women's World Cup Team. This competition will be vitally important for U.S. head coach April Heinrichs as the USA will compete in the CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup, the Women's World Cup qualifying tournament for this region, from Oct. 27-Nov. 9, and Heinrichs will use these games and this training to choose her 18 players who will attempt to book tickets to China. Fans can follow all three U.S. matches as they happen on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker presented by Philips Electronics.
2002 NIKE U.S. WOMEN'S CUP SCHEDULE
Sun., Sept. 29, 2002
United States vs. Russia - 4 p.m. ET
Mitchel Athletic Complex (Uniondale, N.Y.)
Wed., Oct. 2, 2002
Italy vs. Russia - 5 p.m. ET
United States vs. Australia - 7:30 p.m. ET / espn2
SAS Park (Cary, N.C.)
Sun., Oct. 6, 2002
Australia vs. Russia - 11:30 a.m. ET
United States vs. Italy - 2 p.m. ET / espn2
SAS Park (Cary, N.C.)
Wed., Oct. 9, 2002
Australia vs. Italy - 7:30 p.m. ET
SAS Park (Cary, N.C.)
NIKE U.S. Women's Cup All-Time Finishes
1994: USA, China, Germany, Norway
1995: USA, Norway, Australia, Chinese Taipei
1996: USA, China, Japan, Canada
1997: USA, Italy, Australia, Canada
1998: USA, Brazil, Russia, Mexico
1999: USA, Brazil, Finland, South Korea
2000: USA, Canada, Mexico, South Korea
USA WORKING ON EIGHT GAME-GAME HOME UNBEATEN STREAK: The U.S. Women's National Team has played 11 matches in 2002, but only four at home, and will almost double its 2002 domestic matches at the Nike U.S. Women's Cup. The USA is riding an eight-game unbeaten streak at home, dating back to a 3-1 loss to Canada on November 11, 2000, after the Olympics. The match against Russia will be the USA's eighth match in a row against European teams in 2002, with wins against England, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Scotland, a tie with Sweden and a loss to Norway in that span. The U.S. women are in their 18th year of competition and have played 278 full international matches. The USA has scored 911 goals over that span. Cindy Parlow scored the 900th goal against Norway on Sept. 8. The USA is 7-2-2 on the year with both losses coming to archrival Norway, 1-0 in Huadu, China on January 23 and 3-2 on March 5 at the Algarve Cup in Portugal.
28 PLAYERS BATTLE FOR SPOT ON 2002 NIKE U.S. WOMEN'S CUP ROSTER: Heinrichs brought 28 players to Long Island for five days of training before choosing the 18 that will represent the USA at the 2002 Nike U.S. Women's Cup. Of the 28 players invited, 23 played in the WUSA this year, one is a college senior (Aly Wagner), one is a college junior (Cat Reddick), two are college freshman (Lori Chalupny and Lindsay Tarpley) and one is a high school senior (Heather O'Reilly). On Saturday, Heinrichs will choose 18 players for all three matches of the tournament.
U-19 STARS LOOKING TO MAKE THEIR MARK: In Chalupny, Tarpley and O'Reilly, Heinrichs has called in three players who were key members of the USA's 2002 FIFA Under-19 World Championship team that defeated Canada, 1-0, on Sept. 1 in sudden death overtime at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. For Tarpley, the captain of the U-19 world champions, this is her first call-up to the senior side. It was Tarpley's dramatic "Golden Goal" in the 109th minute of the world championship final that gave the Americans the historic victory. She scored five goals in the tournament and won the bronze boot as the third highest scoring in the tournament. O'Reilly, a senior at East Brunswick High School in New Jersey, gets her third call up to the senior team. O'Reilly torched the competition in Canada, scoring four goals with seven assists, and possesses world class speed and heart. Chalupny was the unsung hero of the U-19s as her stellar work in midfield on both sides of the ball sparked the Americans throughout the tournament and in the hard-fought championship game. Whether Tarpley, O'Reilly and Chalupny make an impression at this tournament remains to be seen, but both all are showing signs of being stars of the future.
FOCUS ON RUSSIA: Russia is the only one of the four teams at the 2002 Nike U.S. Women's Cup that has already qualified for the 2003 Women's World Cup. Russia earned one of the 16th berths available in China by winning Group 3 in the European qualification tournament. Russia earned 11 points from its six matches, outdistancing Iceland, Italy and Spain, despite two draws with Iceland and a lost to group doormat Spain. Russia's two wins over Nike U.S. Women's Cup opponent Italy, 3-1 and 2-1, gained key points in their qualification process and might make the meeting between the two teams in North Carolina a fiery one. Russia recently competed in a tournament in China in late August, losing to the powerful Chinese, 2-1, beating Japan 1-0 and then falling to the Korea Republic, 3-2, to finish a third in the tournament. Russia's Women's National Team history dates back to 1990, but the team also played some matches as the USSR. Russia has always fielded some talented attacking players, and qualified for the European championships in 1997, finishing last out of eight teams. Russia fared much better at the 1999 Women's World Cup, soundly defeating Japan and Canada in Group C after losing its opening match to Norway, 2-1. Russia advanced the quarterfinals, but lost to China 2-0. Three of the players on Russia's Nike Women's Cup roster scored in the 1999 Women's World Cup. Elena Fomina scored twice against Canada, Natalia Barbachina scored against Japan and Olga Letushova scored twice against Japan. Russia also qualifed for the 2001 European Championships and finished 6th. The U.S. is undefeated against Russia, holding a 4-0-1 record and outscoring them 22-2. The two teams last met in August of 2000 as the USA recorded a 7-1 win in Annapolis, Md., followed by a 1-1 tie in College Park, Md.
GOODWILL AT MITCHEL: The U.S. Women have played two matches at the Mitchel Athletic Complex, both at the 1998 Goodwill Games, which was a four-team competition played in a semifinals-finals format. The USA defeated Denmark 5-0 in the semifinal and then downed China 2-0 for the gold medal as Mia Hamm scored two spectacular goals.
HAMM'S 100th CAME AGAINST RUSSIA: One of the many highlights of Mia Hamm's career came against Russia at the 1998 Nike U.S. Women's Cup when she scored her 100th career international goal in Rochester, N.Y. on Sept. 18 of that year in a 4-0 victory. The brilliant half-volley from a stiff angle that roared into the roof of the net set off an euphoric celebration at the sold-out Frontier Field and put Hamm into a select group of just four players who have scored at least 100 career international goals. Hamm currently has 133 career goals. Retired Italians Elisabetta Vignotto (107) and Carolina Morace (105), coach of the Italians in this tournament are behind her and Michelle Akers has 104.
U.S. WOMEN'S CUP TOURNAMENT RULES TO KNOW: The champion of the 2002 Nike U.S. Women's Cup will be determined on the basis of points: Three points for a win, one for a tie and zero for a loss. In the event that two or more of the teams are tied on points, the following system will break the tie:
1) Results of matches between the teams concerned.
2) Goal difference.
3) Great number of goals scored.
If the teams are still tied, then co-champions will be named.
Teams are permitted seven substitutes per match, or in other words, all of the reserves on the roster. If a player gets a yellow card caution in the first two matches of the tournament, she will be automatically suspended for the third match. If a player gets a red card in either the first or second match for her team, she is automatically suspended for her team's next match.