CHICAGO (Wednesday, July 24, 2002) - After playing its last match against a country that the U.S. Women's National Team has faced more than any other nation (a resounding 4-0 victory over Norway on July 21), the U.S. Women will next take the field against a team it has never played before, facing Scotland on Sept. 8, 2002, at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The match will kickoff at 1 p.m. ET and be broadcast live on ESPN.
Tickets go on sale on Friday, July 26, at 10 a.m. at all Ticketmaster locations in Ohio and the surrounding states and by phone at 614-431-3600. Tickets are also available at the Crew Stadium ticket office (open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.) and online at www.ussoccer.com. Tickets prices are $18 (endline), $25 (sideline), $35 (midfield) and $45 (club seats). For information on group rates, please call 312-528-1249.
The match against Scotland will be the first for the U.S. team after the WUSA season and all focus will be on preparing for the 2002 CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup, which takes place from Oct. 27-Nov. 9 and will serve as this region's qualifying tournament for the 2003 Women's World Cup in China.
"We're excited to play Scotland, a team that is rapidly improving to become an upper echelon European side," said U.S. head coach April Heinrichs. "Having a game in September allows the players to have a little break after the WUSA season, then get our players together before the Nike U.S. Women's Cup and then World Cup Qualifying. The Scotland game provides us the opportunity to keep evaluating and expanding our pool in preparation for the major tournaments in the fall."
Scotland is a rising women's soccer nation in Europe and recently won Group 5 in European Women's World Cup Qualifying play. In the past, 16 top European teams would be divided into four groups to compete for a spot in the Women's World Cup, while a lower tier of four more groups would compete to earn promotion into the upper tier. UEFA, the governing body of European soccer, recently voted to expand the upper tier to 20 teams, and Scotland, which took 15 points from its six qualifying games and edged Belgium on goal difference to win Group 5, earned promotion to this upper tier, thereby enabling them to attempt to qualify for the 2007 Women's World Cup.
Scotland's top player is team captain Julie Fleeting, who plays for the San Diego Spirit in the WUSA, and is one of just two players from the United Kingdom in the WUSA (along with England's Kelly Smith of the Philadelphia Charge). Fleeting, although just 21 years old, has scored 78 goals for Scotland in 58 appearances.
"The U.S. Women's National Team has had a special attachment to Crew Stadium ever since their inaugural sell-out appearance on the heels of their World Cup Victory in 1999," said Columbus Crew Stadium General Manager Mark McCullers. "We now look forward to showcasing our most successful senior national team and the only Women's National Team appearance this year at Crew Stadium as they prepare for Women's World Cup qualifying this fall."The match will be the third appearance for the U.S. Women at Columbus Crew Stadium. The USA defeated South Korea 5-0 on Oct. 3, 1999, in a post-Women's World Cup match and lost to Canada, 3-1, on November 11, 2000, in a match following the Sydney Olympics. The U.S. team was scheduled to play Japan at Crew Stadium on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, but the tragic events of that day caused the cancellation of that match and eventually the rest of the 2001 Nike U.S. Women's Cup.