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Olympic and World Cup Veteran Goalkeeper David Vanole Passes Away


CHICAGO (January 17, 2007) - Former U.S. National Team goalkeeper David Vanole, a longtime player and coach at the highest levels of the sport in the United States, has passed away at the age of 43. In addition to being part of the U.S. National Team's 1990 FIFA World Cup team, Vanole started all three games for the United States at the 1998 Olympics in Seoul.

As a coach, Vanole represented the United States again at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, serving as goalkeeper coach for the silver-medal winning U.S. Women's National Team. He most recently served as goalkeeper coach of the New England Revolution, a position he also held with D.C. United in MLS and the Washington Freedom in the WUSA. He was also a coach at various youth national team levels, including a stint under Sigi Schmid with the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team at the FIFA World Youth Championship in 1999 in Nigeria.

It was as a player, though, that the native of Redondo Beach, Calif., made his biggest mark back in the late 1980s, playing a key role in helping the United States qualify for the 1990 FIFA World Cup, the team's first appearance in the world's largest sporting event in 40 years.

Vanole's most memorable moment on the field came when he saved a 90th minute penalty kick against Costa Rica on April 30, 1989, to preserve a 1-0 victory in St. Louis. Vanole held his ground on the kick, which was driven just to his right, saving the shot with his neck and upper arm. The save in the USA's fourth qualifying match earned valuable points for the USA, which proved priceless when Paul Caligiuri's "Shot Heard 'Round World" against Trinidad and Tobago qualified the Americans for Italy. In Italy, Vanole served as a back-up to goalkeeper Tony Meola.

"David was one of the pioneers at the start of a new era for U.S. Soccer," said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. "I remember very well his impact on the team at the 1988 Olympics and in helping the United States end a very long World Cup drought in 1989. He should be remembered for that right alongside the other early stars of the sport in our country. At this difficult time, we wish his wife, Kerry, and his family the best and our thoughts are with them."

An imposing figure in goal, he eventually earned 13 caps with the U.S. National Team from 1986-1989, recording three shutouts. He also went undefeated in five World Cup qualifying games on the road to Italy (3-0-2).

Vanole also played nine times for the U.S. Olympic team, helping the team qualify for the 1988 tournament and then starting all three matches in Seoul, South Korea. A member of UCLA's 1985 NCAA championship team, Vanole served as the goalkeeper coach for the UCLA men's and women's teams in the late 1990s (and was a part of the team's 1997 NCAA championship).

Vanole played in the formative years of the USL First Division for the Los Angeles Heat, San Jose Earthquakes and San Francisco Bay Blackhawks from 1986-1991 in the Western Soccer League/American Professional Soccer League. He won an APSL title with San Francisco Bay in 1991.

A longtime resident of Manhattan Beach, Calif., Vanole was born on Feb. 6, 1963. 

Services will be held in both New York City and Manhattan Beach, Calif. In lieu of flowers, the family wishes for you to consider making a donation to the charity of your choice in the name of David. The family is also setting up a foundation in the name of David Charles Vanole with donations going to a soccer scholarship fund.

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