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U.S. Soccer Wire: New Jersey Debuts as MNT Faces Holland


U.S. MNT WILL BREAK IN NEW UNIFORM AGAINST HOLLAND ON WEDNESDAY:  U.S. Men’s National Team manager Bruce Arena announced his 22-player roster last week for their upcoming match against fourth-ranked Holland on Wednesday (Feb. 18) at the Amsterdam ArenA in Amsterdam. Kickoff for the match, which will debut the USA's new Nike uniform, is set for 2:30 p.m. ET, and will be broadcast live on ESPN2.  Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The roster for the USA's second international match of the year is evenly split between domestic and foreign-based players. The U.S. based-players arrived in Amsterdam on Saturday (Feb. 14), while the remaining players traveled to Holland after completing duty with their club teams in Europe this past weekend. Thirteen players on the current roster were part of the USA’s historic run to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup, the largest reunion of 2002 veterans since Korea/Japan. Eight players were in the first XI when the U.S. downed Mexico 2-0 in the Round of 16 on June 17, 2002, in Jeonju, Korea. U.S. captain Claudio Reyna (Manchester City) returns to lead the 11-man, foreign-based contingent and is just three caps shy of becoming the seventh U.S. MNT player to reach the century mark. A quartet of U.S. players are playing their inaugural seasons in Europe, led by Manchester United goalkeeper Tim Howard. Both Brian McBride (Fulham) and Clint Mathis (Hannover 96) scored goals in their debut performances for their new clubs, while Carlos Bocanegra has started every match since joining Fulham last month. Ajax midfielder John O’Brien, who scored the first goal for the U.S. at the 2002 World Cup, will likely not make his first appearance for the U.S. since March 29, 2003 after suffering an injury in training last week. The new Nike Total 90 jersey will be used throughout qualifying for the 2006 World Cup and can be viewed at ussoccer.com.
U.S. MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Tim Howard (Manchester United), Kasey Keller (Tottenham Hotspur), Jonny Walker (MetroStars); DEFENDERS (6): Gregg Berhalter (Energie Cottbus), Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham FC), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Cory Gibbs (Dallas Burn), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Eddie Pope (MetroStars); MIDFIELDERS (8): Chris Armas (Chicago Fire), DaMarcus Beasley (Chicago Fire), Bobby Convey (D.C. United), Chris Klein (Kansas City Wizards), Eddie Lewis (Preston North End), John O’Brien (Ajax), Claudio Reyna (Manchester City), Kerry Zavagnin (Kansas City Wizards); FORWARDS (5): Conor Casey (Karlsruher), Landon Donovan (San Jose Earthquakes), Clint Mathis (Hannover 96), Brian McBride (Fulham FC), Josh Wolff (Kansas City Wizards).

U.S. UNDER-23s FINISH FOURTH IN QUALIFYING, FAIL IN BID FOR 2004 OLYMPICS: After winning all three games to win Group A of the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament, the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team lost in the semifinals 4-0 to Mexico, failing in their bid for a spot in the 2004 Athens Olympics. With its first loss of the tournament, the USA failed to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since 1976 (The U.S. qualified in 1980, but did not compete due to a boycott of the Moscow games). The loss also snapped U.S. Soccer’s streak of qualifying for 19 consecutive FIFA outdoor world championships (World Cup, Women’s World Cup, Men’s & Women’s Olympics, U-20 World Youth Championship, Under-19 Women’s World Championship and Under-17 World Championship). The streak began and ended with teams coached by Glenn “Mooch” Myernick, with his Under-17 team starting the streak in 1995. Brazil, whose men’s team was eliminated from the Olympics by Paraguay, held the previous longest streak. Two days later, the U.S. tied Honduras, 1-1 in the Third Place match before falling 4-3 on penalty kicks to finish fourth in the tournament.

GUYANA AND GRENADA TO BEGIN HOME-AND-HOME SERIES ON FEB. 28: The U.S. Men’s National Team will soon find out its first opponent in its quest to qualify for the 2006 World Cup as Grenada and Guyana will begin their CONCACAF qualifying home-and-home series on Feb. 28 in St. George’s, Grenada. The teams will meet again two weeks later on March 14 in Blairmont, Guyana, with the winner of the opening-round series facing the U.S. MNT on June 13 in Group 1 as the U.S. begin their quest to qualify for a fifth consecutive World Cup with a home match. The location and time of the match is still to be determined. The U.S. will play the away leg of their preliminary round series the following weekend, June 19 or 20.
 
U.S. WNT ARRIVES IN COSTA RICA AS OLMYPIC QUALIFYING STARTS NEXT WEEK: With a little over a week before their first CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying match, the U.S. Women’s National Team arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica, during the wee hours of Saturday morning (Feb. 14) after taking a late Friday night flight from Miami. Last week, head coach April Heinrichs announced the 20-player roster that will attempt to earn a berth in the 2004 Athens Olympics at the first-ever qualifying tournament for women, taking place in Costa Rica from February 25-March 5, 2005. While spots in the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Women’s Soccer Tournaments were earned according to finish at the previous year’s Women’s World Cup, now a separate tournament is being held to decide CONCACAF’s two berths to the Athens Olympics. The USA will head Group B in the Final Round, which also features Trinidad & Tobago, Haiti and Mexico. Canada heads Group A, which features Jamaica, Panama and host Costa Rica. Each country will play the other teams in its group once, with the top two finishers in each group “crossing over” for the semifinals, as first place in Group A will play second in Group B and vice-versa. The winners of the semifinal matches will earn berths to Greece. The USA will train in Costa Rica for 11 days before opening the tournament on February 25 against Trinidad & Tobago at Estadio Nacional in San José (3 p.m. CT). The USA will then face Haiti on February 27 at Estadio Eladio Rosabal Cordero in Heredia (8 p.m. CT) before finishing first round play against Mexico on February 29 at Estadio Nacional (3 p.m. CT). The semifinals will be played on March 3 at Estadio Nacional while the Final and Third-Place matches will take place on March 5 at Estadio Eladio Rosabal Cordero. Fans can follow all the U.S. matches on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The qualifying tournament will not only mark the first-ever trip for the U.S. women to Costa Rica, but also, in the 20th year of the program, the first-ever trip to a Spanish-speaking country.
U.S. WNT CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament Schedule (Final Round) – Costa Rica (*if necessary)
Date        Opponent                         Venue;City                                            Kickoff (local/CT)
Feb. 25    Trinidad & Tobago        Estadio Nacional; San Jose                3 p.m.
Feb. 27    Haiti                                  Eladio Rosabal Cordero; Heredia      8 p.m.
Feb. 29    Mexico                             Estadio Nacional; San Jose                3 p.m.
Single Elimination
Date             Opponent                        Venue                                                 Kickoff (local/CT)
March 3*    Semifinal (B1 or B2)        Estadio Nacional; San Jose            1 p.m. + 3 p.m.
March 5*    Third Place / Final          Eladio Rosabal Cordero; Heredia   6 p.m. + 8 p.m.
U.S. WNT CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Briana Scurry, Siri Mullinix; DEFENDERS (6): Joy Fawcett, Kate Markgraf (*nee Sobrero), Heather Mitts, Amy LePeilbet, Christie Rampone (*nee Pearce), Cat Reddick; MIDFIELDERS (7): Shannon Boxx, Julie Foudy, Angela Hucles, Kristine Lilly, Leslie Osborne, Lindsay Tarpley, Aly Wagner; FORWARDS (5): Mia Hamm, Shannon MacMillan, Heather O’Reilly, Cindy Parlow, Abby Wambach.

U.S. TO FACE HAITI IN MIAMI IN MARCH, POLAND HOME AND AWAY: The U.S. Men’s National Team will face fellow CONCACAF World Cup qualifying participant Haiti in an international friendly on Saturday, March 13 at The Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla. Kickoff for the match is set for 8 p.m. ET, and fans can follow the match live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The USA-Haiti clash will be followed by a game on March 31 when the U.S. travels to Poland for a 2002 World Cup rematch in Plock, a city in central Poland about 60 miles northwest of Warsaw (8:30 p.m. local / 1:30 p.m. ET – live on ESPN2). Including the USA's scheduled match next Wednesday (Feb. 18) in Holland against the Dutch (live on ESPN2 at 2:30 p.m. ET), the match against Haiti is one of five games the U.S. will play before it begins CONCACAF World Cup qualifying at home on June 13. The U.S. will also play games on April 28 and May 26 at sites and against opponents still to be finalized. Following their two-game World Cup qualifying series on June 13 and June 20 against Grenada or Guyana, U.S. Soccer has also scheduled a return domestic match for the U.S. Men against Poland on July 11 at a site yet to be determined. The U.S. has met Haiti 14 times in their history, and despite holding an overall record of 5-6-3, the teams have played only twice since 1983. The sides’ last meeting also took place at The Orange Bowl, with the U.S. collecting a 3-0 victory in front of 49,000 fans on Feb. 12, 2000, in the opening match of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The USA has played nine times at Miami's Orange Bowl, compiling a 2-5-2 lifetime record, which includes a 1-0 loss to Argentina in February of last year. Haiti is one of the USA’s potential opponents in the semifinal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, with the teams having been drawn into the same bracket.

LEONE NAMED WNT ASSISTANT COACH, KRIKORIAN TO LEAD U-19s: Tracey Leone, the coach who guided the U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team to the inaugural FIFA U-19 World Championship in 2002, has been named assistant coach of the U.S. Women's National Team and will be with the team in Costa Rica as the squad participates in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament for women's soccer from February 25–March 4, 2004, in San Jose and Heredia, Costa Rica. Leone, a member of the USA’s 1991 Women’s World Cup Championship Team which Heinrichs captained to the first-ever world title for women’s soccer, has experience at all levels in the U.S. Youth National Team programs, having served as assistant coach for the U.S. U-21s in 1997 and 1998, the head coach of the U-16s in 2000, and for the past three years, the head coach of the U.S. U-19s. She led the team to their historic first-ever world title for the youth women in Canada in September of 2002 when her team completed a storybook run to the championship by defeating host Canada, 1-0, in front of almost 50,000 fans in Edmonton. With Leone moving into her new role with the full Women's National Team, Mark Krikorian, formerly the head coach of the WUSA's Philadelphia Charge takes over the reins of the U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team. Under Krikorian, the U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team will take their first step towards the 2004 FIFA Under-19 World Championship in Thailand on Friday when the team travels to Mexico for two international matches against the full Mexican Women's National Team. In Mexico, the U-19s will play matches on Feb. 18 in Mexico City (1 p.m. CT) and on Feb. 20 in Tabasco (8 p.m. CT) in the first international tests of 2004 for the young team.

– U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

U-20 MNT TO HOLD SECOND TRAINING CAMP OF 2004 IN BRADENTON: The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team will hold its second training camp of 2004 from Feb. 20-26 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The U-20s will play three games against two MLS teams, which are holding their training camps at IMG. The Under-20s will meet the Columbus Crew on Feb. 22, before facing the Colorado Rapids on Feb. 24 and finishing the camp with a second match against the Columbus Crew on Feb. 26. Head coach Thomas Rongen has invited 22-players to the camp as he continues to scour the player pool for the Under-20 team that will look to qualify for the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands.
U-20 MNT Schedule
Date         Opponent    
Feb. 22    Columbus Crew  
Feb. 24    Colorado Rapids
Feb. 26    Columbus Crew
U-20 MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Justin Hughes (UNC), Justin Papadakis (Roswell, Ga.), Quentin Westberg (ESTAC Troyes); DEFENDERS (6): Adrian Chevannes (Clemson), Aaron Hohlbein (University of Wisconsin), Karl Schilling (Canton, Conn.), Jonathan Spector (Manchester United), Nathan Sturgis (St. Augustine, Fla.), Tim Ward (Waukesha, Wis.); MIDFIELDERS (7): Mariano Arrua (UC-Davis), Steven Curfman (Wake Forest University), John DiRaimondo (St. Louis University), Eddie Gaven (MetroStars), Christian Jimenez (San Dimas, Calif.), Dane Murphy (Redding, Conn.), Danny Szetela (Clifton, N.J.); FORWARDS (6): Freddy Adu (D.C. United), Chad Barrett (UCLA), Jay Denny (Stoke City, England),  Rodrigo Hidalgo (Atlantis, Fla.), Jamie Watson (UNC), George Weah Jr. (AC Milan).

U-17 MNTs TO PLAY THREE MATCHES AFTER WEEKEND VACATION AT HOME: The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Teams will play three matches this week in Bradenton, Fla., after players got the chance to fly home and spend the weekend with family and friends. The U-17 ‘87s will have another tough test against a MLS team on Thursday (Feb. 19) as they take on the Columbus Crew at IMG Academy. A week earlier, the U-17s played the Chicago Fire to a 2-2 draw in a 60-minute match that saw the U.S. go up 2-0, only to have the Fire score twice in the final three minutes to force the tie. On Sunday (Feb. 22) the U-17 ‘88s will see action as they will play two games against the ’87 and ’86 Florida Olympic Development Program (ODP) teams.
U-17 ‘87s MNT Schedule
Date         Opponent    
Feb. 19     Columbus Crew  
U-17 ‘88s MNT Schedule
Date         Opponent
Feb. 22     ’88 Florida ODP / ’87 Florida ODP  

U.S. U-21 WOMEN HOLD TRAINING CAMP AT HDC THIS WEEK: U.S. Under-21 Women's National Team head coach Chris Petrucelli is holding his second training camp of 2004 this week at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The team arrived on Monday (Feb. 16) and will be in camp until Sunday, Feb. 22. The U-21s are working toward the 2004 Nordic Cup, the top competition in the world for U-21 women, to be held this summer in Iceland. Petrucelli is also preparing the U-21s for their first trip abroad of 2004, a tour of China in March where the team will face several top Chinese club teams.  The roster includes five players from the USA's 2002 Under-19 World Championship team in Keeley Dowling, Sarah Huffman, Jill Oakes, Manya Makoski and Kelly Wilson.  Natasha Kai from the University of Hawaii, who scored 29 goals for the Rainbow Wahines last season, gets her second call-up.
U.S. U-21 WNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Nicole Barnhart (Stanford), Cindy Bennett (Stony Brook), Kate Taylor (Boston College); DEFENDERS (4): Keeley Dowling (Tennessee), Nandi Pryce (UCLA); Christie Shaner (Notre Dame), Carmen Watley (UNC); MIDFIELDERS (10): Jessie Bruch (Nebraska), Kelly Hammond (Virginia), Sarah Huffman (Virginia), Lindsey Huie (Portland), Carly Lloyd (Rutgers), Joanna Lohman (Penn State), Jill Oakes (UCLA), Juliane Sitch (DePaul), Nikki Thaden (Texas), Kacey White (UNC); FORWARDS (7): Ali Andrzejewski (Maryland), Jenny Farnenbaugh (Stanford), Tina Frimpong (Washington), Natasha Kai (Hawaii), Manya Makoski (Arizona State), Tiffany Weimer (Penn State), Kelly Wilson (Texas).

U-19 WOMEN PREPARE FOR TWO MATCHES AGAINST MEXICO NATIONAL TEAM: The U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team arrived in Mexico on Sunday (Feb. 15), for two matches against the full Mexican Women's National Team.  It will be the first two full international matches of 2004 for the U-19s, who are preparing for CONCACAF Qualifying in May for the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship that will be held in November in Thailand.  The U.S. U-19s have traveled to Mexico in the first part of the year for the last three years, and it has proven to be a valuable trip for the team in terms of competition and development, especially due to playing in front of highly partisan crowds.  Last year, the young U.S. team dropped the first match of the tour 1-0 before coming back to take the second leg 2-0, on goals from Megan Rapinoe and Angie Woznuk.  This year, the USA will face Mexico in Mexico City on Feb. 18 followed by the second leg in Tabasco on Feb. 20.  The 18-player U.S. roster is a young one, with only seven players currently in college, including just one of the forwards.  Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris is the most experienced player on the roster, owning 23 caps at the U-19 level.  Forward Kerri Hanks has 19 caps and 10 goals for the U-19s.   Following is the U.S. roster for the two matches:
U.S. U-19 WNT Schedule
Date        Opponent           City
Feb. 18    Mexico               Mexico City            
Feb. 20    Mexico               Tabasco
U.S. U-19 WNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Ashlyn Harris (Satellite Beach, Fla.), Ashley Phillips (West Peabody, Mass.); DEFENDERS (6): Rachel Buehler (Stanford), Jen Buczkowski (Notre Dame), Stephanie Logterman (Austin, Texas), Stephanie Lopez (Elk Grove, Calif.), Kia McNeil (Avon, Conn.), Becky Sauerbrunn (Virginia); MIDFIELDERS (5): Elizabeth Jobe (Clemson), Rebecca Moros (Duke), Lorraine Quinn (Farmingdale, N.Y.), Jennifer Redmond (Morristown, N.J.), Angie Woznuk (Portland); FORWARDS (5): Sheree Gray (Toms River, N.J.), Kerri Hanks (Allen, Texas), Alexa Orand (Orange, Calif.), Megan Rapinoe (Redding, Calif.), Julia Schnugg (Florida State).

– AROUND THE SOCCER REGION –

“KEEP THE WUSA DREAM ALIVE” MULTI-YEAR TICKET INITIATIVE UNVEILED: This week the Women’s United Soccer Association announced the “Keep the WUSA Dream Alive” ticket fund initiative, a campaign to gauge support as it prepares to return to full operations for the 2005 season. The women’s professional soccer league, which is hosting the exhibition “WUSA Soccer Festivals” in June, has been attempting to bring the league back after announcing its suspension of operations on Sept. 15, 2003. The “Keep the WUSA Dream Alive” ticket campaign is another step forward in the return of women’s professional soccer. League officials will announce later this month the venues for the WUSA Soccer Festivals that will take place in June. Ticket information for the WUSA Festivals will be made available as soon as the sites and dates are determined.
 
2004 MISL ALL-STARS ANNOUNCED, FANS CAN VOTE ONLINE FOR STARTERS: The Major Indoor Soccer League announced the rosters for the 2004 MISL All-Star Game, to be played on Sunday, February 29, at the Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo., home of the St. Louis Steamers. Kickoff for the match will be at 1:05 p.m. CT. The 2004 All-Star Game will feature the MISL USA team, comprised of U.S. citizens, versus the MISL International squad, made up of foreign citizens. Players from the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Ghana, Croatia, Mexico, Trinidad, Bermuda, Macedonia, Yugoslavia, Ireland, Serbia, and Chile have all been elected to the League’s showcase event. The Baltimore Blast will send the most players to St. Louis with seven, while the Milwaukee Wave will send six players and the Philadelphia KiXX will have five representatives. Four teams (Baltimore, Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia) will have players on both the MISL USA and MISL International teams. Dallas Sidekicks forward David Doyle was named to the All-Star team, but due to an broken ankle he suffered on Jan. 25, Cleveland Force forward Hector Marinaro, indoor soccer’s all-time leading scorer, has been named as his replacement. The 2004 All-Star starters will be determined by the people, as the MISL gives fans a hand in the voting process for the first time. Fans can visit the MISL’s official website, misl.net, and choose the 2004 All-Star starting lineups. Online voting will end at 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 22. The starting lineups will be introduced on Thursday, February 26, at the MISL All-Star Welcome Reception, to be held at the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles, Mo., from 5:30-8 p.m. CT.


- U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT -

PEAK PERFORMER: Clint Mathis appears to have re-discovered his goalscoring touch, netting two goals in three matches since joining Hannover in January. After scoring in his debut match two weeks ago, Mathis notched his second tally on Saturday against Bayer Leverkusen, picking off a misplayed backpass at the midfield stripe before embarking on a 60-yard run that was capped with a curling right-footed strike in the 40th minute. The match ended on level terms with a 2-2 scoreline, leaving Mathis and fellow U.S. international Steve Cherundolo, who started and played 74 minutes in the match, sitting in 10th place in the German Bundesliga.

MARQUEE MATCH-UP: The U.S. Men’s National Team will face fifth-ranked Holland this Wednesday, Feb. 18 at the vaunted Amsterdam ArenA in Amsterdam, with the largest reunion of 2002 World Cup veterans since Korea/Japan. Kickoff for the match is set for 8:30 p.m. local time (2:30 p.m. ET), and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Fans can also follow the match live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.

SOCCER SHOCKER: Hosts Tunisia beat Morocco 2-1 on Saturday (Feb. 14) to win the African Nations Cup for the first time, almost 40 years after they appeared in their first final. A little over a year removed from the 2002 World Cup, where they went 0-2-1 and scored one goal in Group H, Tunisia defeated 2002 World Cup quarterfinalists Senegal 1-0 in the quarterfinals and African power Nigeria in penalties in the semifinals before topping Morocco for the crown.

QUOTABLE: “I can't explain it, but it's something which bothers me. In the next few days, I'm going to try and sort it out.”
           -- David Beckham acknowledging in an interview with sports daily Marca that he was struggling with his free kicks after missing the target again during Sunday's league draw with Valencia.

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