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Mathis, McBride Appear Wednesday On NBC's Today Show; MNT to Visit Ground Zero


WARREN, N.J. (Tuesday, May 14, 2002) - U.S. strikers Brian McBride and Clint Mathis will appear live Wednesday morning on NBC's Today show in New York City.  The strike pair will talk shop with wacky weatherman Al Roker at approximately 9:30 a.m.  McBride and Mathis will be signing autographs and handing out soccer balls to the Today Show faithful assembled outside at Rockefeller Plaza.

USMNT TO VISIT GROUND ZERO: The USMNT will travel to NYC tomorrow morning to visit Ground Zero, site of the tragic events of Sept. 11.  After the private tour, which begins at 10:30 a.m., the team will return to New Jersey in preparation for their final training session prior to Thursday's match against Jamaica.

FAREWELL TO TAB:  An important chapter in U.S. Soccer history came closer to an end today, former U.S. international Tab Ramos announcing his retirement from professional soccer at the end of the current MLS season.   Ramos, one of the pioneers of the modern U.S. national team, made 81 appearances for the USA over an 11-year career that included three World Cup appearances (1990, 1994, 1998).  U.S. head coach Bruce Arena headed the U.S. Soccer delegation at a press conference at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, which included fellow St. Benedict’s alumni Claudio Reyna and Gregg Berhalter, Tony Meola, Jeff Agoos, Joe-Max Moore, Kasey Keller and Clint Mathis.

BACK ON THE PITCH:  After a travel day Monday, the team returned to the training field this morning at The Pingry School, a private high school just minutes from the team’s hotel.  Today’s session witnessed the return of old faces, as John O'Brien rejoined the team for the first time since helping the U.S. to a 2-1 win over Jamaica on Oct. 7, 2001.  Eddie Lewis had his first day back in the U.S. kit, while Kasey Keller and Claudio Reyna returned to training with the U.S. after spending time with the team last week in Cary, N.C., before returning to England over the weekend.  Lewis, who played 90 minutes for Fulham over the weekend, looked sharp in training, with his trademark left foot in form.  All three U.S. goalkeepers also looked extremely sharp today. Arena ran the side through an 11 v. 11 game, the first full-sided intra-squad scrimmage since camp began on May 1.  George Gelnovatch, a member of the U.S. World Cup Staff and the Under-18 MNT head coach, jumped into the scrimmage to even the numbers for a full 11 v. 11 match.

JAMAICA TRAINING ON WEDNESDAY:  Jamaica will hold training tomorrow at Giants Stadium from 6:30-7:30 p.m.  The session will be open to the media.

USA UNITES WITH UNICEF :  Cobi Jones, Landon Donovan and Brian McBride all took time out on Tuesday afternoon to film Public Service Announcements for UNICEF as part of a global partnership with FIFA to raise awareness about HIV.  The trio joined a host of soccer stars that have been enlisted to aid the effort, including Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, David Beckham, Rivaldo, Francesco Totti, Thierry Henry, Juan Sebastian Veron, Ronaldo, and a host of others.  The McBride, Donovan and Jones PSA's will air on MTV throughout the summer.

BRINGING THEIR OWN GAME: After leading the side through training Tuesday, Bruce Arena and the coaching staff played in a spirited 7 v. 7 match against local coaches and other members of the U.S. travelling staff.  The Arena-led team, joined by Manfred Schellscheidt, U.S. Soccer's Under-14 Boy's Program Director and Region I Head ODP Coach, captured an 8-7 victory.

T-MINUS:  There are 22 days until the U.S. Men's National Team opens 2002 FIFA World Cup play against Portugal on June 5 in Suwon, which also happens to correspond to the number of career assists Cobi Jones has recorded.  Cobi Jones is the all-time career U.S. MNT leader in that category, which has only been recorded since 1990.

THEY SAID IT:
"He was one of the pioneers of the sport in this country.  While I didn't get to work with him as much as I would have liked, when I asked him to help out the national team during World Cup qualifying, he made a personal sacrifice and answered the call.  It was an honor to work with him."
- U.S. head coach Bruce Arena on Tab Ramos


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