CHICAGO (Wednesday, February 12, 2003) - U.S. Soccer announced today that the U.S. Women's National Team will face South Korea on Saturday, June 14, 2003, in Salt Lake City, Utah at Rice-Eccles Stadium on the campus of the University of Utah. The match, presented by the Utah Sports Commission, will kick off at 7 p.m. MT / 9 p.m. ET and be broadcast live on ESPN2.
Tickets ranging in price levels from $16 to $37 go on sale starting Friday, February 14, at 10:00 a.m. MT through Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 801-325-SEAT (7328), and at all Ticketmaster outlets (including Fred Meyer and Graywhale CD Exchange). For more information, fans can go online at www.ussoccer.com. Groups of 20 or more can order through U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290 [Click here for complete ticket information].
"The Utah Sports Commission is excited to help bring the U.S. Womenâ€™s National Team and some of the best women soccer players in the world to Utah," said Jeff Robbins, President and CEO of the Utah Sports Commission.
Throughout their history, the U.S. women have played domestic matches in 26 states and Washington, D.C., but this will be the first-ever match in the state of Utah. Previously, the U.S. Womenâ€™s National Team has played just one match in the intermountain region of Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado and Nevada, that coming in Denver in 1999.
Rice-Eccles Stadium, which seats just over 45,000, overlooks downtown Salt Lake City and the Great Salt Lake. At an elevation of 4,657 feet, it is the premier stadium in the state of Utah and was host to Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. The stadium, which features a new synthetic grass surface and sits in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains, underwent a 50-million dollar renovation that was completed in September of 1998.
"We always love to go to new venues and play in front of fans who might not have seen the team play live before," said U.S. head coach April Heinrichs. "Salt Lake City is a beautiful place and we are looking forward to playing in front of appreciative fans at a fantastic venue. We know we are going to a city which appreciates Olympic-caliber athletes."
Like all matches in 2003, the South Korea game will carry the added significance of Womenâ€™s World Cup preparation as U.S. head coach April Heinrichs continues to formulate her roster for the 2003 Womenâ€™s World Cup, taking place in China from September 23-October 11.
The match also might be significant in the Womenâ€™s World Cup preparation of South Korea, who will contend for a spot in the tournament at the Asian Football Confederation Womenâ€™s Championships being held April 17-30, 2003, in Thailand. The top two teams in that tournament besides China, which has already qualified as host, will earn berths to the Womenâ€™s World Cup. The third-place team in that tournament (or fourth as China almost certainly will finish in the top-three) will face CONCACAF third-place finisher Mexico for a final berth in China. South Korea was drawn into Group A of the AFC Championship with Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore and North Korea.
The U.S. women have played South Korea just three times: twice in 1997 when they picked up 7-0 and 6-1 wins, and then again in October of 1999 at the Nike U.S. Womenâ€™s Cup, a 5-0 win in Columbus, Ohio.
Featuring superstars like Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain, Julie Foudy and Tiffeny Milbrett, the U.S. Womenâ€™s National Team is currently the top team in the world after winning the Four Nations Tournament in China in January, a tournament that also featured world powers China, Germany and Norway. The U.S. women have won two Womenâ€™s World Cups (1991 and 1999) and one Olympic title (1996).
The game will be preceded by a United Soccer League match featuring the Utah Blitzz and the Orange County Blue Star at 4:00 p.m. MT.