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U.S. Soccer Wire: End of Year Award Winners To Be Announced This Week

CHEVY WINNERS NAMED TUESDAY, “BEST OF…” WINNERS NAMED WEDNESDAY: U.S. Soccer will announce this week the winners of all 15 of its year-end awards, including 11 awards that make up the 2004 'Best of U.S. Soccer" series, as well as the four prestigious Athlete of the Year awards – Male, Female, Young Male and Young Female.  For the Chevrolet Athlete of the Year awards, a month’s worth of online votes were tallied and equivalent to 50 percent of the total votes. As in years past, the other 50 percent was represented by 100 votes that will be compiled from members of the national media and U.S. Soccer representatives (from National Team coaches to the National Board of Directors). The 2004 “Best of U.S. Soccer” awards were decided entirely by online fan votes.
2004 Chevrolet Athlete of the Year Award Finalists (alphabetical order)
Male: DaMarcus Beasley, Carlos Bocanegra, Landon Donovan, Kasey Keller, Claudio Reyna
Female: Shannon Boxx, Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Lindsay Tarpley, Abby Wambach
Young Male: Alecko Eskandarian, Eddie Gaven, Ed Johnson, Jonathan Spector, Danny Szetela
Young Female: Lori Chalupny, Ashlyn Harris, Natasha Kai, Heather O’Reilly, Angela Woznuk
2004 Best of U.S. Soccer Awards
Best Soccer Bar
Best Soccer Store
Best U.S. Soccer Story
Best Fashion Statement
Best U.S. Crowd
Best Soccer Fans
Best Goal
Best Assist
Best Late-Game Heroics
Best Game Performance (Player)
Best Game Performance (Team)
TICKETS ON SALE NOW FOR U-20 CONCACAF QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT AT HDC: Tickets for the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament for the 2005 FIFA World Youth (Under-20) Championship taking place at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., from January 12-16, 2005 are on sale now. The four-team, Group A qualifying tournament will feature the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team, along with Costa Rica, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago.  Tickets ranging in price levels from $10 to $24 will be available online at, at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout Southern California (including Robinson’s-May, Wherehouse Music and Tower Records), by calling 213-480-3232 (Los Angeles), 714-740-2000 (Orange County) or 619-220-8497 (San Diego), and at The Home Depot Center ticket office. Groups of 20 or more can call U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290. The competition will consist of three doubleheaders, with each team playing on January 12, 14, and 16. The U.S. U-20s, who are attempting to qualify for a fifth consecutive FIFA World Youth Championship, play the second match on each day and open against Trinidad & Tobago on Wednesday, Jan. 12 before facing Panama on Friday, Jan. 14. The U-20s wrap up the tournament against Costa Rica on Sunday, Jan. 16 at 2:30 p.m. PT. The top two finishers in Carson will advance to the FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands from June 10-July 2, 2005. While a roster for the qualifying tournament will not be announced until early January, head coach Sigi Schmid has a deep pool (players born since January 1, 1985) to chose from that includes a blend of MLS players, European professionals and the top college players in the nation.
U-20 CONCACAF Final Round Schedule
Date            Match-up                            Kickoff (PT)
Jan. 12        Costa Rica vs. Panama        5:30 p.m.
Jan. 12        USA vs. T&T                      8 p.m.
Jan. 14        T&T vs. Costa Rica             5:30 p.m.
Jan. 14        USA vs. Panama                  8 p.m.
Jan. 16        Panama vs. T&T                  12 p.m.
Jan. 16        USA vs. Costa Rica             2:30 p.m.


U.S. OPENS WORLD CUP QUALIFYING ON FEB. 9 AWAY TO TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: The United States will open its bid to qualify for its fifth consecutive World Cup finals in Trinidad & Tobago on Feb. 9 as the final round draw for 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying was announced on Nov. 30. The U.S., along with Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago will compete in the 10-game round-robin format from Feb. 9-Oct. 12, 2005, with the top three teams automatically advancing to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.  The fourth-place team will compete in a two-game playoff to be held Nov. 12/13 and Nov. 16 against the fifth-place finisher in Asian qualifying.  Drawn as Team 6 in the final round format, the U.S. faces a tricky road to Germany as their first two games will take place on the road.  The U.S. gets its consecutive home dates for Matches 3 & 4 and 6 & 7, and will then face another two away matches before concluding final round play in the United States.  Venues for the five home matches for the U.S. will be announced as they become finalized.
2006 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Schedule – CONCACAF Final Round

Playoff (*home team will be determined by lottery at the conclusion of the final round)
Date                Match-up
*Nov. 12/13    AFC #5 vs. CONCACAF #4
*Nov. 16         AFC #5 vs. CONCACAF #4


U-20 MNT SNAG TWO VICTORIES ON SATURDAY, GET SET FOR TWO MORE GAMES TODAY: The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team kicked off the first of two days of games during their 12-day training camp at The Home Depot Center on Dec. 18, splitting into two teams (Grey and Blue), both of which came away with one-goal victories. The Grey team used an early goal by Chad Barrett to cruise to a 1-0 victory against the Canadian Under-20 Men's National Team in the morning, while the Blue team got goals from Sacha Kljestan and Jacob Peterson to topple a tough Necaxa team 2-1. The players had the day off on Dec. 19, but will play a second match versus Canada, facing off at 10 a.m. PT. The final match will be against a collection of local college players today at 3 p.m. PT. Head coach Sigi Schmid stayed unbeaten, snagging his third and fourth straight victory in his second camp since taking over the team in late October. Schmid’s previous victories were against Honduras (2-0) and Mexico (2-1) during the coach’s first camp in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in November. The 12-day camp, which kicked off on Dec. 12 and ends on Thursday (Dec. 23), will be crucial as Schmid prepares to whittle the 30 players invited in this camp down to 18 for the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament from Jan. 12-16, which will also be at The Home Depot Center.
U-20 MNT Results / Schedule
Date             Opponent             Result       U.S. Goal Scorers
Dec. 18        Canada                1-0 W       Barrett
Dec. 18        Necaxa                2-1 W       Kljestan, Peterson
Dec. 20        Canada
Dec. 20        L.A. Area Select  

U-17 MEN DEFEAT AUSTRALIA 2-1 FOR THIRD VICTORY OVER QANTAS JOEYS: The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team defeated the Australia Under-17 Men’s National Team 2-1 in a fantastic finish that saw all three goals scored in the final ten minutes of the match on Dec. 15. The U.S. took the lead in the 82nd minute as Peri Marosevic fed Gabriel Farfan, who finished past the Australian ‘keeper. When Australia found the equalizer in the 89th minute, it appeared the match would end as a draw, but in the fourth minute of extra time Farfan found Neven Subotic with a pass that the defender was able to bury into the net for the victory. The victory was the Under-17s third victory over the Qantas Joeys in the past two weeks as head coach John Hackworth used all 40 players in U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program to form four different lineups for each match-up. The U.S. U-17s also defeated Australia 2-0 on Dec. 2 and 4-1 on Dec. 9, while also snagging a 1-1 draw on Dec. 4.
U-17 MNT Results
Date             Opponent            Result        U.S. Goal Scorers
Dec. 2          Australia              2-0 W       Soroka, Sarkodie
Dec. 4          Australia              1-1 T         Altidore
Dec. 9          Australia              4-1 W       Ababio, Soroka (2), Zimmerman
Dec. 15        Australia              2-1 W       Farfan, Subotic

U-17s TO FACE EL SALVADOR, COSTA RICA AND CUBA AS CONCACAF QUALIFYING SET: The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team discovered its other two opponents in Group A of the 2005 CONCACAF Under-17 Final Round Qualifying Tournament, which will take place in Costa Rica from April 12-16, as Cuba and El Salvador advanced this past Friday. Cuba advanced to the 2005 CONCACAF Under-17 Final Round Qualification after eliminating Trinidad & Tobago 6-2 on aggregate in the Caribbean Zone Second Round Series 1. After taking the first-leg 3-1 at the Estadio Pedro Marrero in La Habana, Cuba on Nov. 26, Cuba beat T&T by the same score in the return leg on Dec. 10. El Salvador advanced to the final round by winning the U-17 Central Zone Qualifying this past weekend, defeating Guatemala 1-0 and Nicaragua 9-0. Group B was also finalized as Honduras defeated Panama and Belize to advance to the final round of qualifying. The top team from each group qualifies to the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championships in Peru, while the two runners up from each group meet in a home-and-home playoff for the last berth.


FIFA WOMEN'S WORLD CUP TO STAY ON CURRENT FOUR-YEAR CYCLE: FIFA's Executive Committee on Dec. 19 made a number of decisions in regards to women's soccer at the world governing bodies end-of-the-year meeting in Zurich. The most prominent of those decisions was to retain the current FIFA Women's World Cup cycle (i.e. every four years in an odd year: 2003, 2007, 2011, etc.). The Executive Committee has twice previously proposed moving the event into the same calendar year as the men's FIFA World Cup, and thus moving it into a bi-annual cycle with the Olympics. However, the Dec. 19 decision keeps the FIFA Women's World Cup in a stand alone year, one year in advance of each Olympic championship.

FIFA U-19 WOMEN'S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TO BECOME U-20 EVENT: Additionally, the Executive Committee announced they would bring the FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship in line with the FIFA World Youth Championship as of 2006 by making it a U-20 competition and allowing 16 teams to participate instead of the current 12. The U.S. U-19 WNT won the inaugural 2002 tournament and finished third in 2004. With that decision in mind, the committee also provisionally awarded the 2006 competition to the Football Union of Russia. The FIFA ExCo also committed to creating a coordinated international match calendar for women's soccer and pledged to examine the possibility of creating a U-18 Women's World Championship.

D.C., K.C. LEARN OPPONENTS, SCHEDULE FOR 2005 CONCACAF CHAMPIONS CUP: CONCACAF announced last week the schedule and match-ups for the 2005 Champions' Cup, which dates back to 1962 and is the longest running international club competition in the region.  D.C. United and the Kansas City Wizards will represent the United States in the eight-team competition, to be staged as two-leg, straight knockout, home-and-away series, from March 9 to May 11, 2005. The respective series venues and kickoff times will be announced in the near future.  D.C. United, which became the first MLS team to win the tournament in 1998, will host the first game of the quarterfinal series on March 9 against Jamaican clubs Harbour View FC or Tivoli Gardens FC, who will play on Wednesday (Dec. 22) for the Caribbean club championship.  The return leg will be played in Jamaica on March 16. The winner of that series will play the winner of the series between CD Olimpia of Honduras and three-time CONCACAF Champions' Cup winners UNAM Pumas of Mexico (1980, 1982, 1989) in one of the two semifinal series.  The Kansas City Wizards, who reached the semifinals of the 2002 CONCACAF Champions Cup tournament, take on two-time CONCACAF Champions' Cup winners Deportivo Saprissa of Costa Rica (1993, 1995). Kansas City will host the first leg on March 9, returning to Costa Rica for the second leg on March 16. The winner of the series will face the winner of the match-up between CF Monterrey (Mexico) and CSD Municipal (Guatemala) in the other semifinal series. The winner of the eight-team tournament will qualify to the 2005 FIFA Club World Championship to be held in Japan in December 2005 to determine the world's top club.

NOMINATIONS STILL BEING ACCEPTED FOR 2004 FRICKER BUILDER AWARD: Nominations are still being accepted for the 2005 U.S. Soccer Werner Fricker Builder Award, honoring the late U.S. Soccer President Werner J. Fricker. The annual award is presented to an individual or individuals that have worked tirelessly in furthering the interest of the sport of soccer, without regard to personal recognition or advancement. The honoree(s) will have created or fostered programs that will outlast his or her own active involvement in the sport and that establish a lasting legacy in the history and structure of soccer in the United States. Fricker himself was honored posthumously with the inaugural award in 2002.  U.S. Soccer Vice President Sunil Gulati received the award in 2003. With U.S. Soccer’s Annual General Meeting moving from the summer months to March, no award was bestowed in 2004. Interested persons can nominate individuals for the annual Werner Fricker Builder Award at, with applications needing to be postmarked by January 1, 2005.


PEAK PERFORMER:  U.S. MNT midfielder DaMarcus Beasley continues on his tear through the European soccer ranks, excelling in both Champions League play and domestic league play to make a strong case for 2004 U.S. Soccer Chevy Male Athlete of the Year honors.  In the Champions League, he has three goals in the competition and helped PSV Eindhoven to the final 16, where they will meet Monaco. In the Dutch domestic league, he scored his fourth goal last week and has helped the club into a tie for first place.

MARQUEE MATCH-UP:  Now that he’s been loaned from Manchester United to fellow English Premier League club Blackburn, it will be interesting to see if 18-year-old U.S. defender Jonathan Spector will get a start when Rovers host Newcastle United on Sunday (Dec. 26), England’s historic Boxing Day.

SOCCER SHOCKER: When the Round of 16 match-ups were unveiled at last week’s Champions League draw, nobody could have expected the number of classic match-ups that will occur so early in the home-and-home knockout competition.  With just one winner from the powerhouse pairings of Liverpool-Leverkusen, Bayern-Arsenal, ManU-Milan, Barcelona-Chelsea and Real Madrid-Juventus, it could be the most open tournament in years.

QUOTABLE:  “I can't imagine living without the Kansas City Wizards at this point.”
        --Wizards die hard fan Chad Reynolds, after the announcement last week that the club is up for sale (from The Kansas City Star)