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U.S. Soccer Wire: Wambach's Hat Trick Leads U.S. over Norway


WAMBACH NOTCHES FIRST EVER HAT TRICK VERSUS RIVAL, EVENS ALL-TIME SERIES: The U.S. Women's National Team roared to a resounding 4-1 victory over Norway to win the 2004 Algarve Cup as Abby Wambach scored three times and 20-year-old Lindsay Tarpley tallied once to give the Americans their third tournament championship of the year. With her hat trick (the first ever by a U.S. WNT player against Norway), Wambach won the tournament's Top Scorer award with four goals while defensive midfielder Shannon Boxx was named the Best Player of the tournament.  The USA now adds the Algarve Cup trophy to the CONCACAF crown and Four Nations Tournament title won over the last three months. The win evened the all-time series at 18-18-2, the first time the USA has been at .500 with Norway since the 1991 Women's World Cup Final, and extended the USA's winning streak over Norway to an unprecedented five games, the longest ever between the two rivals.  In addition, the young goal scorers gave the U.S. veterans a win in what may be their final match against Norway should the group retire from international play after the 2004 Olympics. The victory marked the third Algarve Cup title for the USA, all under Heinrichs, coming in 2000, 2003 and now 2004. The U.S. won Group A earlier last week with six points and a superior goal differential after defeating Denmark 1-0 on March 16 on an Angela Hucles goal before being upset by Sweden 3-1 on March 18 in its final group match.
WNT Results
Date            Opponent        Result       U.S. Goal Scorers
March 14    France             5-1 W      Wambach, Hamm, Hucles (2), Tarpley
March 16    Denmark         1-0 W       Hucles
March 18    Sweden           1-3 L        Reddick
March 20    Norway           4-1 W      Wambach (3), Tarpley

U.S. MEN TO MEET MEXICO ON APRIL 28 AT COTTON BOWL IN TEXAS SHOWDOWN: The U.S. Men’s National Team will resume one of the best rivalries in the world when they face arch rival and 2002 World Cup foe Mexico on Wednesday, April 28 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Kickoff for the game is set for 7:30 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live coast-to-coast on Telemundo. Fans can also follow the game live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. Ticket information for the game, which is being presented by Budweiser, will be announced this week. Check ussoccer.com for more information. The USA has dominated the series of late, winning five of the last seven meetings, with all of the victories coming by shutout. Mexico leads the lifetime series with a record of 28-10-10, dating all the way back to 1934. The competition between the two nations reached its pinnacle in the summer of 2002 when the teams met for the first time as World Cup opponents in the Round of 16 on June 17 in Jeonju, Korea. In their last meeting, the U.S. and Mexico played to a spirited 0-0 draw in 2003 in front of 69,582 fans at a sold-out Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. That match marked the sixth shutout for the U.S. in their past seven games against the Mexicans and third in a row.

ARENA TO NAME ROSTER FOR MARCH 31 POLAND MATCH TOMORROW AT 1 P.M. ET: U.S. Men’s National Team manager Bruce Arena will name his roster for the March 31 friendly versus 2002 World Cup foe Poland on Wednesday (March 24) at 1 p.m. ET exclusively at ussoccer.com. The match, which will televised live on ESPN2 at 1:30 p.m. ET, will be the first of two matches versus the Eastern European nation. The two teams will meet again on Sunday, July 11 at Soldier Field in Chicago at 6 p.m. CT live on ESPN2 in what marks the U.S. MNT’s first match in the Windy City in more than 11 years. Fans can also follow the game live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. Ticket information for the match, which is part of a unique doubleheader that also features the Chicago Fire hosting the New England Revolution at 8:30 p.m. CT, will be announced at a later date. In their history, the U.S. has played Poland more times than any other European opponent (12, dating all the way back to 1924). Poland leads the all-time series with a 7-4-1 record, including a 3-1 victory in the final Group D match in the 2002 World Cup. The USA took the spoils in the last meeting on U.S. soil, a 3-1 victory on May 9, 1990 in Hershey, Pa. The U.S. is making its first appearance in the Windy City since June 13, 1993, a 4-3 loss to Germany. Overall, the U.S. holds a 1-2-1 record in Chicago, including a 1-0 loss to the Poles in 1973.

– U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –

U.S. MEN’S HOME, AWAY MATCH DATES SET FOR WORLD CUP QUALIFYING SEMIFINALS: CONCACAF, the governing body of soccer for the North American, Central American and Caribbean region, announced the results of the draw to determine the schedule and order of matches of the semifinal round of 2006 World Cup Qualifying last week.  The United States, should it advance to the semi-final round, would open the four-team, six-match round robin competition on the road on Aug. 18 in Jamaica or Haiti. The first U.S. home game is scheduled for Sept. 4, likely against El Salvador or Bermuda. The U.S. would play three of their first four games on the road before closing with home matches on Oct. 13 and November 17.  Sites for all of the U.S. World Cup qualifying games have yet to be determined.
2004 MNT Schedule
Date               Opponent                Venue                                           Kickoff / TV
March 31       Poland                     Plock Stadium; Plock, Poland        1:30 p.m. ET / ESPN2  
April 28          Mexico                   Cotton Bowl; Dallas                       7:30 p.m. CT / Telemundo
June 2            TBD                        TBD; United States                        TBD
June 13          Grenada *                TBD; United States                       1 p.m. ET / ESPN2 & Telemundo
June 20          Grenada *                St. George's, Grenada                   4 p.m. ET / ESPN2 & Telemundo
July 11           Poland                      Soldier Field; Chicago                  6 p.m. CT / ESPN2
Aug. 18          Jamaica or Haiti **                                         TBD (road)                   TBD
Sept. 4           El Salvador, Bermuda or Montserrat **          TBD (home)                  TBD
Sept. 8           Panama, St. Lucia or B.V. Islands **              TBD (road)                   TBD
Oct. 10          El Salvador, Bermuda or Montserrat **          TBD (road)                   TBD
Oct. 13          Panama, St. Lucia or B.V. Islands **              TBD (home)                  TBD
Nov. 17         Jamaica or Haiti **                                          TBD (home)                 TBD

* World Cup Qualifying Preliminary Round
** World Cup Qualifying Semifinal Round (if necessary)

– U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –

U.S. WOMEN TO OPEN DOMESTIC SCHEDULE VS. BRAZIL IN BIRMINGHAM ON APRIL 24: The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team will play its first domestic match of 2004 against Brazil on Saturday, April 24, at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama.  The game kicks off at 12 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on ESPN2 as U.S. fans will get their first look at the core of players who will participate in the 2004 Olympics, should the USA qualify in Costa Rica this week. Advance tickets ranging in price levels from $18 to $50 are on sale now at all Ticketmaster outlets throughout Alabama (including Publix, Coconuts and Wherehouse Music), by phone at 1-800-277-1700, and online at ussoccer.com.  Groups of 20 or more can order through the Alabama Sports Foundation at 205-967-4745. The match at the historic stadium will be the second trip in as many years to Birmingham, home of U.S. defender Cat Reddick.  The USA trounced England 6-0 in May 2003 as Reddick played 90 minutes in her first appearance for the national team in the city where she was a high-school All-American at Briarwood Christian School and two-time Alabama Girl’s Soccer Player of the Year.

U.S. WOMEN HEADED TO ALBUQUERQUE TO FACE FELLOW OLYMPIAN MEXICO ON MAY 9: The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team will play its second domestic match of 2004 against fellow CONCACAF Olympic qualifier Mexico on Sunday, May 9, at University Stadium on the campus of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 at 1 p.m. MT as fans can watch the U.S. women in their continuing preparation for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. The match will be the first ever for the U.S. Women’s National Team in New Mexico, which will become the 30th state, along with the District of Columbia, to host a U.S. women’s match.  The U.S. Men’s National Team has played in New Mexico just once prior, dropping a 2-0 decision to Chile at University Stadium on April 30, 1994, less than two months prior to the 1994 World Cup. Tickets ranging in price levels from $18 to $40 are on sale now by calling 505-925-5858 or (toll free) 1-800-905-3315, or by visiting any Raley's or Western Warehouse stores in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Groups of 20 or more can order discounted tickets through U.S. Soccer by calling 312-528-1290.

– U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

U-21s OPEN CHINA TOUR WITH 4-0 WIN, PLAY YOUTH, FULL NATIONAL TEAMS THIS WEEK: On the heels of the full Women's National Team, which participated in the Four Nations Tournament in China last January, the U.S. Under-21 Women's National Team traveled to the Far East last week for three matches in and around Shanghai, China. The U-21s got its tour of China off to a good start with a 4-0 victory over Shanghai SVA yesterday (March 21) at Shanghai University. The U.S. darted out to a 3-0 lead just 24 minutes into the match as Natasha Kai (3rd minute), Joanna Lohman (16th) and Sarah Huffman (24th) all found the back of the net. In the second half, Nandi Pryce scored the final goal off a pass from Carli Lloyd. U.S. goalkeepers Jenni Branam and Nicole Barnhart had a quiet day as the U.S. defense only allowed SVA to get a single shot on goal in the entire match. The U.S. will next play the Chinese Youth National Team on Thursday (March 25).  The U-21s will then face one of the toughest tests in the young careers on Sunday (March 28) when they face the full Chinese National Team.
U-21 WNT Results / Schedule
Date                Opponent               Result    U.S. Goal Scorers
March 21        Shanghai SVA        4-0 W    Kai, Lohman, Huffman, Pryce
March 25        China YNT   
March 28        China WNT

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

FOUDY NAMED TO USOC NOMINATING AND GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE:  U.S. Women's National Team captain Julie Foudy, who throughout her brilliant 17-year career has become one of the most influential female athletes of her era, has been named to the United States Olympic Committee's Nominating and Governance Committee, which is charged with the important and difficult task of electing the new USOC Board of Directors, Chair, and Ethics Committee.  In October 2003, the USOC leadership overwhelmingly voted to do away with the 123 board of directors in favor of new governance structure that would include four independent members, two members selected from six individuals nominated by the Athletes' Advisory Council, two members selected from six individuals nominated by the National Governing Bodies (NGB) Council, and the United States members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who will serve as ex officio directors.  Foudy is joined on the Committee by Indiana Supreme Court Justice Theodore R. Boehm, a former chair of the organizing committees for the 1987 Pan American Games and the 1982 National Sports Festival, Dr. Samuel L. Guillory, an Associate Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology and Pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and a member of the Technical Committee for the United States Tennis Association (USTA), Robert S. Rollo, Vice Chairman and Global Board of Directors Practice Leader for Highland Partners, an international executive search firm.  Rollo has been identified as one of the executive search industry's leading recruiters over the past 20 years and is a Vice Chair of the Los Angeles Sports Council.

1996 WOMEN’S OLYMPIC TEAM NOMINATED FOR REVIVED USOC HALL OF FAME: The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) announced last week the return of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, which has been inactive since 1992. Fans can log onto usolympicteam.com, the official site of the U.S. Olympic Team, until April 14 to vote for one of 19 individual finalists and one of six team finalists, including the 1996 U.S. Women’s Olympic Team that took the first ever gold medal in the sport. The U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame returns to its roots in Chicago where the charter class was enshrined in 1983, with such Olympic legends as Bob Beamon, Cassius Clay, Peggy Fleming, Jesse Owens, Wilma Rudolph, Mark Spitz, Jim Thorpe and the 1980 Hockey Team. Annual additions continued through 1992, adding Olympic legends such as Donna de Varona, Dorothy Hamill, Sugar Ray Leonard, Carl Lewis, Greg Louganis, Phil Mahre, and Mary Lou Retton. The Hall of Fame consists of 151 Distinguished Members, including 68 athletes from individual sports, five teams and 11 special contributors.

*** U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: The attack-minded tandem of Abby Wambach (9 goals, 5 assists; 23 points) and Lindsay Tarpley (7 goals, 2 assists; 16 points) have become quite a force for the U.S. Women’s National Team early in this important Olympic year, leading the team in scoring and leading the squad to its third trophy of 2004. In January, Tarpley led all scorers with three goals in three games to help the U.S. win the Four Nations Tournament in China. In Costa Rica earlier this month, Wambach ruled the CONCACAF competition, scoring in each of the team’s five matches to secure a berth to Athens 2004. At the Algarve Cup in Portugal, Wambach again averaged a goal per game, topping all U.S. and tournament scorers with four goals. Tarpley added a pair in both the CONCACAF Women’s Qualifying Tournament and the Algarve Cup, giving her seven goals on the year after not registering a single point in eight appearances in 2003.

MARQUEE MATCH-UP: The final night of the unique Carolina Challenge Cup pits the defending A-League champion Charleston Battery facing the 2003 Pro Select League champion Wilmongton Hammerheads in a special intra-league battle on Saturday (March 27) at 6 p.m. ET at Blackbaud Stadium. The three-league invitational tournament concludes later that night with D.C. United meeting the Columbus Crew in a match-up of two new-and-improved MLS teams at 8:15 p.m.

QUOTABLE: "There have been times over the last four plus years where I have been painfully aware of the fact that Norway leads the overall series. But I have to admit on a personal level, it's been one of my goals as a coach to right that discrepancy. For us to do it in the biggest games, in the World Cup and in Algarve Cup finals, is a tribute to our mental toughness."
           --U.S. WNT head coach April Heinrichs, whose team defeated Norway in both the 2000 and now 2004 Algarve Cup finals

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