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U.S. Soccer Wire: U-23s Face Panama Tuesday in First Olympic Qualifier


U.S. UNDER-23s TO KICK OFF OLYMPIC QUALIFYING TOMORROW AGAINST PANAMA: The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team will face Panama Tuesday (Feb. 3) at Estadio Tres de Marzo in Guadalajara, Mexico, in their first match of Group A in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Kickoff for the match is at 8 p.m. CT, and can be followed live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. Head coach Glenn Myernick brought a 22-player travel roster to Guadalajara when the team arrived on Jan. 22 to train in advance of the eight-team qualifying tournament, but had to trim the roster to a final 20 before CONCACAF’s Jan. 31 deadline. The U.S. roster is led by current U.S. Men’s National Team stars Landon Donovan (San Jose Earthquakes), DaMarcus Beasley (Chicago Fire) and Bobby Convey (D.C. United). After their opening match, the U.S. will face Canada on Feb. 5 and Honduras on Feb. 7. The top two finishers in Group A will advance to the semifinals, where they will meet the top two teams from Group B, which includes Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico and T&T. The two semifinal winners earn automatic berths to Athens 2004 in August.

U.S. U-23 MNT Olympic Qualifying Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): D.J. Countess, Doug Warren; DEFENDERS (8): Nat Borchers, Jose Luis Burciaga, Ricky Lewis, Chad Marshall, Logan Pause, David Stokes, Zak Whitbread, Chris Wingert; MIDFIELDERS (7): DaMarcus Beasley, Kyle Beckerman, Brian Carroll, Bobby Convey, Brad Davis, Eddie Gaven, Ed Johnson; FORWARDS (3): Landon Donovan, Alecko Eskandarian, David Testo.

U.S. U-23 MNT Schedule (*if necessary)
2004 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Final Round) -- Mexico

Date                Opponent                    Venue                                         Kickoff (local/CT)
Feb. 3              Panama                         Estadio Tres de Marzo            8 p.m.
Feb. 5              Canada                         Estadio Tres de Marzo            8 p.m.
Feb. 7              Honduras                     Estadio Tres de Marzo            1 p.m.
Single Elimination
Date                 Opponent                        Venue                                      Kickoff (local/CT)
Feb. 10*           Semifinals (B1 or B2)     Estadio Jalisco                        5:30 p.m. / 8 p.m.
Feb. 12*           Third Place / Final          Estadio Jalisco                       5:30 p.m. / 8 p.m.


U.S. WNT FACES CANADA WITH FOUR NATIONS TITLE UP FOR GRABS:
The U.S. Women’s National Team controls its own destiny towards the tournament championship but definitely needs a win over Canada on Tuesday, Feb. 3 at Shenzhen Stadium in Shenzhen, China to clinch the Four Nations Tournament title for the second year in a row. The U.S. sits in first place with four points (and a +3 goal differential) as they defeated Sweden 3-0 in their opening match last Friday (Jan. 30) behind a header by Shannon Boxx and two strikes from Lindsay Tarpley (her first two full international goals). Two days later, the U.S. battled China to a scoreless draw. China also has four points after beating Canada 2-1 in their opening match, but sits just below the U.S. with a lower goal differential (+1), while Sweden is in third place with three points from one win and Canada has zero points after dropping both of its matches. China and Sweden have the luxury of playing the second match of the day, so both will know what score they need to achieve to earn the highest placement possible. The goal Canada scored on China in the 90th minute of their match may turn out to be a big one for the USA, which carries its two-goal difference advantage over China into the last match day.

U.S. WNT Results/Schedule – Four Nations Tournament – Shenzhen, China
Date        Opponent     Result      U.S. Goal Scorers
Jan. 30    Sweden         3-0 W       Tarpley(2), Boxx                      
Feb. 1     China             0-0 T         --                   
Feb. 3     Canada        


U.S. MNT TO PARTICIPATE IN A TRAINING CAMP AT IMG ACADEMY IN BRADENTON, FLA.:
U.S. Men’s National Team manager Bruce Arena has invited 17 players to participate in a training camp beginning February 4 at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The group will train for ten days prior to departing for the USA’s first road match of 2004 against fourth-ranked Holland on Feb. 18 in Amsterdam. Kickoff for the match at the Amsterdam ArenA is set for 2:30 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Fans can also follow the match on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The final roster for the Holland match will consist of a mix of European and domestic-based players, with a likely 20-man roster to be announced prior to the team’s departure for Amsterdam on Feb. 13. The foreign-based players will join the traveling contingent in Holland after completing club play the weekend of Feb. 13-15. All 17 players on the Bradenton training camp roster were part of the group that recently completed an 18-day stint at the National Training Center in Carson, Calif. Bradenton will host a bevy of soccer activity in the beginning of February, as four MLS teams will open their 2004 training camps while the U.S. MNT is in residence. After posting a 10-4-2 record in 2003, which included a third place finish at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the United States will embark this year on the road to qualification for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. The U.S. begins CONCACAF qualifying June 13, 2004, against the winner of the home-and-away series between Grenada and Guyana, with their first match scheduled to be played in the United States. With the semifinal round slated to begin Aug. 18, the U.S. will play a series of friendlies in preparation throughout the year.

U.S. MNT Training Camp Roster – Bradenton, Fla.
GOALKEPERS (2): Joe Cannon (Colorado Rapids), Jonny Walker (MetroStars); DEFENDERS (5): Danny Califf (Los Angeles Galaxy), Nick Garcia (Kansas City Wizards), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Rich Kotschau (Colorado Rapids), Eddie Pope (MetroStars); MIDFIELDERS (6): Chris Albright (Los Angeles Galaxy), Chris Armas (Chicago Fire), Chris Klein (Kansas City Wizards), Richard Mulrooney (San Jose Earthquakes), Steve Ralston (New England Revolution), Kerry Zavagnin (Kansas City Wizards); FORWARDS (4): Pat Noonan (New England Revolution), Ante Razov (Chicago Fire), Josh Wolff (Kansas City Wizards), John Wolyniec (MetroStars).


U.S. WNT TO OPEN CONCACAF OLYMPIC QUALIFYING IN COSTA RICA AGAINST T&T:
The U.S. Women’s National Team will open up Group A of the 2004 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Final Round in Costa Rica on Wednesday, February 25 against Trinidad & Tobago at 3 p.m. CT at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose. For its second match, the U.S. switches venues to Estadio Eladio Rosabal Cordero in Heredia to face Haiti on Friday, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. CT. The U.S. returns to Estadio Nacional in San Jose for the final group play match on Sunday, Feb. 29 vs. Mexico at 3 p.m. CT. The semifinals will be played on March 3 in San Jose and the Final/Third Place match will be played March 5 in Heredia. All U.S. matches will be available live via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The two semifinal winners will earn the CONCACAF’s automatic berths to Athens.

U.S. WNT Schedule (*if necessary)
2004 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying (Final Round) -- Costa Rica

Date            Opponent                           Venue; City                                          Kickoff (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; City                                            Kickoff (CT)
March 3*     Semifinals (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. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

CONCACAF QUALIFICATION DATES FOR U-19 WOMEN SET: The U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team will head Group B at the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament in Canada for the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Thailand from November 20-27, 2004. The CONCACAF Qualification tournament will be held at McGill University’s Percival Molson Stadium in Montreal and Frank Clair Stadium in Ottawa from May 28 – June 6, 2004. Eight teams, four in each group, will participate in the competition from which the top two will qualify for the second FIFA World Championship for youth women. Canada will head Group A. A record 21 National Associations are currently competing in CONCACAF preliminary zonal competitions for the final six positions. The tournament will begin on Friday, May 28 with double-headers played at both venues. The top two countries in each group will advance to the semifinals scheduled for Friday, June 4 in Montreal. The final will be played on Sunday, June 6 at 1 p.m. ET in Ottawa. The USA will open its tournament on May 28 in Ottawa, play its second match in Montreal on May 30, and then finish first round play back in Montreal on June 1. Sportsnet will broadcast all the Canadian games live. Canada staged a highly successful U-19 World Championship in 2002, as 47,784 spectators attended the title game. The USA defeated Canada 1-0 in extra time at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium on September 1, 2002 in the inaugural FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship.

Under-19 Women’s CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament Schedule – Montreal/Ottawa, Canada
Date          Venue; City                                                        Time (ET)– Competitors
May 28     Percival Molson Stadium; Montreal              4:30 p.m. – B2 vs. B3
May 28     Percival Molson Stadium; Montreal              7:00 p.m. – Canada vs. A4
May 28     Frank Clair Stadium; Ottawa                            4:30 p.m. – A2 vs. A3
May 28     Frank Clair Stadium; Ottawa                            7:00 p.m. – USA vs. B4
May 30     Percival Molson Stadium; Montreal              3:30 p.m. – B2 vs. B4
May 30     Percival Molson Stadium; Montreal              6:00 p.m. – USA vs. B3
May 30     Frank Clair Stadium; Ottawa                            3:30 p.m. – A2 vs. A4
May 30     Frank Clair Stadium; Ottawa                            6:00 p.m. – Canada vs. A3
June 1       Percival Molson Stadium; Montreal              3:30 p.m. – B3 vs. B4
June 1       Percival Molson Stadium; Montreal              7:00 p.m. – USA vs. B2
June 1       Frank Clair Stadium; Ottawa                            3:30 p.m. – A3 vs. A4
June 1       Frank Clair Stadium; Ottawa                            7:00 p.m. – Canada vs. A2
Semifinals
June 4       Percival Molson Stadium; Montreal                5:30 – Group B Winner vs. Group A Runner-up
June 4       Percival Molson Stadium; Montreal                8:00 – Group A Winner vs. Group B Runner-up
Third-Place Game
June 6       Frank Clair Stadium; Ottawa                              10:00 a.m.
Final
June 6       Frank Clair Stadium; Ottawa                               11:00 p.m.


U-17 ‘87s GET SET FOR TWO MATCHES AT NATIONAL TRAINING CENTER: The U.S. Under-17 ‘87s Men’s National Team will play two matches this week during their training camp at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. John Ellinger’s squad will go up against a few familiar faces when they face UCLA on Thursday, Feb. 5 as three U.S. Soccer Residency graduates – Jordan Harvey, Brandon Owens and Jose Gomez – are on the Bruins roster. The U.S. will then finish their week-long camp with a match against another Residency graduate when they take on Guillermo Gonzalez and his L.A. Galaxy teammates on Friday, Feb. 6. 

U-17 MNT Schedule – NTC Training Camp
Date        Opponent
Feb. 5      UCLA
Feb. 6      L.A. Galaxy


– AROUND THE SOCCER REGION –

McBRIDE, MATHIS SCORE IN DEBUT GAMES IN EUROPE:
U.S. Men’s National Team forwards Brian McBride and Clint Mathis both scored goals in their debut games this past weekend with their new teams in Europe. McBride, who joined fellow MNT defender Carlos Bocanegra at Fulham two weeks ago, scored in his debut on Saturday (Jan. 31), beating goalkeeper and U.S. teammate Kasey Keller in the 67th minute in a 2-1 victory over Tottenham in the Premier League. The former Columbus Crew forward came off the bench for the winning goal, punching in a rebound after Keller stopped a short header from teammate Ian Pearce. This was the second time in two years McBride has scored in his first game with a Premier League team, as he scored in his debut with Everton last year, coincidentally beating Keller in that instance as well. Mathis scored in his debut in Germany's top league on Sunday (Feb. 1) in the 27th minute, helping Hannover 96 to a 3-2 victory over Hamburger SV. The former MetoStars forward scored Hannover’s second goal after receiving a quick pass from Thomas Brdaric on a through run and slipping the ball past the charging goalie despite having defenders on each shoulder. Mathis, who also took all of Hannover's corner kicks and split the free kicks with a teammate, left the field after 80 minutes, hobbling slightly and receiving treatment on the sideline. The injury does not appear serious.

TIM HOWARD NAMED GOALKEEPER OF THE MONTH FOR DECEMBER 2003:
U.S. Men’s National Team and Manchester United goalkeeper Tim Howard was named to European Sports Magazines’ "Team of the Month" for December 2003, which was released last week. Howard was named the best goalkeeper of the month, receiving three out of 10 votes, beating out Ivan Pelizzoli of league-leading Roma in Italy’s Serie A, who received two votes. ESM’s "Team of the Month" is voted on by 10 soccer magazines in different countries across Europe. The three magazines that voted for Howard were Fanatik (Turkey), Voetbal International (Holland) and World Soccer (United Kingdom). During the month of December, United’s first choice goalkeeper started and played every minute of the team’s five league matches, leading them to victory in each encounter. Howard was magnificent in goal, allowing only four goals against and posting two clean sheets. Howard has only been with the team since July 14 when he was transferred from the MLS to the world-renowned English Premier League club. Two weeks later, he became the first American goalkeeper to start for Manchester United, making his debut in the USA tour match against Juventus at his old stomping grounds of Giants Stadium. Howard soon established himself as the first choice keeper and during his six months with his new team has started 30 matches, posting a 23-5-2 record, with only 21 goals allowed and 14 clean sheets. Also voted to ESM’s "Team of the Month" for December 2003 were Christian Chivu (Roma), Walter Samuel (Roma), Mladen Krstajic (Werder Bremen), Amantino Mancini (Roma), Francesco Totti (Roma), Pernambucano Juninho (Lyon), Goncalves Ailton (Werder Bremen), Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid), Ronaldo (Real Madrid) and Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United).

2004 MISL ALL-STAR TICKETS ON SALE NOW: Tickets for the 2004 MISL All-Star Sunday on Feb. 29 at The Family Arena in St. Louis, Mo., which will feature the MISL All-Star Game and MISL Legends Game, are on sale now. The first All-Star Game ever hosted by The Family Arena will feature the very best MISL players in a USA vs. International format. The All-Star Game will kick off at 1:05 p.m., and will be followed by the Legends Game, matching a team of MISL Legends against a St. Louis Steamers Legends team. The Legends Game will feature a galaxy of former indoor greats, including former Steamers standouts Steve Pecher, Tony Glavin, and Slobo Ilijevski. Tickets may be purchased at The Family Arena box office, by phone (314-534-1111 or 800-293-5949), at over 40 MetroTix outlets throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area, and online at www.metrotix.com. Substantial discounts and fundraising opportunities are available to students and soccer teams, companies and associations, and other groups, by calling the Steamers’ offices at 636-410-0388, ext. 501, or toll free at 1-866-STL-KICK (1-866-785-5425). Tickets are also available for the MISL’s All-Star Family Festival, the MISL’s daylong program of youth skills competitions, open practices for the All-Stars and Legends, autograph/photo sessions, and other soccer activities, taking place on Saturday, February 28, 2004 at The Family Arena. The two days of activities and events are part of the MISL’s third annual All-Star Weekend, a celebration of the game of indoor soccer and its stars of the past, present and future.

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

PEAK PERFORMER: U.S. Men’s National Team forwards Brian McBride and Clint Mathis both scored goals in their debut games this past weekend with their new teams in Europe. McBride scored in his debut with Fulham on Saturday, beating goalkeeper and U.S. teammate Kasey Keller in the 67th minute in a 2-1 victory over Tottenham in the Premier League, while Mathis scored in his debut in Germany's top league on Sunday (Feb. 1), leading Hannover to a 3-2 victory over Hamburger SV.

MARQUEE MATCH-UP:
The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team kicks off 2004 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying when it faces Panama tomorrow (Feb. 3) in their first match of Group A in the tournament at Estadio Tres de Marzo in Guadalajara, Mexico. Kickoff for the match is at 8 p.m. CT, and can be followed live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.

SOCCER SHOCKER: With McBride’s goal in his debut with Fulham on Saturday (Feb. 3) against fellow U.S. teammate Kasey Keller, the U.S. MNT forward has scored a total of five goals in nine games in the English Premier League. A year ago, McBride scored four goals in eight games with Everton, but even more shocking is that in his Premier League debut with Everton, he also scored against Keller.

QUOTABLE: “I don’t think anyone would want to wear 31 in the future, so it’s a good thing its getting retired.” 
- U.S. WNT defender Cat Reddick playing down the fact that she will be honored at halftime of the Duke-North Carolina basketball game on Thursday, Feb. 5 in front of 21,000 fans when she gets her UNC jersey retired.
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