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U.S. Soccer Wire: Athetes of the Year To Be Announced


CHEVROLET ATHLETE OF THE YEAR WINNERS TO BE NAMED THURSDAY IN L.A.: U.S. Soccer will be announcing the winners of the four 2003 Chevrolet Athlete of the Year awards -- Male, Female, Young Male and Young Female -- at a press conference on Thursday (Jan. 15) at 1 p.m. (PT) at the Stadium Club of The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Three of the four winners will be in attendance, as will U.S. Soccer President Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia, U.S. Men’s National Team manager Bruce Arena, and the entire U.S. Women’s National Team. The finalists for the top Male award include U.S. Men’s National Team stars like Redlands, Calif., native Landon Donovan, defender Carlos Bocanegra and Manchester United goalkeeper Tim Howard, while the Female award is a three-player race between young forward Abby Wambach and legends Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly. The winners of the top Chevrolet Athlete of the Year awards will receive their choice of a brand new Chevrolet TrailBlazer or Chevrolet Impala, while the youth winners will receive $1,000 donated to the U.S. Soccer Foundation in their name. As in years past, online votes for the annual awards were tallied and equivalent to 50 percent of the total votes, while the other 50 percent was represented by 100 votes that were compiled from members of the national media and U.S. Soccer representatives (from National Team coaches to the National Board of Directors).

U.S. MNT GETS SET FOR DENMARK AT THE HOME DEPOT CENTER ON SUNDAY: The U.S. Men’s National Team continued training at the National Training Center in Carson, Calif., in preparation for the USA’s first-ever match at The Home Depot Center against 13th-ranked Denmark on Jan. 18. Kickoff for the match is set for 12:30 p.m. PT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN. The U.S. and Denmark have met three times in their history, with the United States still in search of their first victory after posting a 0-1-2 record. The teams last faced off nearly seven years ago, with Denmark winning 4-1 in the final match of U.S. Cup ’97 in Pasadena, Calif. Despite its size, Denmark has a history of being one of the stronger and most consistent sides in Europe. Having qualified for their third consecutive World Cup finals, the Danes impressed by reaching the Round of 16 in the 2002 World Cup, emerging from group play with victories against defending champions France and Uruguay. Tickets for the Jan. 18 match are on sale now at all Los Angeles area Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone [L.A. 213-480-3232; Orange County 714-740-2000; San Diego 619-220-8497], or online at ussoccer.com. Tickets are priced at $50 for Midfield, $35 for Sideline, $27 for Corners, and $20 for Endlines. Information on group discounts is available by calling 312-528-1290.
  
ARENA TO CHAT LIVE ON ussoccer.com JAN. 14 at 12 p.m. ET:
  U.S. Men's National Team Manager Bruce Arena will answer questions from fans and media during ussoccer.com's first online chat of 2004 this Wednesday, Jan. 14 at 12 p.m. ET. Fans can log in to find out Arena's thoughts on the upcoming match against Denmark, his plans for the coming year, and the beginning of the qualifying road to World Cup 2006.  To log onto to the chat, visit ussoccerfan.com, where existing members can simply sign in and new members must register on the site before they are able to ask questions during the chat.

CONCACAF ANNOUNCES FIXTURES FOR WOMEN’S OLYMPIC QUALIFYING: CONCACAF has announced the dates, times and locations for the 2004 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Final Round, which will be played in Costa Rica from February 25 to March 7. The U.S. opens play in Group A on Wednesday, February 25 against Trinidad & Tobago at 3 p.m. CT at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose. For the second group play game, 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. The two semifinal winners will earn the CONCACAF’s automatic berths to Athens. Also, CONCACAF has announced that Panama has replaced Guatemala in the tournament due to Guatemala’s suspension by both CONCACAF and FIFA.
2004 CONCACAF WOMEN’S OLYMPIC FINAL ROUND QUALIFICATION
Group A: Costa Rica, Canada, Jamaica, Panama
Group B: USA, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago, Haiti
Date         Match                                           City;Venue                                     Kickoff (CT)
Feb. 25     Mexico vs. Haiti                        San Jose; Estadio Nacional             1 p.m.
Feb. 25     T&T vs. USA                            San Jose; Estadio Nacional             3 p.m.
Feb. 26     Canada vs. Jamaica                 Heredia; Eladio Rosabal Cordero     6 p.m.
Feb. 26     Costa Rica vs. Panama            Heredia; Eladio Rosabal Cordero     8 p.m.
Feb. 27     T&T vs. Mexico                       Heredia; Eladio Rosabal Cordero     6 p.m.
Feb. 27     Haiti vs. USA                           Heredia; Eladio Rosabal Cordero     8 p.m.
Feb. 28     Canada vs. Panama                 San Jose; Estadio Nacional             1 p.m.
Feb. 28     Costa Rica vs. Jamaica             San Jose; Estadio Nacional             3 p.m.
Feb. 29     Haiti vs. Trinidad & Tobago     San Jose; Estadio Nacional         1 p.m.
Feb. 29     USA vs. Mexico San Jose;     Estadio Nacional                             3 p.m.
Mar. 1     Jamaica vs. Panama                 Heredia; Eladio Rosabal Cordero     6 p.m.
Mar. 1     Costa Rica vs. Canada             Heredia; Eladio Rosabal Cordero     8 p.m.
Mar. 3     Semifinal #1 (A1 vs. B2)         San Jose; Estadio Nacional                 1 p.m.
Mar. 3     Semifinal #2 (B1 vs. A2)         San Jose; Estadio Nacional                 3:30 p.m.
Mar. 5     Third-Place                             Heredia; Eladio Rosabal Cordero         6 p.m.
Mar. 5     Final                                         Heredia; Eladio Rosabal Cordero         8 p.m.


U.S. WNT 27-PLAYER TRAINING CAMP KICKS OFF MONDAY: The U.S. Women’s National Team’s road to Athens, Greece started today (Monday) at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., as they kick off a busy 2004 schedule with an 11-day training camp followed by a trip to China for the annual Four Nations Tournament and the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament. U.S. WNT head coach April Heinrichs called in 27 players for the training camp and will choose a roster of 20 to travel to China where the USA will participate in a tournament that features three of the four semifinalists from the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Following the Four Nations Tournament, the U.S. will return to action for the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament taking place in Costa Rica from February 25-March 7. Of the 27 players named to the training camp roster, 18 are from the 2003 U.S. Women’s World Cup Team and the other nine are a combination of top WUSA players and young players looking to make their mark as the USA begins preparation for qualifying for the 2004 Olympics in Greece. The training camp roster includes all three U.S. players who made the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup All-Star Team in co-captain Joy Fawcett, midfielder Shannon Boxx and forward Mia Hamm, as well as veterans Brandi Chastain, Kristine Lilly and co-captain Julie Foudy. The roster does include two new names that belong to familiar players, as Christie Pearce and Kate Sobrero will now go by their married names of Rampone and Markgraf, respectively.
U.S. WNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (4): Jenni Branam, Briana Scurry, Kristen Luckenbill, Siri Mullinix;
DEFENDERS (8): Kylie Bivens, Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett, Kate Markgraf (*nee Sobrero), Heather Mitts, Amy LePeilbet, Christie Rampone (*nee Pearce), Cat Reddick;
MIDFIELDERS (10): Shannon Boxx, Lori Chalupny, Julie Foudy, Angela Hucles, Kristine Lilly, Leslie Osborne, Tiffany Roberts, Lindsay Tarpley, Stacey Tullock, Aly Wagner;
FORWARDS (5): Mia Hamm, Shannon MacMillan, Heather O’Reilly, Cindy Parlow, Abby Wambach.


– U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –

MNT DOWNS U-23 MNT 3-1 AS BOTH TEAMS CONTINUE TRAINING CAMP AT NTC:
During the past week of training at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center at The Home Depot Center, the U.S. MNT played its first of four scrimmages against the Under-23 MNT on Saturday (Jan. 10), snagging a 3-1 victory. The MNT fell behind when midfielder Kyle Beckerman lined up and cracked a 20-yard shot past MNT goalkeeper Joe Cannon to give the U-23s a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute. The MNT struck back in the 44th minute, making the most of a U-23 turnover, with midfielder Chris Klein putting John Wolyniec through, where he slipped a shot under the arm of a sliding Doug Warren. In the second half, the MNT turned the tables and controlled the flow of the game, breaking through for the game winner in the 65th minute when Josh Wolff sent a low cross from the right flank that Jeff Cunningham knocked home in traffic. The full team added a final goal in the 85th minute as Steve Ralston converted for the final result. The MNT and Under-23s will scrimmage twice today (Monday) and one final time on Wednesday, Jan. 14. The Under-23 MNT, which is in preparation before heading down to Guadalajara, Mexico, for the final round of the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament from Feb. 2-12, 2004, also played earlier in the day on Saturday, dropping a Los Angeles area select team, 4-0. Four minutes into the second half, the first of four unanswered goals was scored when midfielder Kyle Martino ran on to a Kelly Gray square ball and ripped the ball past goalkeeper Josh Saunders. The U-23s went ahead 2-0 in the 61st minute when midfielder Brad Davis exposed a poor free kick wall set-up and bent a perfect free kick to the far post from 25 yards out.  Forward Edson Buddle finished the opponent off, converting a pair of headers in the 66th and 73rd minutes.

USA TO TRAVEL TO AMSTERDAM FOR FIRST EVER ROAD MATCH VERSUS HOLLAND:
The U.S. Men’s National Team will travel to face fifth-ranked Holland on Feb. 18 at the vaunted Amsterdam ArenA. Kickoff for the match is set for 8:30 p.m. local time (2:30 p.m. ET), and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Fans can also follow the match live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The U.S. and Holland have met just twice in their history, both times on U.S. soil, with the United States dropping a pair of 2-0 losses. The teams last met in Foxboro, Mass., on May 19, 2002, in the USA’s third and final match of the Nike “Road to Korea” series. This will be the fifth time the MNT has traveled to Europe during Arena’s five-year tenure, with the U.S. still in search of their first victory.

– 2004 OLYMPIC QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT  –

U.S. U-23 MNT TO FACE PANAMA, CANADA & HONDURAS IN MEXICO IN FEBRUARY:
The U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team is set to face Panama, Canada and Honduras in the final round of 2004 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying, which will take place from February 2-12 in Guadalajara, Mexico. The USA will play all three Group A matches at Estadio Tres de Marzo, facing Panama first on Tuesday, Feb. 3, followed by matches against Canada on Thursday, Feb. 5 and Honduras on Sunday, Feb. 7. Kickoff times have yet to be determined for any of the final round matches, but all U.S. games can be followed by fans live via ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The tournament opens on Feb. 2 with Group B action featuring Costa Rica, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and the host nation at Estadio Jalisco. The top two teams from each group will meet in the single-elimination semifinals on Tuesday, Feb. 10 at Estadio Jalisco, with the winner of Group A meeting the second-place team from Group B, and the winner of Group B meeting the second-place team from Group A. The two semi-final winners will earn automatic berths to Athens 2004 and meet on Feb. 12.
Final Round – CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying (Men)
Group A: Canada, Honduras, Panama, USA
Group B: Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago

 
– U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE  –

UNDER-18 MNT DOWN UNDER-20 MNT AS BOTH TEAMS FINISH CAMPS AT NTC:
The U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team upset the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team 3-2 last Thursday (Jan. 8), as both teams finished up their week-long training camps at the National Training Center in Carson, Calif. Fresh off a cameo appearance with the full national team in training, midfielder Christian Jimenez put the Under-18s ahead in the 26th minute after converting a cross from forward Rodrigo Hidalgo. Just four minutes later, the U-20s – without the services of Freddy Adu and Danny Szetela, who returned to Bradenton, Fla., for end of the semester exams with U.S. Soccer's Under-17 residency program – leveled the score 1-1 as forward Jamie Watson found the end of a John DiRaimondo corner. On the day he announced his signing with Major League Soccer, Michael Bradley showed a skilled touch to score the U-18's second goal in the 58th minute. After collecting a backheel pass from Hidalgo, Bradley chipped U-20 goalkeeper Andrew Kartunen. Jimenez added an assist with a pass to Adam Sloustcher for the game winning tally. Making a good run toward goal, the defender headed home the corner kick from his U-17 residency teammate for the eventual game-winner in the 60th minute. A goal by Chad Barrett 10 minutes from time cut the lead to 3-2, but the Under-20s ran out of time in the end and were upset by the younger squad despite holding a 9-6 advantage on shots.

U-17 MNT GETS SET FOR THREE-GAME SERIES WITH ILLINOIS ODP THIS WEEKEND: The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Teams will play three games against the visiting U-17 Illinois Olympic Development Team this weekend at IMG in Bradenton, Fla. The U-17 ‘88s will play two games against the Illinois ODP, one on Friday, Jan. 16 and the other on Sunday, Jan. 18. The U-17 ‘87s will play only one game against the Illinois ODP on Saturday, Jan. 15.
U.S. Under-17 ‘87s
Date    Opponent
Jan. 17    Illinois ODP
U.S. Under-17 ‘88s
Date     Opponent
Jan. 16    Illinois ODP
Jan. 18    Illinois ODP


  – AROUND THE SOCCER WORLD  –


REDDICK, WINGERT NAMED TOP COLLEGIATE PLAYERS FOR 2003:
U.S. National Team defenders Cat Reddick of the University of North Carolina and Chris Wingert of St. John’s University were announced the winners of the 2003 Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy, presented to the top male and female players in NCAA Division I soccer. The presentation was made at a banquet last Friday night (Jan. 9) at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis, Mo. The winners were decided by a vote of current National Soccer Coaches Association of America members at the NCAA Division I level. Reddick won the award despite spending the beginning of the collegiate season starting for the U.S. Women’s National Team in place of an injured Brandi Chastain during the 2003 Women’s World Cup. She returned to UNC after the tournament and registered six goals and five assists in 13 matches, helping the Tar Heels go 27-0-0 in their historic undefeated season. Wingert, currently in camp with the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team, helped lead St. John’s to the NCAA title game. The Big East Defender of the year became the first player from St. John’s to win National Player of the Year honors.

USL ANNOUNCES A-LEAGUE SCHEDULE, QUALIFICATION FOR OPEN CUP: Last week, the United Soccer Leagues released the 2004 A-League schedule and announced the A-League qualification process for the 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament, to determine which eight clubs will represent the A-League in the tournament. The 224-game league schedule will kick off with two matches on April 17, as the defending champion Charleston Battery travel to take on the Richmond Kickers while the Puerto Rico Islanders, one of two expansion clubs, host the Toronto Lynx. For the second straight year, league finalist Minnesota Thunder will open their season at the Metrodome in Minneapolis against Calgary on Sunday, April 25, before playing in their new home in St Paul, James Griffin Stadium on May 15. The other expansion club, the Edmonton Aviators, open their inaugural season on the road against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Friday, April 30. The regular season comes to a close Sunday, August 29, and the playoffs begin the following week with the Conference Semifinals series taking place on September 3 and 5, and the Conference Final series on September 10 and 12. The A-League Championship will be held the weekend of September 18 and will be broadcast on Fox Sports World. For the U.S. Open Cup, 10 clubs will play five two-leg, aggregate score series for entry with three additional clubs determined from the series losers. The remaining berths will go in order to 2003 league champion Charleston, 2003 league runners-up Minnesota and the club with the highest point percentage through matches on May 23, which will also be used for the other two berths should Charleston and Minnesota win their respective series. U.S. Soccer will announce the official format of the 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in the coming weeks.

FOUDY RANKED IN SPORTING NEWS "MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE" IN SPORTS: U.S. Women's National Team co-captain Julie Foudy received some major "props" from The Sporting News in its "Most Powerful People" in sports list published last week.  The magazine, which annually lists the top 100 most powerful people in sports, did it a bit differently this year.  They listed the top-40, which included two women (University of Miami president Donna Shalala at #38 and tennis star Serena Williams at #35). The remaining 60 ranked people were divided into various categories, such as "Executives," "Agents," "Behind the Scenes" and "Women."  In the Women's category, Foudy was ranked #1, ahead of Golfer Annika Sorenstam; Lesa France Kennedy, President of the International Speedway Corp; WNBA President Val Ackerman; Oakland Raiders Chief Executive Amy Trask; Los Angeles Lakers Executive V.P. of business operations Jeanie Buss; New York Yankees GM Jean Afterman; ESPN Senior V.P. of marketing Lee Ann Daly; and Lisa Murray, the Executive V.P. consulting, for Octagon North America.  Foudy, who in 17 years on the U.S. Women's National Team has played in 245 matches, third most in the history of soccer, was described by the magazine as such: "Even more than Donna de Varona, (Foudy) became the public face who stopped the Bush Administration from eviscerating Title IX."

BRADLEY, FIVE FROM U-20 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS SQUAD INK PRO-40 CONTRACTS:
Under-18 Men's National Team midfielder Michael Bradley as well as five members of the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team that participated in the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championships have signed Project-40 Contacts with Major League Soccer. Goalkeeper Steve Cronin, defenders Chad Marshall and Ryan Cochrane, midfielder Ned Grabavoy and forward Clint Dempsey join U.S. Under-20 MNT forward Freddy Adu who had already announced his signing with MLS. These seven players, plus collegians Clarence Goodson and Josh Gardner, are eligible for selection in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft which will be held on Friday, January 16, 2004 at 10 a.m. ET in Charlotte, N.C. Three of the players - Adu, Bradley and Marshall – were members of U.S. Soccer's Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla. Marshall graduated in 2001, while Adu and Bradley are on track to graduate this spring. In all there are 85 all time members of Nike Project-40. Of those, 26 are currently under Pro-40 contracts, 30 have graduated and are still playing in MLS, and 29 have graduated but are not on MLS rosters.

OTTAWA TO HOST 2004 W-LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP IN 10TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON: The 2004 W-League Championship will be hosted by the Ottawa Fury Soccer Club, becoming just the second Canadian franchise to host the championship after Vancouver hosted in 2002. The 2004 season marks the 10th anniversary of the W-League. The regular season winners of the Eastern, Central, and Western Conferences will join the host Ottawa Fury in the final four competition to be held August 7 and 8 in Canada’s capital city. The semifinal matches will be played on Saturday, August 7 and the final will take place following the third place match up on Sunday, August 8. The final will be broadcast live across the US and Canada by Fox Sports World. All matches will be played at Keith Harris Stadium at Carleton University.

US YOUTH SOCCER NATIONAL CHAMPIONS ADDED IN 2003 YEAR IN REVIEW:
In U.S. Soccer’s 2003 Year in Review piece, the US Youth Soccer National Champions were accidentally omitted from the list of the 2003 League Champions. Every year US Youth Soccer stages the US Youth Soccer National Youth Championship with different national titles up for grabs in boys and girls soccer for youth players from Under-14 through Under-19. The Under-19 Boys’ James P. McGuire Cup is the most prestigious of the competition’s trophies, dating back to 1935. First competed in 1980, the J. Ross Stewart Cup for Under-19 Girls is the oldest women’s youth trophy.
2003 US Youth Soccer National Champions
Under-14 Boys — '88 CASL Elite (N.C.)
Under-14 Girls — Slammers FC (Calif.)
Under-15 Boys — Casa Mia Bays (Md.)
Under-15 Girls — PDA Wildcats (N.J.)
Under-16 Boys — S. California United (Calif.)
Under-16 Girls — San Diego Surf (Calif.)
Under-17 Boys — Chicago Magic SC (Ill.)
Under-17 Girls — Sereno '86 Golden Eagles (Ariz.)
Under-18 Boys — Michigan Wolves (Mich.)
Under-18 Girls — Dallas Texans Red '85 (Texas)
Under-19 Boys — FC Delco Arsenal (Pa.)
Under-19 Girls — Peachtree City Lazers (Ga.)

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