SEOUL (May 30, 2002) - The U.S. Men's National Team will take an historic trip to the DMZ on Friday morning in advance of their participation in the 2002 World Cup. The team previously visited the DMZ and the U.S. Military Camp Bonifas (located just 400 meters south of the Korean Demilitarized Zone) on Dec. 6, 2001, prior to the team's post-Draw friendly with Korea. The trip will see the team transported from Seoul on a Chinook CH-47 helicopter to the Joint Security Area (JSA), which is home to Camp Bonifas and the U.S. and Korea Republic forces which patrol and protect the DMZ.
BACKGROUND ON THE DMZ: The Korean Demilitarized Zone is an area of land encompassing a four-kilometer wide strip of land straddling the 151-mile long Military Demarcation Line (MDL). The July 27, 1953, Armistice Agreement established the DMZ along the approximate line of ground contact between the opposing forces at the time the truce ended the Korean War. As the base camp for the United Nations Command Security Force, Camp Bonifas was previously known as Camp Kitty Hawk before being named after Captain Arthur G. Bonifas in 1986. Bonifas and UNC security officer Lieutenant Mark T. Barrett were slain in the line of duty in the area in 1976.
U.S. PLAYERS GIVEN DAY OFF ON FRIDAY: Bruce Arena has given his U.S. team the day off on Friday, just six days before the U.S. opens the World Cup against Portugal. Some members of the team will travel to the DMZ, others will golf and some are expected to take in local sights around the city. As a result, there is no media availability or press conference in Seoul tomorrow. The team will resume training on Saturday.
FRANCE v. SENEGAL OPENS WORLD CUP TOMORROW: The 2002 FIFA World Cup kicks off tomorrow as defending World Cup champions France face Senegal at time here at the Seoul World Cup Stadium. France is in the midst of one of the most successful runs in international soccer history, winning the World Cup in 1998, the European Championship in 2000 and Confederations Cup in 2001. Can France repeat again in 2002? Here are a few reasons not to bet against it: Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry, David Trezeguet, Sylvain Wiltord, Patrick Vieira, Marcel Desailly, Emmanuel Petit, Lilian Thuram, Fabien Barthez … the list goes on. While France is the defending World Cup Champion, Senegal is making their first World Cup appearance. Senegal advanced to the African Nations Cup final, before losing to Cameroon. The squad is made up mostly of players who play professionally in France, so they know a lot about their opponents. Senegal is somewhat of a surprise to have advanced to the World Cup, advancing out of a tough qualifying group that included African soccer powers Egypt and Morocco. Interestingly, Senegal’s squad (21) has more players playing professionally in France than does France’s (5). This match-up brings to mind the opening game of the 1990 World Cup in Italy, when Cameroon shocked defending World Cup champs Argentina.
LIGHT THURSDAY MORNING TRAINING: The U.S. Men’s National Team went through a light training session on Thursday morning, ahead of this evening mixed training session with Costa Rica. After going through a routine warm-up, the U.S. team broke off into two groups. A group of the attacking players worked U.S. goalkeepers Tony Meola and Brad Friedel on one end of the field, while others played soccer tennis. The University of Virginia duo of Assistant Coach George Gelnovatch and Jeff Agoos was the team to beat. After a warmdown the team boarded the buses and returned to the hotel.
KELLER MISSES TRAINING, LISTED AS DAY-TO-DAY: U.S. goalkeeper Kasey Keller missed training on Thursday morning, sitting out with what has been diagnosed as a left elbow contusion. His condition will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis. Tests were conducted at a Korean hospital on Wednesday night and came back negative.
COVER BOYS: On the bus ride to training on Thursday morning, the team got their first glance at the ESPN The Magazine cover photo that shows DaMarcus Beasley, Landon Donovan and Clint Mathis outfitted in their U.S. jerseys under the headline “Why Not Us?” The cover photo earned rave reviews from the team.
MYERNICK REUNITED WITH TIMBERS TEAMMATE: The Suwon Venue Director, Young Jeung Cho, stopped by the U.S. training session on Thursday morning. Young stopped by to say hello to U.S. Assistant Coach Glenn Myernick. Myernick and Young were teammates on the Portland Timbers from 1980 – 1983.
FANS TURN OUT FOR ITALY’S OPEN SESSION: Nearly 20,000 Japanese fans turned up at Italy’s first open training session since they have been in Sendai, 400 km northeast of Tokyo. Italy took on a local J-Leauge side Vegalta Sendai on Thursday in an 80-minute training game.
T-MINUS: There are 7 days until the U.S. Men's National Team opens 2002 FIFA World Cup play against Portugal on June 5 in Suwon, which happens to correspond to the number of points DaMarcus Beasley has scored this year. It also marks the number of points Beasley has scored in his career. He has tallied
three goals and one assist this year.