CHICAGO (June 2, 2004) - The U.S. Futsal National Team was placed in Group B alongside Panama, Guyana and Cuba on Tuesday in the draw for the CONCACAF Final Qualifying Tournament being played in Heredia, Costa Rica in July. The draw was held at CONCACAF headquarters in New York City.
The U.S. earned a spot in the eight-team final round competition after sweeping Honduras in a two game series in May in Milwaukee, Wisc. The United States compiled an aggregate score of 7-1 over Honduras, with MISL star Lee Edgerton leading the way with two goals.
The U.S. will open its qualifying campaign against Panama on July 24, and will round out its group play on July 26 against Guyana and July 28 against Cuba. From there the U.S. will hope to advance to the semifinals on July 30, where the winner of the two semifinal matches will qualify for the 2004 FIFA Futsal World Championship being played from Nov. 21 to Dec. 5 in Chinese Tapei. Both finalists will play for the CONCACAF crown on July 31.
Group A in the Final Qualifying Tournament consists of reigning regional champion and host Costa Rica, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago and Surinam. All of the tournament matches will be played in Heredia.
The only team from Group B that the U.S. will be familiar with is Cuba, having played them three times in World Championship qualifying and compiling a 1-2 record. The last time the two countries met in 2000, Cuba came away with a 4-2 win to earn a berth in the 2000 Futsal World Championship, marking the first time the U.S. had not qualified for tournament finals.
Despite that setback, the U.S. has a strong history in Futsal having finished third in the inaugural event in 1989 and second in 1992. They will be lead by head coach Keith Tozer, who heads into the qualifying tournament with an overall record of 16-8-3 since taking over the U.S. Futsal reigns in 1996. Tozer is the winningest coach in U.S. indoor history with over 500 victories.
Futsal is a sport that is a derivative of soccer and played with five-man teams on a basketball style court, with no walls and a low bouncing ball, unlike the traditional sport of U.S. indoor soccer played with a six-man squads and walls. Great soccer super stars such as Pele, Zico and Ronaldo grew up playing the game and credit Futsal with developing their skills.
2004 Final CONCACAF Futsal Qualifying Tournament July 23-31 – Heredia, Costa Rica
Date Opponent Location
July 23 Mexico vs. Trinidad Palacio de los Deportes, Heredia
Costa Rica vs. Surinam Palacio de los Deportes, Heredia
July 25 Surinam vs. Mexico Palacio de los Deportes, Heredia
Costa Rica vs. Trinidad & Tobago Palacio de los Deportes, Heredia
July 27 Trinidad & Tobago vs. Surinam Palacio de los Deportes, Heredia
Costa Rica vs. Mexico Palacio de los Deportes, Heredia
Date Opponent Location
July 24 USA vs. Panama Palacio de los Deportes, Heredia
Guyana vs. Cuba Palacio de los Deportes, Heredia
July 26 USA vs. Guyana Palacio de los Deportes, Heredia
Cuba vs. Panama Palacio de los Deportes, Heredia
July 28 Panama vs. Guyana Palacio de los Deportes, Heredia
Cuba vs. USA Palacio de los Deportes, Heredia
Semifinals / Finals
July 30 Winner Group A vs. Runner-up Group B
Winner Group B vs. Runner-up Group A
July 31 Final*
Third Place Game
*Both teams in the final qualify for 2004 FIFA Futsal World Championships.