HAMM, MacMILLAN SCORE TO DELIVER SECOND TITLE IN PORTUGAL: Two goals in a four-minute span of the second half by Mia Hamm and Shannon MacMillan, each assisted by the other, gave the U.S. Women's National Team a 2-0 victory over China in the championship of the 2003 Algarve Cup on March 20. The win marked the second time the USA has won the prestigious tournament, which is considered the world's most competitive women's international event outside of the Women's World Cup and the Olympics. The USA also won in 2000, giving U.S. head coach April Heinrichs two Algarve Cup titles. The U.S. put together an outstanding performance in the 30th meeting between the two countries, dealing with a bumpy field and the quick and skillful Chinese, to control the match. The U.S. defense was once again stellar, holding China to only a few dangerous chances, allowing them to avenge a 2-0 loss in the Four Nations Tournament last January.
U.S. TO MEET IMPROVING VENEZUELA SIDE IN SEATTLE AT 1 P.M. PT LIVE ON ESPN2: The U.S. Men's National Team will host Venezuela on March 29 at Seattle Seahawks Stadium in Seattle, following the decision of the Japanese Football Association to cancel their two-match U.S. tour. Kickoff for the first international soccer match at the new stadium is set for 1 p.m. PT, and will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Fans can follow the action live online via ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The USA and Venezuela have met only once before, with the teams battling to a 3-3 draw in the Copa America in 1993. Tickets ranging in price levels from $20 to $70 are still on sale at all Ticketmaster outlets throughout Washington, Oregon and British Columbia, at the stadium ticket office and by phone (Seattle 206-628-0888; Tacoma 253-627-8497). Tickets for the USA vs. Japan match will be valid for the game against Venezuela. Fans wishing to obtain a refund must make their cancellation by Friday, March 28, at 5 p.m. PT by returning tickets to their original point of purchase. Fans who ordered through Ticketmaster via phone or internet should call Ticketmaster directly or visit www.ticketmaster.com for further details. Refunds will be issued using the same form of payment originally used by the purchaser.
U.S. ROSTER FEATURES KELLER, NINE OTHER PLAYERS FROM 2002 WORLD CUP SQUAD: The 18-man U.S. roster for the March 29 match traveled to Portland yesterday for a week-long training camp, reuniting ten players from the U.S. squad that made an historic run to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan. Included in the roster is Washington native Kasey Keller, second on the USA's all-time goalkeeping list for wins (31) and shutouts (28), who has collected an astonishing 13-0-4 record on home soil since 1998. Also returning is the striker tandem of Brian McBride and Landon Donovan, who together scored four of the USA's seven goals in Korea/Japan. The camp also marks the reunion of the midfield corps of Pablo Mastroeni, John O'Brien, DaMarcus Beasley and Earnie Stewart, who last took the field together as starters in the 3-2 upset victory against Portugal in the USA's opening match. Once again, MLS players dominate the roster, with 14 of the 18 now playing domestically. The following is the U.S. roster for the March 29 match:
Goalkeepers (2): Tim Howard (MetroStars), Kasey Keller (Tottenham Hotspur);
Defenders (5): Carlos Bocanegra (Chicago Fire), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Nick Garcia (Kansas City Wizards), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Eddie Pope (MetroStars);
Midfielders (7): DaMarcus Beasley (Chicago Fire), Bobby Convey (D.C. United), Chris Klein (Kansas City Wizards), Kyle Martino (Columbus Crew), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), John O'Brien (Ajax Amsterdam), Earnie Stewart (D.C. United);
Forwards (4): Edson Buddle (Columbus Crew), Landon Donovan (San Jose Earthquakes), Jovan Kirovski (Birmingham City), Brian McBride (Columbus Crew).
VENEZUELA NAMES ROSTER FOR FRIENDLIES VS. U.S., JAMAICA: Venezuela National Team head coach Richard Páez Monzón named a 20-man roster last week for the upcoming international friendlies against the United States in Seattle, Wash. on March 29, and Jamaica in Caracas on April 2. Midfielders Juan Arango, Hector Gonzalez and defender Alejandro Cichero will not be in Seattle to face the U.S., but will join the Venezuelan squad for their home match against Jamaica. While they're the only nation in CONMEBOL yet to qualify for the FIFA World Cup, Venezuela is continuing its preparations for the 2006 qualifying stage after a strong showing last year. Under the direction of Monzón, Venezuela went 3-2-2 in 2002, including shutout victories over Bolivia (2-0), Ecuador (2-0) and Uruguay (2-0).
Goalkeepers (2): Gilberto Angelucci (Deportivo Tachira), Manuel Sanhouse (Club Espoli-ECU);
Defenders (7): Wilfredo Alvarado (Deportivo ItalChacao), Alejandro Cichero (CA Cerro-URU), Luis Vallenilla Pacheco (Caracas FC), Jose Manuel Rey (CS Emelec-ECU), Jorge Rojas (CS Emelec-ECU), Leonel Vielma (UA Maracaibo), Javier Villafraz (Estudiantes FC);
Midfielders (7): Juan Arango (CA Pachuca-MEX), Hector Gonzalez (CA Olimpo-ARG), Leopoldo Jimenez (Deportivo ItalChacao), Ricardo David Paez (Caracas FC), Giovanny Perez (Estudiantes FC), Gabriel Urdaneta (Lugano FC-SUI), Luis Vera (Caracas FC);
Forwards (4): Cristian Casseres (Deportivo ItalChacao), Juan Garcia (AC Mineros), Wilfredo Moreno (AC Mineros), Daniel Noriega (Deportivo ItalChacao).
OVER 20,000 TICKETS SOLD FOR U.S.-MEXICO REMATCH ON MAY 8 IN HOUSTON: Tickets for the U.S. Men's National Teams 2002 World Cup rematch against Mexico on May 8 at Reliant Stadium in Houston are selling at a blistering pace, with all of the tickets in the $150, $75, and $60 range selling out just five days after going on public sale. Since opening sales to the general public on March 15, over 20,000 tickets have already been purchased by Houston area soccer fans, making this one of the fastest selling games in U.S. Soccer history. Kickoff for the game, which is being staged in conjunction with Major League Soccer and Houston Texans Entertainment, is set for 7 p.m. CT and will be broadcast via tape delay on ESPN2 beginning at 10 p.m. ET. The match will be broadcast live on Telemundo and the Radio Unica network, and fans can also follow live online via ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. Tickets for the biggest soccer game in Houston history, which is being presented by Budweiser, are still available in the $27-$50 range and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout Texas (including Fiesta, Foley's and Wherehouse Music), by phone at 713-629-3700 and on-line at ussoccer.com. Groups of 30 or more can order tickets by calling toll free at 877-635-2002. Tickets are also available at the Reliant Stadium ticket office.
U.S. TO FACE TWO WORLD CUP SEMIFINALISTS IN 2003 CONFEDERATIONS CUP IN JUNE: The U.S. Men's National Team was drawn into Group B for the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cups and will face Brazil, Cameroon and Turkey at the sixth edition of the prestigious tournament, which will be played from June 18-29 in three French cities. The U.S. opens the tournament against two World Cup semifinalists, facing Turkey on June 19 in St. Etienne at 7 p.m. local time (1 p.m. ET), and then taking on Brazil on June 21 in Lyon at 9 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET). The U.S. concludes group play against Cameroon on June 23 in Lyon at 9 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET). The top two teams from each group advance to the semifinals on June 26. The third-place match is scheduled for June 28, and the final takes place on June 29 in Paris. The U.S. has played in two previous Confederations Cup Tournaments, finishing third at both the inaugural event in 1992 and again in 1999 in Mexico. The field at the Confederations Cup is comprised of the six confederation champions (Cameroon, Colombia, France, Japan, New Zealand and the USA), the World Cup Champions (Brazil) and a guest team (Turkey).
CONCACAF ANNOUNCES GROUPS, MATCH SCHEDULE FOR 2003 GOLD CUP: The U.S. Men's National Team was drawn into Group C, along with El Salvador and a still-to-be-determined opponent from the second of the Interzone playoff qualifiers, for the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup, which is set to take place from July 12-27 at three venues: Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., the Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla., and Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, with the U.S. based in Foxboro for group play. This year's event marks the first time since the tournament held matches at Estadio Azteca in 1993 that Gold Cup matches will be played outside the U.S. Twelve teams will again take part, including two guest teams from CONMEBOL, the South American confederation: 2002 FIFA World Cup champion Brazil, and 2001 Copa America champion Colombia. The tournament begins on July 12, with first-round matches played over six successive days. Quarterfinal matches will be played on July 19 and 20, with the semifinals set for July 23 and 24. If the U.S. qualifies for the quarterfinals they are assured to play in Foxboro on July 19, while the two semifinal games will take place at the Orange Bowl in Miami and Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on July 23. The third-place match will be held on July 26 and the final is scheduled for July 27, at Estadio Azteca, the only stadium in the world to have played host to two FIFA World Cup finals. The format for the tournament will be similar to the 2002 event, won by the USA in a 2-0 victory against Costa Rica in the final.
U.S. WOMEN TO MEET NIGERIA NEXT ON APRIL 26 AT RFK STADIUM IN D.C.: The U.S. Women's National Team will continue its 2003 Women's World Cup preparations with a match on Saturday, April 26, against African champion Nigeria at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The U.S. match will be televised live on ESPN at Noon ET and is part of a WUSA doubleheader featuring the host Washington Freedom taking on the Atlanta Beat at 2:30 p.m. ET. Tickets for the doubleheader ranging in price levels from $20 to $40 are on sale at all Washington-Baltimore area Ticketmaster outlets, at the RFK Stadium box office, on-line at ussoccer.com, and by phone at 202-432-7328 (Washington), 410-481-7328 (Baltimore), 703-573-7328 (Northern Virginia) and 800-551-7328 (out-of-state). Washington Freedom full season ticket packages (which include a ticket for the doubleheader) and group discounts are available through the Freedom at 202-547-3137. Nigeria will bring a strong team to Washington, D.C., as the Super Falcons qualified for their fourth consecutive Women's World Cup this past December by winning the African Women's Championships convincingly at home.
U.S. WOMEN TO FACE ENGLAND ON MAY 17 IN ALABAMA, KOREA ON JUNE 14 IN UTAH: The U.S. Women's National Team will make its first trip to two different states in the coming months, as they're set to face England on May 17 at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. (live on ESPN at 12 p.m. CT), and then meet South Korea on June 14 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah (live on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. MT). Tickets for the May 17 match are priced at $16 to $50 and are on sale now at all Ticketmaster outlets throughout Alabama (including Publix, Coconuts and Wherehouse Music) or by phone at 800-277-1700. Tickets for the June 14 match range in price levels from $16 to $37 and are on sale now through Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 801-325-SEAT (7328), and at all Ticketmaster outlets (including Fred Meyer and Graywhale CD Exchange). Throughout their history, the U.S. women have played domestic matches in 26 states and Washington, D.C., but these will be the first matches in the states of Alabama and Utah.
U-18, U-15 MEN'S NATIONAL TEAMS HEAD TO BRADENTON FOR TRAINING CAMPS: The U.S. Under-18 and Under-15 Men's National Teams have arrived at IMG Academy in Bradenton for a week-long training session. Members of the Under-18 team arrived this weekend and will train until this Saturday (March 29). The team has four games scheduled during the week against Blackwatch U-19 (a local youth team), IMG U-19, U-17 Men's National Team and the University of South Florida. Members of the Under-15 team arrived yesterday and will be in training until this Sunday (March 30). The team will play three games during their week of training, against Blackwatch U-16, U-17 MNT and U-16 IMG. The following are the two rosters:
U-18 MNT Roster
Goalkeepers (3): Ryan Best (Williamstown, N.J.), Brad Guzan (Lockport, Ill.), Jason Landers (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.);
Defenders (5): Greg Dalby (Poway, Calif.), Hunter Freeman (University of Virginia), Patrick Phelan (Enfield, Conn.), Michael Zaher (Las Vegas, Nev.), Jed Zayner (Orland Park, Ill.);
Midfielders (6): Craig Capano (Chicago Fire), Isaac Collings (Oriskany, N.Y.), William Hall (Shirley, N.Y.), Patrick Ianni (Lodi, Calif.), Ryan Solle (Broadway, N.C.), Danny Vasquez (Miami, Fla.);
Forwards (8): Arturo Alvarez (San Jose Earthquakes), Chad Barrett (Beaverton, Ore.), March Burch (University of Evansville), Adam Cristman (Glen Allen, Va.), Sergio Flores (Smithfield, Utah), Paul Johnson (University of Virginia), Danny Karbassiyoon (Roanoke, Va.), Nate Norman (Rochester, Mich.).
U-15 MNT Roster
Goalkeepers (3): Robert Goldsberry (Tampa, Fla.), Evan Newton (Virginia Beach, Va.), Bryant Rueckner (Fontana, Calif.);
Defenders (9): Richard Edgar (Mechanicsville, Md.), Jesse Henderson (West Bloomfield, Mich.), Eric Lichaj (Downers Grove, Ill.), Ofori Sarkodie (Huber Heights, Ohio), Jeffrey Scannella (Alpharetta, Ga.), Kenneth Walker (Wickliffe, Ohio), Taylor Waspi (Deer Park, Ill.) Mark Wiltse (Belle Mead, N.J.), Christopher Ye (Englewood, Colo.);
Midfielders (8): Cody Annoux (Willmington, N.C.), Michael Dalpra (Bronxville, N.Y.), Juan Guzman (Charlotte, N.C.), Bret Merchant (Modesto, Calif.), Kyle Nakazawa (Palos Verdes East, Calif.), Bahram Sajjadi (Arlington, Texas), Tommy Strackhouse (Flemington, N.J.), Blake Wagner (Tampa, Fla.);
Forwards (3): Jose Angulo (Clifton, N.J.), Bruce Ayala (Maspeth, N.Y.), Quavas Kirk (Aurora, Ill.).
NEW UNDER-17 MNT MEDIA POLICY AT IMG ACADEMY: Coming on the heels of qualification for their 10th straight FIFA Under-17 World Championship, U.S. Soccer has implemented a structured media availability program for the U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team. The policy will allow outlets access to the team and coaches once a week on a pre-determined day at a training session at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The practice session will be open to the media requesting advanced access, and players and coaches will conduct scheduled interviews after the session. Media who do not make prior arrangements will not be allowed on campus for the practice sessions, nor will they be allowed to conduct post-practice interviews. IMG officials will not allow anyone on campus without prior notification from USSF. All other Under-17 practices will be closed to the media, except for the designated open practice once each week. To arrange for access or to schedule an interview, please contact the U.S. Soccer Communications Department.
OCEANIA WWC QUALIFYING CHANGED TO FIVE-NATION TOURNAMENT: Due to the withdrawal of Fiji and Vanuatu from the Oceania Qualifying Tournament for the 2003 Women's World Cup, the format has been reconfigured into a five-nation round robin competition. The tournament will take place April 5-13 at the Belconnen Soccer Center in Canberra, Australia with the winner becoming the lone qualifier from the Oceania region. That qualifyier will likely be determined when Australia, the heavy favorite, meets New Zealand on April 13. The other three teams competing in the tournament are the Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea and Samoa. The match days are April 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13. One team will have the bye on each of the five double-header match days. Previously, there were two pools of four teams each with a cross-over for the semifinals and then a final game. The Matildas, as the Australian women are known, qualified for the 1995 and 1999 Women's World Cups from Oceania, while New Zealand grabbed the lone berth for the 1991 Women's World Cup.
2002-03 MISL PLAYOFFS BEGIN THIS WEEKEND: The 2002-03 Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) Playoffs will begin this Friday (March 28) in Cleveland, Ohio as the Baltimore Blast face the host Cleveland Force in the Eastern Conference Semifinal opener. The winner of the Eastern Semifinal will then travel to meet the Eastern Conference regular season and defending MISL Champions Philadelphia Kixx on April 3. In the Western Conference Semi-Final, the Kansas City Comets will host the San Diego Sockers on April 2, with the winner traveling to take on the Western Conference regular season Champion Milwaukee Wave on April 6. The Eastern and Western Conference winners will then square off in the best-of-three MISL Championship Series.
CREW, GALAXY ADVANCE TO 2003 CONCACAF CHAMPIONS CUP QUARTERFINALS: Major League Soccer's Columbus Crew and Los Angeles Galaxy won their respective CONCACAF Champions Cup first round series over the weekend and thereby advanced to the 2003 quarterfinals. The Galaxy, who are the last U.S. club to win the CONCACAF Champions Cup, topped CD Motagua of Honduras 1-0 on a tally by defender Alexi Lalas yesterday in Fullerton, Calif. and won the home-and-home series 3-2 on aggregate score. The Crew, the first U.S. Open Cup Champions to earn a berth to the CONCACAF tournament since 1991, used two tallies by forward Edson Buddle and one by teammate Brian McBride to blank Panama's Deportivo Arabe Unido 3-0 at Columbus Crew Stadium and win 4-2 on aggregate. The Galaxy will face Mexico's Necaxa in the 2003 quarterfinals, while the Crew will face the winner of the series between Guatemala's CSD Comunicacions-CA Monarcas Morelia of Mexico in the first leg of the quarterfinals on April 9. In other first round action yesterday, LD Aljuelense of Costa Rica shutout the New England Revolution 4-0. The series will continue on Wednesday (March 26) at the Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto in Alajuela, Costa Rica. The other four series, including the San Jose-Municipal rematch, will conclude on Wednesday as well.
USL ADDS FORMER U.S. MNT VETERANS DOYLE, VERMES TO SUPER Y-LEAGUE STAFF: The United Soccer Leagues (USL) announced last week the addition of former A-League, Major League Soccer and U.S. National Team stars John Doyle and Peter Vermes to the USL staff as Super Y-League (SYL) ODP Technical Directors. The pair, who are also athlete representatives to the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors, will be responsible for overseeing and developing the SYL national scouting network to identify players for U.S. National team programs. Through the professionalized system of USL, plans are also being developed for the duo to oversee a team comprised of the top youth talent in the league on an overseas tour to expose players to top European professional clubs. Doyle recently finished his playing career after five years with San Jose (MLS), while Vermes announced his retirement from MLS last week after successful stints with the Colorado Rapids and most recently, the Kansas City Wizards. Doyle was with the U.S. Men's National Team from 1987-94, competing in the 1988 Seoul Olympics and 1990 World Cup along with Vermes, who also enjoyed a lengthy career with the U.S. MNT from 1988-97.
CONFEDERATION BERTHS ALLOCATED FOR FIFTH FUTSAL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: With the announcement of Fifth Futsal World Championship slated for Chinese Taipei in late 2004, FIFA allocated the remaining 15 tournament berths to the six confederations (AFC, CAF, CONMEBOL, CONCACAF, Oceania, UEFA). As done in previous tournaments, each confederation will have a respective qualifying competition for the teams to advance to the 2004 event. Guatemala will host the CONCACAF qualifying competition, which must be played by June 30, 2004, and will produce two berths for the world championship. The last time the futsal qualifying stage was held in Guatemala, the U.S. captured the gold medal and a berth to the 1996 World Championship in Spain. The USA is also the only CONCACAF team to earn two top-three finishes at a FIFA futsal competition, earning a bronze medal in Holland 1989 and then obtaining the silver in Hong Kong 1992.
PEAK PERFORMER: U.S. Women's National Team defenders Brandi Chastain and Joy Fawcett continue to improve with age, as the veterans were again key forces in shutting down top opponents and leading the U.S. to their second tournament title of the year. The central defense duo was the major reason that the U.S. gave up just two goals in four games on their way to the 2003 Algarve Cup title, including a 1-0 shutout of Norway and a 2-0 blanking of China in the final. The pair's performance follows an equally impressive series of games in January, when the U.S. rose to the occasion and won the Four Nations Tournament in China.
MARQUEE MATCH-UP: It will be a World Cup reunion of sorts when European-based veterans Kasey Keller, Earnie Stewart, John O'Brien and Frankie Hejduk are welcomed back to the fold for their first U.S. Men's National Team match since the thrilling quarterfinal against Germany last summer. Facing an improving Venezuela team, Saturday's match could have the look and feel of a World Cup qualifier and will give fans a first look at Seahawks Stadium as an international soccer venue.
SOCCER SHOCKER: Three Italian teams -- AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus -- advanced to the quarterfinals of UEFA's Champions League, after just one Italian team (Lazio in '99-'00) advanced to the quarterfinals in the previous three seasons.
"Over the past two or three years, the Venezuelan national team has made great strides, and I think they are perhaps the most improved team in South America. We are certainly looking forward to the challenge."
- U.S. MNT head coach Bruce Arena, on Saturday's replacement opponent