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U.S. Soccer Wire: “Road to Korea” Begins Saturday as U.S. Men Open 2002 Gold Cup Against Korea Republic in Pasadena


U.S. TO MEET KOREA, CUBA IN 2002 GOLD CUP THIS WEEKEND ON PAY-PER-VIEW:  The U.S. Men's National Team's two group matches of the 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup on Saturday (Jan. 19) and Monday (Jan. 21) against the Korea Republic and Cuba, respectively, will be televised live on pay-per-view by Innovative Sports Marketing.   The match against the Korea Republic kicks off on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT, while next Monday’s game will be played on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT.  The games will be available on the following pay-per-view cable and satellite systems:  DirecTV, Dish Network, InDemand 2 and TVN. 

FIVE MORE DAYS TO VOTE FOR U.S. SOCCER’S CHEVY ATHLETES OF THE YEAR:  Only five days remain to vote for U.S. Soccer's 2001 Chevy Athlete of the Year awards as the January 18 deadline approaches.  For the second straight year, fans are able to make their voice heard by visiting ussoccerfan.com and voting for one or all of the four annual awards. The four prestigious annual awards are: Male Athlete of the Year, Female Athlete of the Year, Young Male Athlete of the Year and Young Female Athlete of the Year.  The Chevrolet Awards are the only year-end soccer awards that honor both male and female athletes.  Online votes will be tallied and will be equivalent to 50 percent of the total votes. As in years past, 100 votes will be compiled from members of the national media and U.S. Soccer representatives (from National Team coaches to the National Board of Directors). U.S. Soccer, in conjunction with Chevrolet, will announce the winners of the four awards at a press conference at the end of January.

U.S. WNT TO LEAVE FOR CHINA & FOUR NATIONS TOURNAMENT ON WEDNESDAY:  The U.S. Women’s National Team will depart for Guangzhou, China on Wednesday to take part in the first-ever Four Nations Tournament in China from Jan. 23-27.  April Heinrichs will announce the team’s 18-player travel roster on Tuesday afternoon.  (A 24-player roster has been training in South Carolina since Jan. 8.)  In the Four Nations Tournament, the U.S. will open against Norway on Jan. 23 at Huadu Stadium, before facing Germany on Jan. 25 at Panyu Stadium.  The team will finish the tournament in grand fashion, taking on China on Jan. 27 at Tianhe Stadium, site of the 1991 Women's World Cup Final. The tournament will afford the U.S. women some valuable experience and give them a sneak preview of the venues, atmosphere and competition they should encounter at the 2003 Women's World Cup in China.  The pre-Women's World Cup seasoning may be most valuable for the younger players on the squad, as this will mark the seventh trip to China for some of the U.S. veterans.  The U.S. team last visited China in January of 2001 to play two matches, losing 1-0 in Panyu before tying 1-1 in front of 30,000 fans at the brand-new Dragon Stadium in Hangzhou.

— U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE —

MNT TRAINING CAMP UPDATE FROM CLAREMONT, CALIF.:  The U.S. Men's National Team enters the second week of intense preparations for the 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup.  Head coach Bruce Arena paced the team through twice-daily sessions for most of the first week, focusing on physical conditioning and returning the team to match fitness. With most of the morning sessions devoted to fitness work, the team completed three full-field scrimmages in eight days, twice against the U-23 side currently being led by Glenn "Mooch" Myernick.  Despite the arduous conditions, no players have been sidelined through injury.  After a final double-session today, the team will train once a day in Claremont until January 17, when camp will move to Pasadena in advance of the first match against Korea on Jan. 19 at the Rose Bowl.  Although practices are closed, the team is conducting daily media availability at the team hotel.  To confirm media availability times, contact U.S. Men's National Team press officer Michael Kammarman's voice mailbox.

UPDATE ON MNT STARS IN EUROPE:  Brad Friedel continued his amazing play for Blackburn, guiding the Rovers to two wins this week.  In midweek Worthington Cup action, the Rovers won the first leg of their semifinal match-up, 2-1, at Sheffield Wednesday.  The return leg is set for January 21 at Ewood Park. Kasey Keller also got the nod in goal for a midweek Worthington Cup match.  But Tottenham lost 2-1 at Chelsea in the first leg of their semifinal tie, as Keller played in nets for Tottenham for the third straight match.  The return leg is set for Jan. 21 at White Hart Lane.  The winner of the Worthington Cup will receive an automatic spot in next year’s UEFA Cup.  This weekend, Friedel earned his sixth league win of the season as Blackburn defeated Charlton Athletic 4-1 at Ewood Park. Prior to Saturday’s win, Blackburn had only won twice in their previous 12 league matches.  Friedel has now allowed 29 goals in 27 matches. Blackburn next travels to meet league leaders Manchester United at Old Trafford on Jan. 19.  Both Kasey Keller and Joe-Max Moore returned to the substitutes bench for their sides this weekend, Tottenham falling 2-1 away to Ipswich while Everton ended a five-match winless run in league play with a 1-0 victory against  Sunderland.  Claudio Reyna remains sidelined for Sunderland  with an ankle injury.  Crystal Palace made it two-in-a-row with a 1-0 win at Stockport, with Jovan Kirovski making his 27th league appearance as a substitute in the 64th minute for the Eagles. Kirovski assisted on the game’s only goal before being replaced in the 88th minute, and Palace now sit in 8th place in the First Division.  Fellow U.S. international Gregg Berhalter was on the substitutes bench, but did not play.  And in France, David Regis and FC Metz remained dormant for the fourth-consecutive week as their match against Sedan was postponed due to poor conditions.  John O’Brien played the entire second half as Ajax warmed up for the second half of the season with an easy 5-1 exhibition win against FC Volendam.  Ajax used a different team in each half and scored three times in the second half while also allowing a goal.

SIXTH GOLD CUP FEATURES FIVE WORLD CUP TEAMS:  The sixth CONCACAF Gold Cup kicks off on Saturday evening with a doubleheader at the Orange Bowl in Miami featuring Costa Rica vs. Martinique and Canada vs. Haiti (both games airing live on Fox Sports World and Galavision at 7 and 9 p.m. ET, respectively).  A West Coast doubleheader featuring Mexico vs. El Salvador (on Univision at 1 p.m. PT) and the USA vs. the Korea Republic (on pay-per-view at 3 p.m. PT) kicks off on Saturday at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.  The 12-team Gold Cup is played biannually as the championship of the CONCACAF region.  The tournament was first played in 1991, when the U.S. won the inaugural event by downing Mexico and Honduras in the semifinals and finals, respectively.   Mexico won the 1993, 1996 and 1998 tournaments, before Canada shocked the region in 2000 by upsetting the field and claiming tournament with a 2-0 victory over Colombia (competing as a guest team) at the Los Angeles Coliseum.  This year’s tournament includes five World Cup teams:  Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Korea Republic, Mexico and the United States.

— U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE —

U.S. WOMEN OPEN 2002 WITH 7-0 BLOWOUT OF MEXICO:  The U.S. Women's National Soccer Team opened its 2002 schedule with a 7-0 victory over Mexico in front of a sell-out crowd of 5,634 fans at Blackbaud Stadium.  The match started in chilly 40-degree temperatures before heavy showers hit at halftime and drenched the players during the second half.  The U.S. women were playing a full international match for the first time since Sept. 9, 2001, and it took several minutes for the Americans to find a rhythm, but when they did, seven spectacular goals followed. "It was great for us to get a 90-minute game under pressure, in front of a crowd and under the lights," said U.S. coach April Heinrichs. "Our finishing in the second half was very good."

MacMILLAN RECORDS HER FIRST INTERNATIONAL HAT TRICK:  Shannon MacMillan led the way for the U.S. in the team’s 7-0 triumph over Mexico on Saturday (Jan. 12) in Charleston, S.C.  The hat trick was the first of MacMillan’s 128-game international career, and pushed her career goal total to 38. The San Diego Spirit forward scored the game’s opening goal in the 22nd minute when she head home a Cindy Parlow cross from 12 yards.  Her second goal also came on a header, this time in the 67th minute from Tiffeny Milbrett.  The hat trick was secured in the 89th minute when she finished from close range after Danielle Fotopoulos had set her up.  "I want to become more of an impact player on this team and prove I can make a difference," said MacMillan.

— U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE —

NEWEST GROUP OF U.S. UNDER-17s ENTER RESIDENCY:  With the success and landmark achievements of the first two Under-17 Men’s National Teams still being written into the U.S. Soccer record book, a third U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team has entered U.S.  Soccer’s Full-Time Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla. Twenty Under-17s have been placed in a professional setting where they attend classes at nearby Bradenton Academy and then return to the IMG Academy to train daily under the guidance of U.S. Under-17 head coach John Ellinger and longtime assistant Peter Mellor, who doubles as the goalkeeper coach. In three years of the full-time residency program, the two teams in residency have posted a combined 27-8-9 record in international matches. Following are the 20 players who entered the residency program:
Goalkeepers:  Adam Hahn (Irvine Strikers), Phil Marfuggi (PDA United);
Defenders: Drew Harrison (Roanoke Star Premier), Kyle Helton (IAYMCA Eagles), Cameron Lewis (IAYMCA Eagles), Olatomiwa Ogunsola (Potomac Cougars), Brandon Owens (La Jolla Nomads ),  Eric Vogl (AFC Lightning ), Chase Wileman (Solar FC);
Midfielders: Nicholas Colaluca (Bayside United),  John DiRaimondo, (Busch SC), Eddie Gaven (Hibernians FC), Jose Gomez (SMU Autobahn), Guillermo Gonzalez (Irvine Strikers ), Brian Grazier (Metro FC);
Forwards:  Corey Ashe (Beach FC Impact), Freddy Adu (Bethesda International), Mike Harrington, (CASL Elite), Brandon McDonald (Sereno), Jonathan Spector (Sockers FC).

U-23s TO TRAVEL TO EUROPE TO FACE ITALY, PLAY THREE GAMES IN PORTUGAL:  The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team will embark on a four-game tour to Europe in February, playing three matches in Portugal before wrapping up the European journey against Italy in Italy.  The matches will be the USA’s first Under-23 internationals since the team finished in fourth place at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.  The U.S. Under-23s (players born since Jan. 1, 1981) will open their European trek in Madiera, Portugal, competing in the Madiera International Tournament. The U.S. will face a Madeira Regional Team (February 5), Slovakia (Feb. 6) and Portugal (Feb. 8) in Portugal.  The Under-23s will then hop over to Italy, where they will face Italy on February 12.  Much of the Under-23 team is expected to be made up of former U.S. Under-20 players, many of whom were a part of the U-20 squad which topped Italy, 2-1, in Toulon, France, last May.

U.S. UNDER-20s TOP CANADA 1-0 TO OPEN RONGEN ERA:  The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team continued to ride a rock-solid defense and the scorching play of Mike Magee, topping Canada 1-0 last week (Jan. 9) in Thomas Rongen’s first international match as the coach of the U.S. Under-20s. The match was also the first international for the newest group of Under-20s and ends the team’s first training camp, which saw them post four consecutive shutout wins.  The U.S. got the only goal of the game in the 3rd minute when Mike Magee received a Ned Grabavoy pass near the penalty spot, and Magee’s shot beat Canadian ‘keeper Simon Rayner.  The goal was Magee’s fifth in his first four Under-20 games.  The U.S. Under-20s will regroup in late February for a tournament that will be announced in the coming weeks.

—  AROUND THE SOCCER NATION —

MLS ANNOUNCES MAJOR CHANGES:  Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber announced on January 8 that the MLS Board of Governors unanimously decided to cease operations of the Tampa Bay Mutiny and the Miami Fusion. The Tampa Bay Mutiny had been without an investor-operator since beginning play in 1996.  The Mutiny have been operated by and funded by the league since its inception.  The Miami Fusion began as an expansion team in 1998 and were funded by Investor-Operator Ken Horowitz. The League also announced that the Anschutz Entertainment Group exercised its option to become the Investor-Operator of D.C. United.  To disperse players from the Mutiny and Fusion, the league held an allocation draft, followed by a dispersal draft.

MLS DISPERSAL DRAFT SEES OLD FACES IN NEW PLACES:  New England and Colorado used the MLS Allocation Draft and MLS Dispersal Draft to revamp teams that failed to make the 2001 MLS playoffs. The Revolution acquired six new players on the day, including reigning MLS MVP and Budweiser Scoring Champion Alex Pineda Chacon (12th overall in Dispersal Draft) and 2000 Budweiser Scoring Champion Mamadou Diallo (2nd overall in Allocation Draft).  The revs also picked up midfielder Jim Rooney (2nd overall in Dispersal Draft), MLS all-time minutes played leader Steve Ralston (6th overall in Allocation Draft), U.S. National Team defender Carlos Llamosa (5th overall in Allocation Draft) and Nike Project-40 midfielder Shaker Asad (21st overall in Dispersal Draft).  Colorado picked up former Rapids winger Chris Henderson (1st overall in Dispersal Draft) and snagged former Fusion teammate Pablo Mastroeni (1st overall Allocation pick).  In a trade with the Metrostars, the Rapids picked up midfielder Mark Chung, while the Metros collected Marcelo Balboa.  The MetroStars added to their attack by selecting Diego Serna (4th overall in the allocation draft).  Another player returning to his original MLS home is Preki, who was chosen by the Wizards with the 14th overall pick in the Dispersal Draft. Ray Hudson, who coached the Miami Fusion to the best record in the league in 2001, was immediately hired by D.C. United after the contraction of the Fusion.  United is the only team not to make the playoffs in 2000 or 2001.

— U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT —

PEAK PERFORMANCE: Shannon MacMillan tallied three goals and one assist to lead the U.S. to a 7-0 romp over Mexico on Saturday at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C.  The hat trick was the first of her national team career and pushed her career total to 38 career goals in 128 games. She was named the Chevrolet Player of the Game for her three-goal, one-assist night.

MARQUEE MATCH-UP: The U.S. Men kick off its 2002 road to Korea / Japan on the January 19, facing the Korea Republic in the CONCACAF Gold Cup at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.  The U.S. fell to Korea in Korea, 1-0 on Dec. 9, but will look to bounce back and to get out of the gates quickly at the 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup.   The U.S. plays its second match of the first round on January 21, facing Cuba at the Rose Bowl.  Both matches are available on Pay-Per-View.

SOCCER SHOCKER: Uruguay doled out six-month bans to five of its top referees last week, including Jorge Larrionda, who only two days earlier was named by FIFA to officiate at this year's World Cup finals. Five more referee's were warned but not suspended. The bans were announced after a controversial three-month investigation by the AUF into alleged irregularities.

QUOTABLE:
"Mexico is the type of team we'll play in qualifying for the World Cup, and we want them to remember this pounding the next time against us. It was just us putting our stamp on the game.”
– Shannon MacMillan, U.S. forward.

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