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U.S. Soccer Wire: December 3, 2007



U.S. U-23 MNT TRAIN AT THE HDC BEFORE HEADING TO CHINA;
2007 DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY NIKE FRIENDLIES TO KICK OFF IN BRADENTON, FLA.,
WITH THREE MATCHES ON FSC

NOWAK CALLS 22 TO THE HOME DEPOT CENTER: U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team head coach Peter Nowak has called 22 players into training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., in preparation for a two-match tour in China where the U.S. will face the Chinese U-23 national team. The team gathered on Saturday (Dec. 1) and will train for a week before departing on Dec. 8 for China. Aaron Holbein was a late edition to the roster, replacing fellow midfielder Eddie Gaven. The U-23’s will play two matches against the Chinese U-23s, first on Dec. 13 at the Changsha He Long Sports Centre in Changsha, then three days later at the Yue Xiu Shan Stadium in Guangzhou. This is the first gathering of the U-23 MNT since Nowak took the reins in August, and is the first major camp in preparation for the final round action of the 2008 CONCACAF Men’s Under-23 Championship to be held from March 11-23, 2008, in Los Angeles, Tampa and Nashville. The eight-team tournament will send the two finalists to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

U.S. Under 23 Men’s National Team Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Zac MacMath (St. Petersburg, Fla.), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (7): Hunter Freeman (New York Red Bulls), Patrick Ianni (Houston Dynamo), Jon Leathers (Furman University), Mike Randolph (Los Angeles Galaxy), Nathan Sturgis (Real Salt Lake), Tim Ward (Columbus Crew), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Arturo Alvarez (FC Dallas), Maurice Edu (Toronto FC), Michael Harrington (Kansas City Wizards), Aaron Holbein (Kansas City Wizards), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Sacha Kljestan (CD Chivas USA), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas)
FORWARDS (6): Josmer Altidore (New York Red Bulls), Adam Cristman (New England Revolution), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), Sal Zizzo (Hannover 96)

FSC TO SHOW THREE GAMES AT 2007 DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY NIKE FRIENDLIES: The 2007 Development Academy Nike Friendlies are set to kick off on Thursday, Dec. 6, at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. More than 50 elite club teams from across the United States will gather in Bradenton for four days of high-quality soccer. This year’s edition of the event includes participation from the Under-17 National Teams of Brazil, Russia and Turkey, as well as the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team and the U.S. U-15 Boys’ National Team. Fox Soccer Channel will televise all three U.S. Under-17 ’92 Men’s National Team games during the weekend. The U.S. kicks off the weekend live on FSC when they go up against Russia on Thursday, Dec. 6 at 3 p.m. ET. Two days later, the U.S. will continue its familiar December match-up with Brazil for the third straight year, and fourth overall, at the Friendlies when the countries square off on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 2:30 p.m. ET. The U.S. will then face Turkey on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET, which will be televised on a same-day delay at 8 p.m. ET.

Fox Soccer Channel Schedule
Date    Matchup                                      Time (ET)       TV
Dec. 6 U.S. U-17 MNT vs. Russia      3 p.m.              Live on FSC
Dec. 8 U.S. U-17 MNT vs. Brazil          2:30 p.m.        Live on FSC
Dec. 9 U.S. U-17 MNT vs. Turkey        3 p.m.              Tape Delay on FSC, 8 p.m. ET

ONE MORE WEEK TO VOTE FOR 2007 AOTY AND “BEST OF U.S. SOCCER” AWARDS: U.S. Soccer has announced the finalists for the 2007 Athlete of the Year and “Best of U.S. Soccer" Awards. The sixth annual series, presented by Soccer America, the No. 1 soccer magazine in the United States, gives fans the opportunity to make their selections for the best in soccer in the United States. Fans can vote for Athlete of the Year and “Best of U.S. Soccer” awards once a day from now until Friday, Dec. 7, on ussoccer.com’s “Best of U.S. Soccer” blog page. As a reminder, an athlete may win the Young Athlete of the Year only once during their career.

2007 U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year Nominees – Vote Now
Female Athlete of the Year Candidates
Lori Chalupny - Midfielder
Kristine Lilly - Forward
Heather O'Reilly - Forward
Abby Wambach - Forward
Cat Whitehill - Defender

Male Athlete of the Year Candidates
DaMarcus Beasley - Midfielder
Carlos Bocanegra - Defender
Clint Dempsey - Forward/Midfielder
Landon Donovan - Midfielder/Forward
Tim Howard - Goalkeeper

Young Female Athlete of the Year Candidates
Rachel Buehler - Defender
Lauren Cheney - Forward
Tina DiMartino - Midfielder
Tobin Heath - Midfielder
Kelley O'Hara - Forward

Young Male Athlete of the Year Candidates
Mykell Bates - Defender
Michael Bradley - Midfielder
Chris Seitz - Goalkeeper
Danny Szetela - Midfielder
Sal Zizzo - Midfielder

2007 “Best of U.S. Soccer” Awards Categories – Vote Now
Best Action Photo
Best all_access Video
Best Assist
Best U.S. Fan Atmosphere
Best Goal (MNT)
Best Goal (WNT)
Best Performance (Player)
Best Performance (Team)
Best Soccer Bar
Best Soccer Blog
Best Store

MORE THAN 26,000 TICKETS SOLD FOR U.S. MNT VS. MEXICO: More than 26,000 tickets have been sold for the U.S. Men’s National Team’s Feb. 6 clash with rival Mexico at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, just one week after going on sale to the general public. The match kicks off at 8 p.m. CT and will be televised live on ESPN2 and Univision. The last USA vs. Mexico match at Reliant Stadium drew a passionate sellout crowd of 69,582 fans on May 8, 2003 and remains the largest home crowd for the U.S. Men’s National Team this decade. In an arrangement unique for this game, U.S. Soccer has divided the seating into U.S.A., Mexico, and mixed/neutral fan sections at each price level. Tickets as low as $35 are on sale now at ussoccer.com, by phone at 713-629-3700, at all Houston area Ticketmaster ticket centers (including Fiesta stores, Macy’s, Wherehouse Music, FYE, and select HEB stores), and at the Reliant Stadium south ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.). Groups of 30 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or can call 312-528-1290. Ultimate Fan Tickets (a special VIP package which includes a premium ticket, a custom made official U.S. national team jersey with your name and number, VIP access to the field before and after the game, and other unique benefits), are also available exclusively through ussoccer.com. Additionally, ticket packages that include a premium pregame party starting at 6 p.m. inside the Houston Texans' training bubble (located across from Reliant Stadium) are also on sale through ussoccer.com and Ticketmaster. Packages priced at $250 each include a lower midfield game ticket, an all-you-can-eat buffet with beer and wine, and pregame entertainment.

SWEDEN QUALIFIES FOR 2008 BEIJING OLYMPIC WOMEN’S SOCCER TOURNAMENT: Sweden claimed the third and final European berth for the 2008 Beijing Olympic women’s soccer tournament as it finished off Denmark, 3-1, in the second leg of the two-game playoff series on Nov. 28. Sweden won the first leg, 4-2, taking the series by a dominating 7-3 aggregate, and now joins Germany and Norway (who both qualified through by virtue of their finish at the 2007 Women’s World Cup) as the European teams in next summer’s Olympics. With Sweden booking their ticket to China, seven of the 12 teams for Beijing are set. Japan and North Korea have qualified from Asia, and China has an automatic berth as host. Argentina has qualified from South America, forcing Brazil into a playoff against the second place finisher from Africa. Qualifying in Africa is on-going with Ghana and Nigeria in position to battle for the lone automatic berth. One team will also qualify from Oceania. The Beijing Olympic women’s soccer tournament will be held Aug. 6-21 at five venues: Tianjin, Shenyang, Qinhuangdao, Shanghai and Beijing.

2008 Beijing Olympics Women’s Soccer Qualifiers
Africa: One berth TBD
Asia: Japan, North Korea
Europe: Germany, Norway, Sweden
CONCACAF: TBD (2)
Oceania: TBD (1)
South America: Argentina
Playoff: Brazil vs. Africa Runner-Up
Host: China

– YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

COSTA RICA WINS FIRST LEG OF CENTRAL AMERICAN PLAYOFF: Costa Rica defeated Panama at the Estadio Rod Carew in Panama City, Panama, on Friday (Nov. 30) in the first left of a Central America playoff series. The second leg will take place on Thursday, Dec. 6, with the winner advancing to the 2008 CONCACAF U-23 Championship, along with the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Guatemala, Honduras, Cuba and Haiti. The 2008 CONACACAF U-23 Championship will take place from March 11-23 in Tampa Bay, Fla., Carson, Calif., and Nashville, Tenn. The Home Depot Center and Raymond James Stadium will each host three doubleheaders in group play, while LP Field in Nashville will host the semifinals on Thursday, March 20, and the championship match and third-place game on Sunday, March 23.

U.S. U-20 MNT CONCLUDES ARGENTINA TRIP: The U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team fell, 1-0, to Uruguay in Buenos Aires to conclude their three-game tour of Argentina. Uruguay’s Alexis Rivarola broke a scoreless tie in the 80th minute when he headed home a corner kick, and that’s all the South American side would need to hold on for the win. Goalkeeper Larry Jackson made eight saves for the U.S. in the game. Thomas Rongen's side tied River Plate's youth squad, 1-1, on Nov. 26, behind a goal from Amobi Ojuko. On Nov. 28 the team tied Argentina, 1-1, with a goal from Jorge Flores, and they finish their trip with a 0-1-2 record. The Under-20 Men's National Team is in early preparations for the 2009 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Egypt.

U-20 MNT Results
Date        Opponent             Result       U.S. Goalscorers
Nov. 26    River Plate           1-1 T         Amobi Okugo
Nov. 28    Argentina             1-1 T         Jorge Flores
Dec. 1      Uruguay               0-1 L         --

U.S. NATIONAL TRAINING SELECT TEAMS TO PARTICIPATE IN NIKE FRIENDLIES:
U.S. National Team coaches selected twenty-nine Academy players for two U.S. National Training Select Teams participating in this week’s Development Academy Nike Friendlies. The Under-15/16 National Team Training Select team will be comprised of only Academy players born in 1992 and will be coached by, Keith Fulk. The Under-17/18 National Team Training Select team will be coached by Raul Diaz Arce and be comprised of Academy players born in 1990 and 1991 as well as current Residency players born in 1990. The two teams were selected from a pool of Academy players from four different conferences who participated in a National Team Training Camp with the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team in Bradenton, Fla over Thanksgiving weekend. Thirty-one Academy players representing the Northeast, Mid Atlantic, Atlantic and Southwest Conferences joined more than 40 players in U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program to train under the guidance of new head coach Wilmer Cabrera and his staff.

Under-17/18 National Training Select Team
GOALKEEPERS (2): Josh Lambo (Middleton, Wis.), William Walsh (Chester, N.J.)
DEFENDERS (6): Mykell Bates (Roseville, Calif.), Norris White (Kensington, Md.), Brice Carr (Mequon, Wis.), Chris Klute (Grand Prairie, Texas), Christopher Lebo (Telford, Pa.), James Wenger (Lititz, Pa.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Sheanon Williams (Boston, Mass.), Brendan King (Naperville, Ill.), Jared Jeffrey (Dallas, Texas), Maxmillian Hamilton (Medford, N.J.), Patrick Boucher (Cromwell, Conn.), Brek Shea (College Station, Texas), Connor Fitzpatrick (Coventry, Conn.)
FORWARDS (4): Billy Schuler (Allentown, N.J.), Gaetano Panuccio (Mechanicsburg, Pa.), Christopher Hegngi (Silver Springs, Md.), Axel Levry (Ft. Washington, Md.)

Under-15/16 National Training Select Team
GOALKEEPERS (1): Travis Ives (Bridgewater, N.J.)
DEFENDERS (7): Brandon Adler (Montville, N.J.), Julio Arjona (Germantown, Md.), Samuel Bradley (Potomac, Md.), Nicholas Garcia (Rochester, N.Y.), Dane Kenny (Williston Park, N.Y.), Andrew O’Malley (West Chester, Pa.), Shaquille Phillips (Greenbelt, Md.)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Justin Orden (Scarsdale, N.Y.), Dante Marini (Chadds Ford, Penn.), Clifford Lyle (Stamford, Conn.), Daniel Herrera (Massapequa, N.Y.), Juan Dominguez (Rego Park, N.Y.), Lester Dewee (Kensington, Md.), Joseph Schmid (Kingston, Pa.), Emmet Kumeh (Dallas, Texas), Christian Johnson (New York, N.Y.)
FORWARDS (2): Orlando Castaneda (Bethpage, N.Y.), Brian Span (Somers, N.Y.)

U.S. U-15 BNT OFF TO DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY NIKE FRIENDLIES:
Under-15 Boy’s National Team head coach Jim Barlow has called 32 players into training for the Development Academy Nike Friendlies in Bradenton, Fla. The U-15s will be split into two teams, Blue and White, which will each play three games over the four days against Under-15/16 Development Academy clubs. The players, all born in 1993, will be vying to be apart of the Under-15s first training camp of 2008, in which 28 players will train at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. in February.

U.S. U-15 MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Johnathan Kempin (Leawood, Kan.), Max Kurtzman (Haverford, Pa.), William Whiddon (Carlsbad, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (6): David Caban (Kenosha, Wis.), George Fradenburg (Belden, Mass.), Jon-Paul Medina (Fresno, Calif.), Scott Thomsen (Brick, N.J.), Zachery Wenger (Baltimore, Md.), Matt Wiltse (Belle Mead, N.J.)
MIDFIELDERS (16): Robert Botchway (Bacula, Ga.), Jack Coleman (Norman, Okla.), Renzo Chavez (Miami, Fla.), Luis Gil (Garden Grove, Calif.), Jordan McCrary (Marietta, Ga.), Juan Mendoza (La Puente, Calif.), William Packwood (Concord, Mass.), Kevin Pahl (Lakeland, Fla.), James Petruccelli (Brentwood, N.H.), Victor Pineda (Boilingbrook, Ill.), Calvin Rezende (Davies, Fla.), Connor Rezende (Davies, Fla.), Keegan Smith (Temecula, Calif.), Joseph Shinsky (York, Pa.), Caleb Stanko (Holly, Mich.), William Trapp (Gahanna, Ohio)
FORWARDS (7): Cole Iverson (Decatur, Ala.), Djeli Kouyate (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Marcus Lacroix (New Egypt, N.J.), McAmos Paye (Wendell, N.C.), Henry Rios (Norwalk, Calif.), James Rogers (Salt Lake City, Utah), Jonathon Tovar (Fontana, Calif.)

– U.S. SOCCER COACHING UPDATE –

U-17 MNT ASSISTANT COACHES NAMED: U.S. Soccer has announced three assistant coaches who will join Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Wilmer Cabrera at U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla. Joining Cabrera and Brian Maisonneuve, who will begin his third year with the team in 2008, Oscar Pareja, Paul Caffrey and goalkeeper coach Paul Grafer will join the team before the spring semester begins in January. Pareja joins the team from Major League Soccer’s F.C. Dallas, where he has been an assistant coach for the past two years. Caffrey is a former coach at Suffolk County Community College in New York, where he was named the 2005 National Junior College Region XV Coach of the Year. He played professionally for the Long Island Rough Riders, and later served as an assistant coach for the team. A former MLS goalkeeper with the MetroStars, Grafer spent four seasons with the team and was between the pipes for two playoff victories in 2000. Cabrera was hired as head coach of the Under-17 Men’s National Team on Oct. 25, 2007, and had been with the team at IMG Academy since early November.

U.S. SOCCER COACHING SYMPOSIUM TO BE HELD AT NIKE FRIENDLIES: The U.S. Soccer Coaching Department will conduct a Coaching Symposium in conjunction with the 2007 Nike Friendlies from Dec. 6-9 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The three-day symposium will offer coaches an opportunity to interact with members of the U.S. Men’s National Team coaching staff, as well as other coaches associated with U.S. Soccer. More information is available at the Coaches Section of ussoccer.com.

COACHING SYMPOSIUM TO TAKE PLACE DEC. 12-14: The Elite Club Seminar Program will conduct a Coaching Symposium from Dec. 12-14, 2007, in Raleigh, N.C. The three-day seminar will focus on ‘’Females in Soccer’’ and the impact that elite soccer programs have on young female players, coaches and referees. The symposium is open to all coaches, and “A” Licensed coaches will receive four (4) Continuing Education Credits for their attendance at this symposium. Interested coaches should contact Tom Goodman at President@worldclasssoccer.net. More information is available at http://www.ussoccer.com/coaches/continuing/sympSchedule/index.jsp.html.

U.S. SOCCER WINTER COACHING SCHOOLS SET: U.S. Soccer's National Coaching Schools have been set for the first week of January, giving every coach a chance to obtain a FIFA recognized “A”, “B” or “C” level license while increasing their knowledge of the game. All January "A," "B" and "C" coaching schools will take place from Jan. 2-10, 2007, in three warm-weather locations. The National “A” License course will take place at the University of Tampa in Tampa, Fla., and The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The National “B” and “C” License courses will be offered at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and a soon to be announced West Coast site. Also in January is the third edition of U.S. Soccer's National Goalkeeping License course, which will be held Jan. 4-11 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. More information is available in the Coaches Section of ussoccer.com.

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

USL FIRST DIVISION 2008 SCHEDULE SET: United Soccer Leagues announced the 2008 season schedule, which features 11 teams and a 30-game schedule for the first time in league history. Each team will play each other three times during the regular season, with the top seven teams advancing to the playoffs. The regular season champion will receive a bye into the semifinals. The Seattle Sounders will return to USL to defender their First Division championship before joining Major League Soccer in 2009.

USL SECOND DIVISION SCHEDULE SET: United Soccer Leagues announced the details for the USL Second Division 2008 season. The Second Division will play 10-team, 20-game season for the sixth consecutive year. Each team will play all of the other teams at home and on the road, with the remaining matches being played between teams that are geographically close. The season kicks off on April 18 and concludes on Aug. 9. The top six teams will advance to the playoffs.

APPLICATIONS ACCEPTED FOR PASSBACK TOUR: The United States Soccer Foundation, the major charitable arm of U.S. Soccer, is now accepting applications for its 2008 "Passback Tour". The tour is a series of soccer skills clinics for urban disadvantaged children across the country held on a state-of-the-art field by some of the best coaches and players around. The 2008 event will consist of an eight-city tour with about 100 participants in each city. More information, including an application to participate in the tour, is available at www.passback.org/tour.

U.S. SOCCER FOUNDATION HOLIDAY AUCTION: The U.S. Soccer Foundation will begin conducting its Holiday Auction on Thursday, Nov. 15, when fans and constituents can view the assorted soccer memorabilia that will be up for auction this year at www.ussoccerfoundation.org/auction. The collection for this year includes autographed balls and jerseys from clubs and players, including Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea, Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm, Liverpool, Rangers FC and Paris St. German. Money collected from the auction will benefit the David Vanole Memorial Fund. The auction ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday, Dec. 13.

NOMINATIONS BEING ACCEPTED FOR 2008 WERNER FRICKER BUILDER AWARD: Nominations are now being accepted for the 2008 U.S. Soccer Werner Fricker Builder Award, which is presented annually to an individual or individuals who have worked tirelessly in furthering the interest of the sport of soccer, without regard to personal recognition or advancement. The award was created in 2002 and is the greatest recognition bestowed by U.S. Soccer on its membership. The award is designed to honor those who have created or fostered programs that will outlast their own active involvement in the sport and that establish a lasting legacy in the history and structure of soccer in the United States. Interested persons can nominate individuals for the annual Werner Fricker Builder Award by downloading the form at ussoccer.com and mailing it to U.S. Soccer, c/o the Werner Fricker Builder Award Committee, 1801 S. Prairie Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616 or emailing it to wernerfrickeraward@ussoccer.org. This form is also available at ussoccer.com, and applications must be postmarked or sent by January 1, 2008 (download application).

*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: U.S. Youth International Julian Valentin headed home a free kick for No. 2 Wake Forest in their second-round game against Furman in the NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament. Valentin, who was recently named as a semifinalist for the MAAC Hermann Award, has scored three goals in his senior season, including two game-winners. The defender also helped the Demon Deacons knock out West Virginia in their 3-1 third-round victory, setting Wake Forest up for a quarterfinal battle with No. 10 Notre Dame on Saturday.

SOCCER SHOCKER: The proverbial “Group of Death,” which makes a requisite appearance at every major tournament, will likely be seen in its most gruesome incarnation at Euro 2008. Group C of next year’s continental championship features Italy and France, the two World Cup finalists, Holland, a perennial world powerhouse, and Romania, the team which finished above said powerhouse in qualifying. Yikes! Carnage commences for this group on June 9 with the tournament beginning two days prior on June 7.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: The U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team will be in action for the first time under new head coach Wilmer Cabrera on Thursday, Dec. 6, at 3 p.m ET against the Russia U-17 MNT. The match will be televised live on Fox Soccer Channel, along with the U.S. U-17 matchup against Brazil at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. Fox Soccer Channel will also televise the U-17 '92s game against Turkey on a tape delay Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET.

QUOTABLE: “I think there are coaches who are happier today than the four here. I would have preferred to avoid all of the other three teams in the group, but that’s what we got and we have to live with it.”
-- France head coach Raymond Domenech after the draw for Euro 2008, in which he was drawn into Group C with the Netherlands, Italy and Romania.

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