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U.S. Soccer Wire - Oct. 31, 2005


U.S. Men's National Team to Face Scotland on Nov. 12
at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland

GOING TO SCOTLAND: U.S. Soccer has secured an additional match for the U.S. Men's National Team in 2005 on short notice, allowing the team to travel to Scotland to face the team at famed Hampden Park on Saturday, Nov. 12, in Glasgow. The match will be the 20th of the year for the USA and will kickoff at 4 p.m. local time (11 a.m. ET). Fans will be able to follow the match live on ussoccer.com?s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics and television details will be announced soon. The match falls on an international fixture date, and will take place on the first of two playoff dates set aside for the final 10 teams trying to earn a spot in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The match also falls one day before the MLS Cup championship game being played in Dallas on Sunday, Nov. 13. The U.S. has played Scotland five times in their history, holding a lifetime record of just 1-3-1, but hasn't played in Scotland in 53 years. The team?s lone match in Scotland came way back on Aug. 30, 1952, when the U.S. was blanked 6-0 in Glasgow. The teams last met in the USA?s final preparation match before the 1998 FIFA World Cup, playing to a scoreless draw on May 30, 1998, in Washington, D.C.

OLYMPIC WOMEN'S SOCCER TOURNAMENT MOVES FROM 10 TO 12 TEAMS FOR BEIJING 2008: As expected, the IOC has approved the expansion of the women's soccer tournament for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing from 10 to 12 teams. The Olympic women's soccer tournament featured eight teams in 1996 and 2000 before being expanded to an awkward 10 teams in 2004, which made for two groups of three teams and one group of four teams, meaning four countries played one more first-round match than the other six teams. Ironically, it was two countries from the four-team group, the USA and Brazil, who made it to the gold medal match. The FIFA Women's World Cup featured 12 teams in 1991 and 1995 before being increased to 16 for the 1999 and 2003 tournaments. Also approved by the IOC were increases in field hockey and handball from 10 to 12. At the 2004 Athens Olympics, 59 percent of the competitors were men and 41 percent women.

U.S. SOCCER FOUNDATION OUTLINES RECOVERY FUND APPLICATION PROCESS: The U.S. Soccer Foundation, the major charitable arm of soccer in the United States, has established the Soccer United Recovery Fund to help rebuild soccer programs in Gulf Coast communities affected by recent hurricanes. The Foundation is now offering guidelines for those who wish to pursue grants from the Recovery Fund. Eight soccer organizations in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas have agreed to help coordinate the initial requests for Soccer United Recovery Fund grant assistance on behalf of their youth teams and clubs. Those requesting assistance should contact their appropriate organization. The advisory group will apply online at ussoccerfoundation.org for Soccer Recovery Grants that specifically focus on providing immediate assistance in the form of goals, balls and uniforms. A second process, designed to address the long-term needs of the Gulf Coast soccer community, will be available online in mid-November via ussoccerfoundation.org. This focus will be on the repair and rehabilitation of soccer fields that were damaged during the storms. Further information will be made available online in mid-November. Requests for assistance from the Foundation?s Grants Department should be sent to recovery@ussoccerfoundation.org or by calling 202-872-6668.

-- WORLD CUP UPDATE --

U.S. SOCCER REFEREE KEVIN STOTT SELECTED AS FINALIST FOR WORLD CUP: U.S. Soccer Referee Kevin Stott was selected by FIFA as one of the 44 candidates to officiate the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. The 44 referees on the list will attend a workshop in Frankfurt on March 22-25, 2006, where they will complete a fitness test and undergo medical and psychological examinations. The candidates' knowledge of the Laws of the Game will also be assessed. Stott, who has refereed numerous 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches, joins six other referees from CONCACAF on the list. FIFA will select 30 referees to officiate the tournament.

CONDITIONAL WORLD CUP TICKETS AVAILABLE NOV. 2: The 2006 FIFA World Cup Organizing Committee (OC), with the agreement of FIFA, is offering fans around the world an additional chance of securing World Cup tickets, via an offer to purchase conditional tickets between Nov. 2-20, 2005. By purchasing conditional tickets, fans are placed on a waiting list. When a ticket is returned to the OC, fans on the waiting list have priority to receive those tickets. This offer is based upon an estimated number of returned tickets per match. Customers who purchase a conditional ticket can select up to a maximum of seven matches for which they will receive priority for tickets that are returned to the Organizing Committee. Customers may be allocated, and required to pay for, tickets for only one of the selected matches. The OC will allow a maximum of one ticket for the applicant and up to three accompanying persons. Details of the Conditional ticket program are available at fifaworldcup.com. Priority will be given to applicants who were unsuccessful in the first sale phase, together with customers whose TST series are rendered invalid due to the chosen team's failure to qualify for the summer 2006 finals (as of Nov. 1).

AT HOME IN HAMBURG: The U.S. Men?s National Soccer Team will use the City of Hamburg as their home base throughout the upcoming 2006 FIFA World Cup. The U.S. will learn the venue in which they will play their group matches on Dec. 9, 2005, at the FIFA World Cup Draw in Leipzig, Germany. Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany and the northern most FIFA World Cup venue. It is located at the confluence of the Elbe and Alster Rivers where it serves as Germany?s international trade hub as the second largest port in Europe. The selection of Hamburg, often referred to as the ?Venice of the North,? culminates an inspection process conducted by U.S. Soccer across a 16-month period in which all 12 FIFA World Cup venues were closely examined. ?We looked at a number of venues throughout Germany to base our team,? said U.S. manager Bruce Arena, ?and felt Hamburg was clearly the best choice. We had great success in 2002 staging our operations in one location (Seoul, South Korea) and traveling into our venues for games, and we feel that strategy will work for us again in 2006. Regardless of the venues we are eventually drawn into, the excellent transportation infrastructure in Germany allows us the luxury of choosing any city in the country as our base, and clearly Hamburg has as much or more to offer than any city in Germany.?

-- AROUND THE SOCCER NATION --

MLS CONFERENCE FINALISTS SET: The Chicago Fire earned a spot in the Eastern Conference Championship game after defeating D.C. United, 4-0, on Sunday (Oct. 29) in Washington, D.C., to win the series 4-0 after a scoreless first leg in Chicago. New England came back from a 1-0 first leg loss to advance with a 3-1 victory against the MetroStars on Saturday (Oct. 29). In the West, the Galaxy upset the San Jose Earthquakes, winners of the 2005 Supporter?s Shield, with a 4-2 aggregate score by tying 1-1 last night in San Jose after winning the opening game 3-1 on Oct. 22 at The Home Depot Center. Colorado advanced by defeating FC Dallas 5-4 in penalty kicks on Saturday (Oct. 29) at Pizza Hut Park after finishing the series with an aggregate score of 2-2. The teams had tied the first game 0-0 in Denver before tying again, 2-2, on Saturday (Oct. 29) in Frisco, Texas. The conference finals consist of a single-game Conference Championship to be hosted by the higher seed. The winners of each Conference Championship advance to MLS Cup 2005 at Pizza Hut Park on Nov. 13, live on ABC Sports at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Conference Finals
Date     Matchup                                                       Venue                   Kickoff; TV                             
Nov. 5  Colorado Rapids vs. Los Angeles Galaxy      INVESCO Field      9 p.m. ET; HDNet, FSC, FSE
Nov. 6  New England Revolution vs. Chicago Fire    Gillette Stadium    3 p.m. ET; ESPN2

Eastern Conference Semifinals
Date      Matchup                                                         Venue                                  Result
Oct. 21  Chicago Fire vs. D.C. United                           Soldier Field                         0-0
Oct. 22  MetroStars vs. New England Revolution          Giants Stadium                    1-0
Oct. 29  New England Revolution vs. MetroStars          Gillette Stadium                   3-1
Oct. 30  D.C. United vs. Chicago Fire                            RFK Stadium                        0-4

Western Conference Semifinals
Date      Matchup                                                               Venue                               Result
Oct. 22  Colorado Rapids vs. FC Dallas                              INVESCO Field                   0-0
Oct. 23  Los Angeles Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes      The Home Depot Center     3-1
Oct. 29  FC Dallas vs. Colorado Rapids                               Pizza Hut Park                    2-2 (5-4 pk)
Oct. 29  San Jose Earthquakes vs. Los Angeles Galaxy       Spartan Stadium                1-1

USL ANNOUNCES HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES AND LEAGUE AWARDS: United Soccer Leagues held the 2005 USL Hall of Fame induction at its Annual General Meeting on Sunday (Oct. 30) evening at the Grand Hyatt in Tampa, Fla., honoring 11 members of the USL family as Builders and nine franchises as members of the 10+ Club. The league also announced their annual season awards at the Hall of Fame Awards Banquet. In honor of the 20th Anniversary, USL will be doing a special induction of representatives from the organization?s early indoor years at a later date in place of the Coaches and Players inductions. Clubs and individuals were honored at the USL Awards Reception in each league for Executive of the Year, Organization of the Year, Referee of the Year, Fair Play and Marketing Excellence. Additional awards handed out were the Key Grip and Progress Awards. A detailed list of inductees and a list of award winners is available at uslsoccer.com.
USL Hall of Fame Class of 2005
Builders

Vincent Baldino
Jim DeDeus
Steve Donner, Frank DuRoss & Chris Economides
Jim & Dan Duggan
Chris & Stephanie Keenan
Cookie Ketcham & Bobby Lennon
Jill McCabe
Shawn McDonald
10+ Clubs
Boston Renegades
Kalamazoo Kingdom
Michigan Bucks
New Hampshire Phantoms
New Jersey Wildcats
Reading Rage
Rochester Raging Rhinos
Rochester Ravens
Wilmington Hammerheads

MLS AWARDS: Major League Soccer continues handing out post-season awards following the end of the regular season. Jimmy Conrad and Chris Klein of the Kansas City Wizards earned the Defender of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year, respectively. Conrad earned the honor for the first time, topping runners-up Danny Califf of the San Jose Earthquakes and Tyrone Marshall of the Los Angeles Galaxy. Klein, who earns the award for the second time, made 31 appearances for the Wizards this season, registering seven goals and nine assists. He missed the second half of the 2004 season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee. Klein finished second in both goals and assists for the Wizards this season, trailing only striker Josh Wolff in each category. He matched or set personal bests in both statistical areas this season, making this his most productive offensive campaign since joining the Kansas City Wizards prior to the 1998 season. Also earning recognition was U.S. Soccer referee Brian Hall, who was named Referee of the Year.

*** "CENTER CIRCLE" SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: Honduras and Chicago Fire midfielder Ivan Guerrero showed his poise on Sunday (Oct. 30) as the Fire faced defending MLS champion D.C. United at RFK Stadium in the second leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Guerrero scored two goals for his team, and assisted on a third, as the Fire went on to beat United 4-0. With the win, Chicago advanced to the Eastern Conference Final against the New England Revolution on Sunday, Nov. 6, at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. The match will be shown live on ESPN2.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: After a weekend of surprises and upsets, the MLS Conference Finals have some surprising matchups. In the East, the Chicago Fire will now face the New England Revolution. Chicago is the only team to beat D.C. in their playoff history and has a 4-3-0 playoff record against the Revs. In the West, the Los Angeles Galaxy faces the Colorado Rapids, who they have beaten five times and lost to only once in their playoff history.

SOCCER SHOCKER: Despite all the drama going into the playoffs, soccer enthusiasts everywhere were convinced D.C. United could overcome the saga and defeat the Chicago Fire. Instead, D.C. United fell to the Fire by four goals on Sunday afternoon at RFK Stadium. After a scoreless first leg in Chicago, the Fire got a goal from rookie Jack Stewart, two goals from Ivan Guerrero, and another goal from Jesse Marsch, becoming the only team to eliminate D.C. United from the post-season.

QUOTABLE: "They did that because they have so many of them during the season that they had to try something special."
 -- Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho on why Arsenal's Robert Pires and Thierry Henry attempted an ill-fated penalty-kick trick on Saturday, Oct. 22, against Manchester City. (BBC)

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