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Major U.S. Soccer Events Unfold on Friday in Tripleheader of Soccer Activities


CHICAGO (Thursday, December 4, 2003) - In a soccer calendar that is filled with events year-round, Friday (December 5) will be one of the more active days in recent U.S. Soccer history. In a remarkable confluence of activities, Friday is a tripleheader day for soccer fans across the United States to monitor the happenings from Frankfurt, Germany, to Bradenton, Fla., to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

On tap for the busy day is the FIFA Preliminary Draw for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, where the U.S. Men’s National Team will find out what teams will await them on their quest to qualify for a fifth consecutive World Cup. The draw is being staged in Frankfurt, Germany, and begins at 11 a.m. ET, just one hour after the first of 23 games will be played at U.S. Soccer’s third annual Nike Friendlies, an elite competition of the best youth soccer clubs in the United States being played across four days in Bradenton, Florida (the home of U.S. Soccer’s Under-17 Residency Program).

Perhaps the most telling event on tap, though, is the crucial third match for the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team at the FIFA World Youth Championship in the UAE. The U.S. U-20s are slated to take on the Korea Republic on Friday in Group F action, with all four teams in their group tied on three points after two games. The U.S.-Korea Republic match kicks off at 11:30 a.m. ET and can be followed live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. A draw or a win for the U.S. will guarantee the team a spot in the tournament’s Round of 16 (The match will be shown on tape-delay on Galavision at 1:30 p.m. ET & PT).

Attached below is a quick synopsis of each event on the docket for U.S. Soccer’s Tripleheader Friday.

U.S. SOCCER TRIPLEHEADER OF SOCCER ACTIVITIES
Friday, December 5, 2003

FIFA WORLD CUP 2006 PRELIMINARY DRAW – Frankfurt, Germany
At the preliminary draw in Frankfurt, the CONCACAF region will be the final confederation drawn, with the CONCACAF portion of the draw expected to be completed around 1:45 p.m. ET. In Friday's event, the U.S. will be placed into a mini three-team group in which they will await the winner of a two-game series between two of the following teams (one from Pot E: Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Bermuda, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Grenada, Haiti, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia or Surinam; and one from Pot F: Anguilla, Aruba, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Guyana, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, Turks & Caicos Islands or U.S. Virgin Islands).

At the same time, the U.S. will also be bracketed into one of three Semifinal Round groups where they would eventually face three of the following teams should they advance out of their early-round mini-groups (one from Pot B: Honduras, Jamaica or Trinidad & Tobago; and two from Pot C: Barbados, Canada, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama and/or St. Vincent & Grenadines).

As qualifiers for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the United States, Mexico and Costa Rica are guaranteed to avoid each other in the three Semifinal Round groups.

For a grid detailing Friday's CONCACAF qualifying draw for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, please visit /teams/mens/fwc/index.jsp.html. A preview of the 20 Caribbean Zone nations the U.S. could face in their preliminary-round group is available at /teams/mens/fwc/index.jsp.html&icustompageid=8678.


U.S. U-20 MNT vs. KOREA REPUBLIC IN WORLD YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP – Abu Dhabi, UAE
The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team has been in the UAE since Nov. 23, and after an opening 3-1 victory over Paraguay and then a 3-1 loss to Germany, are poised to advance to the FIFA World Youth Championship second round with a win or draw against the Korea Republic on Friday. Even though a draw would likely drop the U.S. into third place in their group (assuming the Germany-Paraguay does not end in a draw), a single-point would guarantee the U.S. a finish as one of the top four third-place teams, which would put them in the Round of 16.

The important U-20 match against Korea can be followed live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics at 11:30 a.m. ET / 8:30 a.m. PT (and will be televised tape delayed on Galavision at 1:30 p.m. ET & PT).

A number of scenarios also exist whereby the U.S. can advance with a loss by as many as two goals, provided that the Germany-Paraguay match does not end in a draw and the U.S. is able to maintain a top-three finish in Group F. The U.S. will have the added luxury of knowing the result of the Germany-Paraguay game as it is being played three hours before the United States kicks off against the Korea Republic.

For a detail look at the U-20s two weeks in the UAE, check out the Competition Section of ussoccer.com - /teams/youth/u-20mnt/fwyc.jsp.html.


U.S. SOCCER’S NIKE FRIENDLIES 2003 – Bradenton, Florida
The Nike Friendlies are an annual youth soccer event presented by Nike and U.S. Soccer that invites elite soccer clubs from around the United States to the IMG Academy at Bradenton, Fla. Most of the teams competing will play four games (one per day from Dec. 5-8) and no standings are kept so that the emphasis is put on quality soccer and player development as opposed to wins and losses. In three years, the event has become a highly anticipated event by clubs and college coaches because of the emphasis on quality soccer.

This year a total of 47 teams are scheduled to compete in three age groups (Under-16, Under-17 and Under-18), representing 15 different states. More than 90 matches will be scheduled and seven fields will be used. The competition will also be highlighted by a trio of matches televised by Fox Sports World featuring the U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team, Brazil’s U-17 Men’s National Team and a Nike Friendlies All-Star Team.

For a detail look at the Nike Friendlies competition, check out the Competition Section of ussoccer.com where results will be updated all weekend long. Also available is a breakdown of the tournament schedule and a list of all the competing clubs.

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