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Soccer Wire: October 24, 2005


U.S. WNT Finishes Year With 3-0 Win Against Mexico;
Ends Year Undefeated, Without Allowing a Goal

DEFENSIVE PERFECTION: The U.S. Women’s National Team rolled over a talented but physically overmatched Mexican Women’s National Team to win 3-0 in the final match of 2005 for the reigning Olympic champions. The USA finished 2005 with a record of 8-0-1 and did not allow a goal during the calendar year. Abby Wambach scored twice against Mexico, upping her career total to 49 goals in 62 games, while U.S. captain Kristine Lilly opened the scoring with her 105th career goal, tying Michelle Akers for second on the all-time U.S. scoring list. The U.S. peppered the Mexican goal with 28 shots, scoring three times in the first half, but could not find the net in the second. Mexico played some excellent possession soccer, but could not solve a U.S. defense that has also shut out Germany, Canada and France this year.

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 December 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.”

-- YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE --

U.S. U-15 GNT IN TRAINING CAMP AT HOME DEPOT CENTER: The U.S. U-15 Girl’s National Team, the youngest of the USA’s five Women’s National Team programs, started training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., last Saturday and will train through Friday, Oct. 28. Head coach Stephanie Gabbert has called in 24 players, all but one born in 1990, for the week-long camp and the girls have already had an eventful start to the week. The team attended the UCLA women’s soccer match against Washington State on Sunday and today will get a chance to meet U.S. Women’s National Team star Abby Wambach, who will talk with the team before their afternoon training. This is the second training camp of the year for the U-15s, who have two to three events a year.
U.S. U-15 GNT Training Camp Roster
GOALKEEPERS (4): Bianca Henninger (Saratoga, Calif.), Caitlin Hulyo (Lititz, Pa.), Shaine Millheiser (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.), Anna Sieloff (Troy, Michigan); DEFENDERS (7); Margueritte Aozasa (Los Altos, Calif.), Morgan Betscher (Decater, Ill.), Julia Bouchelle (Cockeysville, Md.), Amanda Fancher (The Colony, Texas), Michelle Olivier (Roswell, Ga.), Ashley Rape (Dallas, Texas), Elizabeth Wright (Redmond, Wash.); MIDFIELDERS (8): Shira Averbuch (Upper Montclaire, N.J.), Lauren Brown (Los Altos, Calif.), Charney Burk (Santa Ana, Calif.), Chelsea Cline (DeMoines, Iowa), Erika Markley (Saint Peters, Pa.), Teresa Noyola (Palo Alto, Calif.), Whitney Sharpe (West DeMoines, Iowa), Casey Short (Naperville, Ill.); FORWARDS (5): Lauren Alwine (Elizabethtown, Pa.), Caroline Dagley (San Rafael, Calif.), Brianna Garcia (Babylon, N.Y.), Merritt Mathias (Birmingham, Ala.), Chelsea Stewart (Highlands Ranch, Colo.).

- AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

WORLD CUP ORGANIZING COMMITTEE TO OPEN TICKET PORTAL FOR FANS: The 2006 FIFA World Cup Organizing Committee will operate an internet ticket portal for fans in order to facilitate ownership transfers and reselling of World Cup match tickets. The online platform, to be run in co-operation with FIFA, is currently scheduled to open on Feb. 1, 2006. The third phase of ticket sales for the 64 matches at the finals runs from Dec. 12, 2005, until Jan. 15, 2006, through www.FIFAworldcup.com. The OC portal will offer ticket holders the opportunity to find potential purchasers by legal means. Tickets may strictly be offered only at face value. Transferring tickets to a specific interested party named in advance by the registered holder will also be possible, especially between family members. The OC will continue to maintain the strictest security standards, as reflected in ticket personalization. More detailed information regarding relevant procedures will be released at a later date.

MLS PLAYOFFS HEAT UP: The MetroStars will travel to New England on Saturday, Oct. 29, with a one-goal lead over the Revolution after the first game of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Chicago Fire played defending champion D.C. United to a scoreless draw on Friday (Oct. 21) at Soldier Field and travels to Washington, D.C. on Sunday, Oct. 30, for the second match of the series. In the West, the Los Angeles Galaxy upset the top-ranked San Jose Earthquakes, 3-1, at The Home Depot Center. The rival squads meet again on Saturday, Oct. 29, for the second leg of the series, as do FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids, who tied 0-0 on Saturday (Oct. 22) in Colorado. If teams are tied on aggregate goals after Game 2 of the Conference Semifinal series, a 30-minute extra time period will be played followed by penalty kicks, if necessary. The two conference semifinal winners will meet in 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.
Eastern Conference Semifinals
Date        Matchup                                                         Venue                             Kickoff; TV/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                 8 p.m. ET; WB-56, Direct Kick
Oct. 30    D.C. United vs. Chicago Fire                            RFK Stadium                    4:30 p.m. ET; ESPN2
Western Conference Semifinals
Date        Matchup                                                         Venue                             Kickoff; TV
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                 8:30 p.m. ET; TBD
Oct. 29    San Jose Earthquakes vs. Los Angeles Galaxy   Spartan Stadium               10 p.m. ET; FSN West, Direct Kick

MLS AWARDS: Major League Soccer has begun handing out post-season awards following the end of the regular season. Highlighting the award  winners is New England Revolution and U.S. Men’s National Team forward Taylor Twellman, who earned the Budweiser Golden Boot Award with 17 tallies throughout the year. San Jose Earthquakes teammates Pat Onstad and Ronald Cerritos earned the 2005 Goalkeeper of the Year and Fair Play awards, respectively. Winners of the remaining eight awards, including Most Valuable Player, Goal of the Year and Rookie of the Year will be announced at a later time.

STEAMERS NAME SAVIC TEAM PRESIDENT: The St. Louis Steamers of the Major Indoor Soccer League announced last week that Zoran Savic has been named the club's president. Savic had been the head coach in Kansas City for the past 11 seasons, where he also served as the vice president for the Comets. Savic came to the United States over 20 years ago from Yugoslavia and was the first player in the league's history to win championships as a player (1987), coach (1993) and general manager (1997).

BEASLEY, DONOVAN & KELLER NAMED 2005 HONDA PLAYER OF THE YEAR FINALISTS: DaMarcus Beasley, Landon Donovan and Kasey Keller have been selected by 206 sports journalists from across the nation as the three finalists for the 2005 Honda Player of the Year Award. The winner will be announced during the award luncheon celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the Honda Player of the Year Award on Wednesday, November 30 at The Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. The previous winners of the Honda Player of the Year Award are: Landon Donovan (2004, 2003 and 2002), Earnie Stewart (2001), Claudio Reyna (2000), Kasey Keller (1999), Cobi Jones (1998), Eddie Pope (1997), Eric Wynalda (1996, 1992), Alexi Lalas (1995), Marcelo Balboa (1994), Thomas Dooley (1993) and Hugo Perez (1991). In 2000, Eric Wynalda was named the Honda Player of the Decade.

BRUCE ARENA, DR. ROBERT CONTIGUGLIA TO SPEAK AT 2005 HONDA SYMPOSIUM: U.S. Men's National Team Manager Bruce Arena and U.S. Soccer Federation President Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia will speak at the 2005 Honda Symposium on Tuesday, Nov. 29, at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, Calif. Arena will discuss the evolution of the U.S. Men's National Team since he took over the program in 1998, including the expansion of the team's player pool and the process of preparing for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. Dr. Contiguglia, who has been president of U.S. Soccer since 1998, will address the role of U.S. Soccer in the future of the game, as well as its impact on player development and youth programs. Also speaking at the event will be President of CD Chivas USA Antonio Cue and Mexico U-17 Men's National Team Head Coach Jesus Ramirez.

CREDENTIAL APPLICATION FOR MLS CUP 2005 NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE: Media planning to cover MLS Cup 2005 at Pizza Hut Park on Sunday, November 13 can apply for media credentials online at mlsnet.com.  Media members that have applied for credentials for recent MLS / SUM events can login using the same email address and password previously used. Media credential applications must be received by Friday, November 4 at 5 p.m. ET. Credentials from previous MLS matches or other soccer events, including 2005 MLS All-Stadium and Team season credentials, will not gain media access to this game. All media are required to re-apply for credentials ahead of MLS Cup 2005.

USL ADDS PLAYERS' VILLAGE TO 2005 SOCCERFEST: United Soccer Leagues is pleased to announce the addition of the USL Players’ Village to the 2005 USL SoccerFest, presented by Fox Soccer Channel. The SoccerFest includes USL’s two largest annual events, the USL Annual General Meeting (AGM) October 28-31 and the Super Y-League North American Finals November 18-22. The Players' Village, a new event that will be in conjunction with the Super Y-League Finals, will open on Friday, November 18 through Sunday, November 20. It will be an interactive area open to all tournament participants, family, friends and members of the Tampa community. In addition to displays set up by FSC and other companies, the Players’ Village will include free games and contests, a FIFA 2006 video game tournament, and a free raffle for prizes including a jersey autographed by former SYL player and current DC United midfielder Freddy Adu.

*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: Kristine Lilly is the USA’s “Iron Woman” and has 299 caps for the U.S. Women’s National Team. On Sunday afternoon in Charleston, S.C., Lilly reached another milestone: her 105th international goal. Lilly is now tied with Michelle Akers for second as the USA’s all-time leading goal scorer after scoring in the ninth minute against Mexico. Both Akers and Lilly are still 53 goals behind all-time leading goal scorer, Mia Hamm.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: The MLS playoffs are underway, which means that instead of one exciting matchup, you have a whole weekend of them to choose from. Three matches will take place on Saturday, Oct. 29, as the MetroStars and New England Revolution, Los Angeles Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes and Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas face off in the second leg of their respective playoff series. The final playoff game of the weekend pits defending champion D.C. United against the Chicago Fire on Sunday, Oct. 30, at 4:30 p.m. ET live on ESPN2.

SOCCER SHOCKER: Anson Dorrance may have turned a few heads when he called 15-year-old Mia Hamm to the U.S. Women’s National Team in 1987. This past weekend in South Carolina, Mexico Women’s National Team head coach Leo Cuellar did something similar, putting 14-year-old Veronica Corral in against the U.S. Women in the 57th minute. Cuellar gave the 14-year-old 22 minutes of playing time before subbing her out again in the 79th minute. She is believed to be the youngest player ever to play against the full U.S. Women’s National Team.

QUOTABLE: “We’re happy they didn’t score any goals on us. For us, that is a big thing; shutting teams down, not allowing any chances. We gave Mexico a good chance in the first half and we were a little lucky to keep that record going. I’m very happy to get eight wins and no losses with a very young team.”
 -- U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach Greg Ryan on the 8-0-1 record in the 2005 season without surrendering any goals.

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