SAN JOSE, Calif. (Thursday, September 4, 2003) - The 2003 United States Women’s World Cup Team closed the Los Angeles segment of its 14-day California training period yesterday, and flew up the coast to San Jose this morning in preparation for the USA’s final match before the 2003 Women’s World Cup. The final send-off match against Mexico will take place on Sunday, Sept. 7, at Spartan Stadium. The USA will train at 4 p.m. at Santa Clara University on Thursday afternoon, at 10 a.m. at Santa Clara on Friday and then from 9:30-10:30 a.m. on Saturday at Spartan Stadium.
17 DAYS TO THE OPENING WHISTLE: With 17 days until the U.S. opens its 2003 Women’s World Cup schedule on Sept. 21 against Sweden at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., the Americans will break for several days after the Sept. 7 clash with Mexico. The team will re-group in Charlottesville, Va. on Sept. 12, with the first pre-WWC training on Sept. 13 at the University of Virginia. The USA has just 11 training sessions left before opening the tournament. Women’s World Cup tickets can be purchased by logging onto ussoccer.com or ticketmaster.com.
“BREAKFAST WITH BRANDI” BROADCAST IN BOTH ENGLISH AND SPANISH: The USA-Mexico match, which kicks off at 10 a.m. PT on Sunday, Sept. 7, and is being played in the home stadium of U.S. National Team defender and San Jose CyberRays star Brandi Chastain, will be broadcast live in both English and Spanish, on ESPN and Telemundo, respectively. Fans can also follow the game live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The match is part of a doubleheader with the MLS match between the San Jose Earthquakes and the New England Revolution kicking off at 12:30 p.m. Chastain, a San Jose native, grew up watching the old Earthquakes of the NASL and her first youth soccer team was named the “Quakettes.” USA-Mexico group tickets are $15 and $25, a saving of $5 per ticket with no per-ticket convenience charge, and can be ordered by calling 408-985-4625. Individual tickets, priced from $20 to $50, are available through Ticketmaster.
BAY AREA HOMECOMING: With nine of the 20 players on the U.S. Women’s World Cup Team from California, the team definitely has West Coast ties, but even more so to the San Francisco/San Jose Bay Area. Danielle Slaton, Brandi Chastain and Aly Wagner all hail from San Jose, and all attended Santa Clara University, as did Kylie Bivens. Tiffany Roberts is from San Ramon, while Julie Foudy attended Stanford and Joy Fawcett attended California.
HOME DEPOT CENTER A HIT WITH U.S. WOMEN: The U.S. WNT spent six days at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center at the Home Depot center in Carson, Calif., and the state-of-the-art facility drew rave reviews from the U.S. players. As the first senior national team to train, play and win at the HDC, the U.S. women certainly made themselves at home by utilizing the training fields, locker rooms, fitness center, and the stadium itself when it defeated Costa Rica 5-0. While it was the 300th match in the 17-year history of the U.S. Women’s National Team and the 223rd win, it was also surely the first of many wins for the U.S. Soccer Federation at the HDC.
BOXX, AND 1: How many soccer players get named to their first Women’s World Cup Team, earn their first cap and score their first international goal all in the same week? And then accomplish those last two feats 20 minutes from where she grew up in perhaps America’s finest soccer stadium? Just one: Shannon Boxx. The midfielder from Redondo Beach, California, just across the 405 Freeway from the Home Depot Center, had a dream debut for the USA, playing all 90 minutes and scoring her first ever goal with a left-footed strike early in the second half. The only uncapped player ever named to a U.S. Women’s World Cup Team, she is coming off her best pro season for the New York Power, where she earned WUSA All-Star honors and was an All-WUSA First-Team selection.
U.S. WOMEN 19 GOALS AWAY FROM 1000: In 1969, while playing for Santos, the great Pele scored his 1,000th career goal on a penalty kick against Vasco de Gama at the famed Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro and the country rejoiced. Sixty-four different players have contributed to the 981 goals for the U.S. women, including 141 by Mia Hamm, but who will score the 1,000th goal in U.S. Women’s National Team history? Where will it come? And how it will come? While it may come with a bit less fanfare than Pele’s, that player will seal her place in national team lore as one of the most potent attacking teams in history heads toward the historic mark.
MAC IS BACK: In one of the more emotional moments in recent memory for the U.S. Women’s National Team, Shannon MacMillan made her return to international soccer on Sept. 1 against Costa Rica just 102 days after ACL surgery on her right knee. On the night that her former college coach Clive Charles was honored with a moment of silence before the match after passing away the week before, MacMillan trotted onto the field in the 70th minute to one of the loudest cheers of the night in another step on her miraculous comeback. MacMillan suffered the injury playing for the San Diego Spirit on May 18, had surgery two days later, and then worked extremely hard in her rehabilitation to get back on the field. Her hard work paid off when Heinrichs named her to the 2003 Women’s World Cup Team. “It was incredibly emotional when April told me,” said MacMillan. “I know I still have a lot of work to do, but this World Cup will mean more to me than anything else in my soccer career to this point. There were a couple days in the process that I thought I couldn’t push myself as hard as I needed to, but I had a great group of people supporting me and helping me through it.”
USA vs. MEXICO HISTORY: The USA has played and defeated Mexico eight times in its history, most recently a 3-0 win in the opening match of the 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup in Pasadena, Calif. Mexico’s best opportunity was on Dec. 10, 2000, when the Tricolores fell 3-2 loss in Houston after holding a 2-1 lead before two Cindy Parlow goals put the USA on top for good. Mexico is coming off the vast disappointment of a failed Women’s World Cup run, falling to Japan in a two-game playoff series for the final spot at USA ’03. Mexico tied 2-2 on July 5 in Mexico City, then fell 2-0 in Tokyo on July 12. In 1999, Mexico qualified by winning a two-game series against Argentina and became the first Spanish-speaking country to qualify for a Women’s World Cup. Mexico boasts two WUSA players in defender Monica Gonzales of the Boston Breakers and forward Maribel Dominguez of the Atlanta Beat. Iris Mora, a star forward at UCLA, is also one of Mexico’s stalwarts and gives them two pesky offensive personalities. Mexico head coach Leo Cuellar is now focused on qualifying for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. The CONCACAF Olympic qualifying will be held in Mexico next February, with Mexico in the same group as Canada. The top two teams in the eight-team tournament advance to Greece.
MILBRETT JOINS U.S. TEAM AS 100 GOALS ARE WITHIN REACH: Forward Tiffeny Milbrett will join the U.S. team in San Jose after spending the week in Portland mourning the loss of her college coach and mentor Clive Charles. With 98 career goals, the slashing forward needs just two more scores to become the fifth player in the history of international soccer to score 100 goals. Mia Hamm (141), Italy’s Elisabetta Vignotto (107), Italy’s Carolina Morace (105) and Michelle Akers (105) are the only four to have accomplished the feat.