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U.S. Soccer Names Finalists for 2004 'Best of U.S. Soccer' Awards


CHICAGO (Monday, November 22, 2004) - U.S. Soccer announced the finalists for each of the 11 awards that make up the 2004 "Best of U.S. Soccer" series. Voting for the third annual awards begins today at ussoccer.com, with fans having the opportunity to make their selections through a sharp new multimedia voter interface once a day through Friday, Dec. 17, 2004. The 2004 “Best of U.S. Soccer” awards will be decided entirely by online fan votes submitted over the next month.

In addition to voting for the Best of U.S. Soccer awards, fans can also vote daily for the prestigious Chevrolet Athlete of the Year awards until the Dec. 17 deadline.

As with last year, fans across the country were called on to nominate finalists for the Best Soccer Bar and Best Soccer Store awards and the top 10 vote-getters became finalists.  Fans also wrote in to help select the six finalists for Best U.S. Soccer Story.

2004 Best of U.S. Soccer Awards

Best Soccer Bar:
This award goes to the best soccer-focused or soccer-friendly bar in the United States. You know the place: it’s where you go to watch the U.S. Men’s National Team play an away World Cup qualifier. It’s the place that opens on Saturday at 8 a.m. just so you and your gang can watch the day’s English Premier League offerings. It’s also the place that shows… say…the pay-per-view broadcast of a Youth World Championship and a place where the bartender knows who won the last Champions League title.

  1. The Britannia Arms (San Jose, Calif.)
  2. Dark Horse Pub (Philadelphia, Pa.)
  3. The George & Dragon Pub (Seattle, Wash.)
  4. Ginger's Ale House (Chicago, Ill.)
  5. Kell's (Portland, Ore.)
  6. Nathan Hale's (New York, N.Y.)
  7. Nevada Smith's (New York, N.Y.)
  8. Shakespeare Pub & Grille (San Diego, Calif.)
  9. Summers Restaurant (Arlington, Va.)
  10. Three Lions Pub (Charleston, S.C.)

Best Soccer Store:
This award honors the best all-around store to buy all things soccer, from the red-hot Nike Aerow 90 ball to gear for your Saturday league to the that Mia Hamm U.S. Women’s National Team keepsake jersey.

  1. Angelo's Soccer Corner (four locations in Pennsylvania)
  2. Far Post Soccer Supply Co. (Portland, Ore.)
  3. Gotshalk's (Boston, Mass.)
  4. The Onion Bag (New York, N.Y.)
  5. Soccer Locker (Miami, Fla.)
  6. Soccer Master (four locations around St. Louis, Mo.)
  7. Soccer Post (Philadelphia, Pa.)
  8. Soccer Shack (Rochester, N.Y.)
  9. Soccer Unlimited (four locations around Indianapolis, Ind.)
  10. Soccer USA (Austin, Texas)

Best U.S. Soccer Story:
This award recognizes the most positive and/or most-talked-about story within American soccer for the calendar year.

  1. Freddy Adu Mania Sweeps the Nation
  2. Veterans, Young Stars Lead WNT to Gold in Greece
  3. MLS Expands to 12 Teams with Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA
  4. Last-Minute Heroics Help MNT to Long Unbeaten Streak, Final Round of Qualifying
  5. Hamm, Foudy and Fawcett Finish Legendary Careers
  6. D.C. United Returns to Glory Days with MLS Cup Win

Best Fashion Statement:
This light-hearted honor goes to the most original or most fashionable clothing or jewelry accesory worn by a soccer player this year.

  1. DaMarcus Beasley's blinged-out #7 diamond necklace
  2. Bruce Arena's Nike sweat suit
  3. Necklace that caused El Salvador midfielder Denis Alas to receive red card ejection in qualifier on Sept. 4
  4. April Heinrich's Nike visor
  5. Abby Wambach's Olympic-winning gold Nike Mercurial Vapors
  6. U.S. Women's National Team's gold medals and Olympic wreaths

Best U.S. Crowd:
This award goes to a domestic U.S. National Team game that, looking back at 2004, you’re proud to say “I was at that game.”

  1. 45,048 – June 2 @ Cotton Bowl (Dallas, Texas) – U.S. MNT 1, Mexico 0
  2. 39,529 – July 11 @ Soldier Field (Chicago, Ill.) – U.S. MNT 1, Poland 1
  3. 25,266 – Sept. 4 @ Gillette Stadium (Foxboro, Mass.) – U.S. MNT 2, El Salvador 0
  4. 14,780 (sell out) – Sept. 25 @ Frontier Field (Rochester, N.Y.) – U.S. WNT 4, Iceland 3
  5. 16,554 – Oct. 3 @ PGE Park (Portland, Ore.) – U.S. WNT 5, New Zealand 0
  6. 18,885 – Nov. 3 @ Giants Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.) – U.S. WNT 1, Denmark 1

Best Soccer Fans:
This year, the award goes to the fan that went above and beyond the call of duty to support one of the U.S. National Teams either abroad or in our own backyard.

  1. Contingent of 150 plus fans from 21 different states who made their presence known at the Amsterdam ArenA for the U.S. MNT’s narrow 1-0 loss to Holland on Feb. 18.
  2. Friends, family and fans that made the trip to Greece to support the U.S. Women in person, despite the security concerns surrounding the Games.
  3. The record number of fans that jammed onto ussoccer.com's MatchTracker to follow the U.S. Women's National Team's Gold Medal win over Brazil on Aug. 26.
  4. The Sam's Army contingent that packed the North Stands in Foxboro, Mass., for the U.S. Men's first home qualifier of the semifinal round, a 2-0 win over El Salvador on Sept. 4.
  5. The City of Rochester, which completely threw itself behind hometown hero Abby Wambach, so much so that the NBC affiliate stepped up to produce a local broadcast so that the whole town could see the historic match.
  6. The more than 150,000 fans that filled enormous football stadiums with cheers and screams along the "Fan Celebration Tour," helping the U.S. WNT average more than 15,000 fans per venue on their farewell tour.

Best Goal:
This award goes to the best goal scored by a full U.S. National Team player in an international match played this year. Different from years past, this award will be judged on technical merit alone, as opposed to the importance of the match in which it took place.

  1. Lori Chalupny's long-range bomb in a pre-Olympic romp over Mexico in Albuquerque – U.S. WNT 3, Mexico 0 – May 9
  2. Brian McBride's upper-90 finish of a clever Conor Casey flick pass to help the U.S. to a lopsided result in a World Cup qualifying tune-up match – U.S. MNT 4, Honduras 0 – June 2
  3. Lindsay Tarpley's rocket that gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead over Brazil in the Gold Medal Match – U.S. WNT 2, Brazil 1 (OT) – Aug. 26
  4. Brian Ching's give-and-go with Bobby Convey that ended with him snapping home a header off the post to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute of their first home qualifier of the semifinal round – U.S. MNT 2, El Salvador 0 – Sept. 4
  5. Abby Wambach is the only U.S. player in the offensive half of the field as she flicks a ball over two defenders and then hits a 22-yard looping blast in a win over Iceland – U.S. WNT 3, Iceland 0 – Sept. 29
  6. Landon Donovan’s clinical outside of the foot finish inside the near post opened the scoring in a route of Panama – U.S. MNT 6, Panama 0 – Oct. 13

Best Assist:
This award goes to the best assist served up by a full U.S. National Team player in an international match played this year. A new award for this year, this award will also be judged on technical merit alone, as opposed to the importance of the match in which it took place.

  1. After receiving a ball from Conor Casey with his back to goal, a Josh Wolff flick falls perfectly into the path of a streaking DaMarcus Beasley, who calmly slots it through the legs of goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek – U.S. MNT 1, Poland 0 – March 31
  2. Claudio Reyna's looping cross on DaMarcus Beasley's far post header that opened the USA's scoring in FIFA 2006 World Cup Qualifying – U.S. MNT 3, Grenada 0 – June 13
  3. Landon Donovan's crafty square ball on Brian Ching's equalizer as the U.S. scrambled for a late goal – U.S. MNT 1, Jamaica 1 – Aug. 18
  4. Mia Hamm's drive to the endline and pass through traffic that Heather O'Reilly deftly finished for the game-winning goal in the Olympic semifinal – U.S. WNT 2, Germany 1 (OT) – Aug. 23
  5. Kristine Lilly's perfectly-placed corner kick assist on Abby Wambach's game-winning header in the Olympic final – U.S. WNT 1, Brazil 1 (OT) – Aug. 26
  6. Abby Wambach's clever back-heeled assist in the path of Mia Hamm, who finished clinically with her left foot to help the WNT to a win in the first match of the "FCT" – U.S. WNT 4, Iceland 3 – Sept. 25

Best Late-Game Heroics:
This award honors the best goals that either won or tied the game either late in the match, in stoppage time or in overtime.

  1. Eddie Pope's game-winning tap-in of a Taylor Twellman header in the 93rd minute in Dallas to extend the MNT's recent dominance of Mexico – U.S. MNT 1, Mexico 0 – April 28
  2. With a sold-out crowd of 3,000 in Costa Rica going crazy as the hosts applied serious pressure late in the game down 2-0, the U.S. Futsal Team silenced the arena by sending the fans to the exits with Greg Howes' length-of-the-field shot into an empty net with two minutes to play, moving the U.S. into the Futsal World Championship - U.S. Futsal 4, Costa Rica 0 - July 30
  3. Brian Ching's 89th minute strike in Jamaica to tie the match and earn a valuable point in the first match of the semifinal round of 2006 FIFA World Cup Qualifying – U.S. MNT 1, Jamaica 1 – Aug. 18
  4. Heather O'Reilly's clever run and flicked shot that served as the game winner in the 99th minute to put the USA in the Gold Medal Match – U.S. WNT 2, Germany 1 (OT) – Aug. 23
  5. Abby Wambach's hanging-in-the-air header in the 112th minute to deliver the Gold Medal – U.S. WNT 2, Brazil 1 (OT) – Aug. 26
  6. Cobi Jones' finish of a swampy scramble in the penalty area to salvage yet another point on the road in semifinal qualifying – U.S. MNT 1, Panama 1 – Sept. 8

Best Game Performance (Player):
This award goes to the one U.S. National Team player who took the team on his or her shoulders and put their respective team in position to win with their outstanding, if not dominating, individual performance. The finalists were determined with special consideration given to the importance of the match in which the noteworthy performance occurred.

  1. Abby Wambach's hat trick that led the WNT to its third Algarve Cup title in the last five years – U.S. WNT 4, Norway 1 – March 20
  2. Landon Donovan's command of the midfield, continuing his strong performances against our arch-rival – U.S. MNT 1, Mexico 0 – April 28
  3. DaMarcus Beasley's two-goal performance to help the U.S. win its opener in the semifinal round of 2006 FIFA World Cup Qualifying – June 13 – U.S. MNT 3, Grenada 0
  4. Mia Hamm's all-over-the-place performance and game-winning assist in the Olympic semifinals to avenge last year's WWC loss to Germany – U.S. WNT 2, Germany 1 (OT) – Aug. 23
  5. Ed Johnson's hat trick in just 18 minutes that turned a solid 3-0 win over Panama into a six-goal blowout that clinched a spot in the next round of qualifying in emphatic fashion – U.S. MNT 6, Panama 0 – Oct. 13
  6. Abby Wambach's five-goal onslaught that demonstrated the correct way to finish a Mia Hamm pass – U.S. WNT 5, Ireland 0 – Oct. 23

Best Game Performance (Team):
This award is for that game where a U.S. National Team played out of their heads and rose to the occasion to deliver an outstanding -- or even unexpected -- result. The finalits were determined with special consideration given to the importance of the match in which the noteworthy performance occurred.

  1. U.S. WNT 4, Norway 1 – March 20 – Faro, Portugal – USA wins third Algarve Cup title.
  2. U.S. MNT 1, Poland 0 – March 31 – Plock, Poland – Arena’s first victory in Europe.
  3. U.S. MNT 1, Mexico 0 – April 28 – Dallas, Texas – Another U.S. win over Mexico is surprisingly dominant.
  4. U.S. WNT 2, Germany 1 (OT) – Aug. 23 – Athens, Greece – Revenge for WNT’s 2003 WWC loss.
  5. U.S. WNT 2, Brazil 1 (2OT) – Aug. 26 – Athens, Greece – A Gold Medal sayonara for the WNT legends.
  6. U.S. MNT 6, Panama 0 – Oct. 13 – Washington, D.C. – The MNT’s dominant qualifying performance clinches advancement.

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