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U.S. WNT Arrives in South Korea For Peace Queen Cup

United States Women’s National Team
Notes from Seoul, South Korea
2006 Peace Queen Cup
Oct. 24, 2006

U.S. WOMEN ARRIVE IN SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA FOR 2006 PEACE QUEEN CUP: The U.S. Women’s National Team arrived in Seoul, South Korea, on the evening of Monday, Oct. 23, after a 12-hour direct flight from Los Angeles. Three players did not make the team flight due to airline difficulties, but forward Natasha Kai, defender Amy LePeilbet and midfielder Joanna Lohman took a later flight and arrived in time for breakfast on Tuesday morning. U.S. head coach Greg Ryan has brought a 20-player roster to this event, which will be staged for the first time as a women’s tournament after two previous incarnations featured professional men’s clubs, including the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2003. The USA will train for four days in Seoul while getting acclimated to the 13-hour time difference from the East Coast of the United States, before taking a quick trip south on Oct. 28 to Kimhae, where the USA will open the tournament on Oct. 29 against Denmark. The U.S. team will return to Seoul following the match, where it will be based for the final two first-round matches, against Australia on Oct. 31 in Cheonan and against the Netherlands on Nov. 2 in Suwon, both within driving distance of Seoul. (Peace Queen Cup home

U.S. WNT Peace Queen Cup Schedule
Date      Opponent    Venue                            City               Kickoff / ET
Oct. 29   Denmark    Gimhae Stadium         Kimhae       5 p.m. / 4 a.m. ET
Oct. 31   Australia     Cheonan Stadium      Cheonan     4 p.m. / 3 a.m. ET
Nov. 2    Holland       Suwon WC Stadium   Suwon          2:30 p.m. / 1:30 a.m. ET

FIRST TRAINING IS A LIGHT ONE: The U.S. held its first training in South Korea on the afternoon of Oct. 24 under bright sunshine at the massive stadium in Seoul that served as the main stadium for the 1988 Olympics. The stadium is part of a large complex of former Olympic venues and the U.S. team will be training there daily up until they leave for the first match on the southern coast of Korea in Kimhae. The USA trained for about an hour to get the legs moving after a long flight, playing some possession and some small-sided games before taking a few minutes on their own. The weather has been surprisingly warm for this time of the year in South Korea, a turn of events much enjoyed thus far by the American women. The U.S. team enjoyed a highly efficient police escort to and from training with motorcycle cops executing what can best be described as a “forced merge,” actually moving traffic out of the far left lane to let the U.S. bus pass.

USA RUNS TABLE OF DOMESTIC MATCHES: The U.S. team arrives in South Korea with a record of 13-0-3 in 2006 after having won all seven domestic friendly matches this year. In fact, the USA has won nine straight since tying Germany 0-0 in the Algarve Cup final on March 15 (the USA eventually fell in penalty kicks). The USA played its first nine matches outside the USA before coming home to defeat Sweden, Ireland, Canada, China, Mexico, Chinese Taipei and Iceland. The matches in South Korea will be the final preparation before the USA enters Women’s World Cup qualifying on Nov. 22 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., taking on either Mexico or Trinidad & Tobago in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup.

2006 CONCACAF WOMEN’S GOLD CUP COMMENCES NOV. 19: The 2006 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup, a six-team competition that will serve as this region’s qualifying for the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, will take place at two venues in the United States from Nov. 19-26. The third edition of the Women’s Gold Cup will feature Jamaica vs. Panama and Mexico vs. Trinidad & Tobago playing first round matches on Sunday, Nov. 19, at the Tropical Park Stadium in Miami, Fla. The winners of those matches will advance to the all-important Women’s Gold Cup semifinals on Wednesday, Nov. 22, at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., as the JAM-PAN winner takes on Canada and the MEX-TRI winner faces the USA. Both the USA and Canada were given byes to that stage of the tournament. The winners of those semifinal matches will advance to China and the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The tournament championship and third-place match will take place on Sunday, November 26, at The HDC with the winner of the consolation game earning a spot in a two-game, home-and-away playoff against Japan for the final berth to WWC ’07. Ticket prices and an on-sale date will be announced shortly. The USA has won both previous Women’s Gold Cups, one in 2000 and then again in 2002 when the tournament determined CONCACAF’s representatives at the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Tickets are available through the Los Angeles Galaxy at 1-877-3-GALAXY (1-877-342-5299) or at

FIRST TRIP TO SOUTH KOREA FOR U.S. WOMEN: While the U.S. Men’s National Team produced some of the most memorable moments in U.S. Soccer history at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea, this is the first-ever trip here for the U.S. women. The U.S. Women’s National Team has made 12 trips to Asia since its inception in 1985, but nine of those have been to China, two to Japan and one to Chinese Taipei. South Korea marks the 21st country the U.S. team has visited in its history. The U.S. team has played matches in every continent except for Africa (and, of course, Antarctica as penguins don’t play soccer). Some notable countries that the U.S. Women’s National Team has never played in are: Mexico, Finland, Argentina, England and Russia.

BABIES ON BOARD: It probably is a coincidence that two of the USA’s central defenders – who have to lead, organize and direct the team -- both have babies, but Christie Rampone and Kate Markgraf have brought strollers, diapers and a bag full of toys along with their cleats and shin guards to South Korea. Rampone’s daughter Rylie is just over a year old while Markgraf’s son Keegan was born on July 18. Staying on the family theme, the sister of U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd, Ashley Lloyd, is on the trip as the team nanny, to look after the little ones when their moms are training or in meetings.

LILLY GETS HITCHED, WILL JOIN TEAM THIS WEEK: Nineteen of the 20 players on the U.S. roster are in South Korea as U.S. captain Kristine Lilly, who got married last weekend, will join the team later this week after taking a few days with her new husband.

HERE COME THE BRIDES: While Lilly is newly married, two other players will be standing at the altar in December. Find out all about the upcoming weddings of defender Tina Frimpong and midfielder Aly Wagner in a special wedding edition of all_access video on Among other tidbits, you’ll find out where the players are getting married and where the tears will be coming from as they walk down the aisle.

OSBORNE ON THE RUNWAY: As part of the festivities for the Peace Queen Cup, organizers asked one player from each team to be a part of a fashion show on Oct. 27 by legendary Korean high-fashion designer Andre Kim. For the U.S. team, that player will be midfielder Leslie Osborne, who went for her “fitting” after training on Oct. 24. When Osborne walked into Kim’s store in an upscale area of Seoul, Kim was actually there and helped pick out a dress as his numerous assistants scurried about and fretted over Osborne. The 70-plus-year-old Kim, who had his first show in 1966 in Paris, is still a major player in the fashion world. He also designed the uniforms for Korean athletes at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. Kim is said to combine the classical design with futuristic elements and his clothes are very popular with celebrities in Korea. To see some photos of what Osborne may be wearing, go to the photo gallery.

Stat of Note
The U.S. Women’s National Team will play at least eight matches in Asia this year (three in China, two in Japan and three in South Korea), nine if it makes it to the championship game of the Peace Queen Cup. That is the most matches played in Asia in a calendar year by the U.S. women since 1991 when they played nine, all in China, with six coming at the 1991 FIFA Women’s World Cup.