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U.S. Women Ready to Kick Off 2003 Schedule on Sunday Against Japan


SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Friday, January 10, 2003) - The U.S. Women's National Team began practicing on Thursday evening in San Diego in preparation for the team's first match of 2003, this Sunday against Japan at 3:55 p.m. ET /12:55 p.m. PT live on ESPN.  The team will train again on Friday morning at the ARCO Olympic Training Center and Saturday afternoon at Torero Stadium, the site of the match.

With 26 players in camp, U.S. head coach April Heinrichs will watch training closely in helping her make a final decision on two upcoming roster selections: the first, obviously, against Japan on Sunday, and the second selection determing which of the 26 players in camp will travel to China for the prestigious Four Nations Tournament from Jan. 23-29.  The Four Nations Tournament features the top four teams in the world, with Germany and Norway joining the U.S. and hosts China.

The USA vs. Japan match will be the first of approximately 12 games the USA will play before the 2003 Women’s World Cup, which runs from September 23-October 11. The roster includes 20 WUSA professionals, five college players and one high school player, all looking to get, or keep, themselves in the running for a spot on the 2003 Women’s World Cup Team.  The 26 players span several generations of U.S. women, with nine players having 80 or more caps and 15 with 33 or less caps (including nine players in single digits).

Goalkeepers (4): LaKeysia Beene, Siri Mullinix, Jaime Pagliarulo, Briana Scurry;
Defenders (9): Jenny Benson, Thori Bryan, Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett, Jena Kluegel, Heather Mitts, Christie Pearce, Cat Reddick, Kate Sobrero;
Midfielders (6): Kylie Bivens, Lorrie Fair, Devvyn Hawkins, Angela Hucles, Tiffany Roberts, Aly Wagner;
Forwards (7): Shannon MacMillan, Tiffeny Milbrett, Heather O’Reilly, Cindy Parlow, Lindsay Tarpley, Abby Wambach, Kelly Wilson.

NOTE THE KICKOFF TIME: ESPN's coverage of the U.S. Women's National Team will actually begin five minutes before the hour (3:55 p.m. ET / 12:55 p.m. PT), so make sure to tune in early to not miss any of the action. The game will kick off at 1:03 p.m. PT.

MAKING THE PRESS ROUNDS: After arriving in San Diego on Thursday, much of the team has been involved in making the rounds to media outlets throughout "America's Finest City."  In addition to a number of early morning radio appearances, the players are hitting all the TV stations.  On Friday morning, veteran goalkeeper Briana Scurry and Heather O'Reilly traded friendly barbs about their age difference (31 to 18, respectively) on the local Fox Morning Show.  In the afternoon, Shannon MacMillan and Brandi Chastain will make studio appearances on two additional early evening news shows.

SAN DIEGO TICKET INFORMATION: Tickets ranging in price from $20 to $35 are on sale now at all Southern California Ticketmaster outlets (including Robinson’s-May and Wherehouse Music), by phone at 619-220-8497 and online at www.ussoccer.com.

U.S. WOMEN HEAD TO CHINA TO COMPETE IN FOUR NATIONS TOURNAMENT: The U.S. Women's National Team will travel to China next week for the Four Nations Tournament, which features the top four teams in the world as each nation gears up for the 2003 Women’s World Cup.  The USA, Norway, Germany and Women’s World Cup host China will clash in a series of three doubleheaders in three Chinese cities in the three provinces in the southwest region of the country. The Four Nations Tournament begins on Jan. 23 in Yiwu, as China faces Germany and the USA takes on Norway.  The teams will move to Women’s World Cup venue Wuhan for the Jan. 26 matches that feature Germany vs. Norway and the USA vs. China.  The blockbuster tournament will finish on Jan. 29 in Shanghai, site of the 2003 Women’s World Cup Final, as the USA takes on Germany and China faces Norway.

U.S. WNT TO FACE ICELAND IN CHARLESTON ON FEBRUARY 16: The U.S. Women's National Team will face Iceland in its second domestic game of 2003 on Sunday, February 16, at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, South Carolina.  The match will kick off at 6 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN2.  It will be the second ever match for the U.S. women at Blackbaud Stadium after having opened the 2002 campaign there with a 7-0 win over Mexico in front of a sell-out crowd of 5,364 on a rainy January night.  Like all matches in 2003, the Iceland game will carry the added significance of Women’s World Cup preparation as U.S. head coach April Heinrichs continues to formulate her roster for the 2003 Women’s World Cup, taking place in China from September 23-October 11 of this year.  The match will also give Heinrichs a chance to look at her team before choosing a roster for the highly competitive Algarve Cup, which will be the USA’s next event after the Iceland match when they travel to Portugal in mid-March.

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