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U.S. Women's National Team Set For Final Match of 2008, Against China at Ford Field in Detroit

U.S. Women’s National Team
Notes from Detroit, Mich.
Dec. 16, 2008

U.S. WOMEN END HISTORIC YEAR AGAINST CHINA PR IN DETROIT: The 2008 Olympic champion U.S. Women’s National Team will play its 36th and final match of the year on Wednesday, Dec. 17, taking on China PR at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich. The match kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET and fans can follow on’s MatchTracker. The 36 matches mark the second-most ever in a calendar year for the U.S. WNT, following 2000 when the team played a record 41 games. The USA is coming off a 1-0 victory over China on Dec. 13 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., a match in which Tina Ellertson scored her first-ever international goal.

MICHIGAN PRODUCTS COME HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS: The U.S. Women’s National Team will be playing in the state of Michigan for the first time in 15 years when the squad squares off against China on Wednesday night. The last and only time the USA played in Michigan was on June 21, 1993, inside the Pontiac Silverdome in a match to test the special grass field that would be installed for the 1994 FIFA World Cup. The USA defeated Canada 3-0 in front of a small crowd and at that time, the U.S. women had played in just one world championship, that being the 1991 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The 2008 version of the U.S. team comes to Michigan having played in five Women’s World Cups and four Olympic Games, winning three gold medals including the most recent in Beijing. It also brings two players reared in the state who have become stars for the National Team in Kate Markgraf and Lindsay Tarpley.

Kate Markgraf – Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Markgraf, formerly Kate Sobrero, was a three-time all-state selection as a forward at Detroit Country Day, where she scored 16 goals and tallied 26 assists. After scoring seven goals as a collegiate defender at Notre Dame, Markgraf scored her first goal in 193 appearances with the U.S. team on Sept. 20 of this year, converting a penalty kick in an Achieve Your Gold Tour match against Ireland. The goal came at Toyota Park in suburban Chicago, where Markgraf will suit up next spring for the Chicago Red Stars of the new WPS. Her 197 appearances are the seventh-best all-time for a U.S. player, and she was a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. teams at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, as well as the title-winning 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Married to Chris Markgraf in 2003, her son Keegan was born in 2006 and has traveled the world with the U.S. team. She has been a starter in the last six world championships for the USA. She also won a NCAA championship with Notre Dame in 1995.

Lindsay Tarpley – Kalamazoo, Mich.
Tarpley grew up in Kalamazoo, starring at Portage Central High School as a first-team all-state selection all four years. As a senior she was named Michigan’s Miss Soccer and the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year. She led her club team, the Michigan Hawks, to the Under-18 National Championship after winning three state titles. She also helped the Michigan Under-18s to back-to-back ODP National Championships. Tarpley has appeared 112 times for the U.S. team since 2003, and has two gold medals (2004, 2008). This year she scored a career-high 12 goals, including one versus New Zealand in the Olympics. In December of 2007, she married Kalamazoo native and UCLA Women’s Soccer assistant coach B.J. Snow in their hometown. She won an NCAA title with North Carolina in 2003.

A LOOK BACK AT A GREAT 2008: With a new coach, a new philosophy and renewed energy, the U.S. Women’s National Team put together one of the best years in the long history of the program. In the 24th year of competition for the U.S. Women’s National Team, the team broke a hallowed record, won a historic gold and saw new players emerge to help take the program to new heights. Here are just a few of the positive things that happened for the U.S. WNT in 2008. 

  • The U.S. Women’s National Team will end 2008 at No. 1 in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings.
  • The U.S. team has lost just one game in 2008, that being a 0-2 loss against Norway in the opening game of the 2008 Olympics, a setback that the team famously rebounded from to win the gold.
  • The USA set a record for wins in a calendar year by winning its 29th game of the year on Sept. 20 in Chicago, Ill., against Ireland. The previous high was set in 2004 when the USA went 28-2-4. The USA is currently 32-1-2.
  • With one more win (or a tie), the USA would also break the record for best winning percentage in a calendar year in which the team played more than 10 games.
  • Several players set career highs for goals in a calendar year, including leading scorer Natasha Kai (15 goals), Lindsay Tarpley (12 goals), Carli Lloyd (9 goals), Heather O’Reilly (9 goals) and Angela Hucles (8 goals) all also had their best career scoring years. Forward Amy Rodriguez, who scored two game-winning goals against Brazil this year, scored six goals in her first WNT campaign.
  • Hucles, who had scored five goals in her National Team career heading into 2008, scored four at the Olympics to lead the team.
  • Several young players emerged into solid contributors, including four of the youngest members of the Olympic Team, forwards Amy Rodriguez and Lauren Cheney, midfielder Tobin Heath and defender Rachel Buehler.
  • Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart tripled her all-time appearances, playing in 12 matches and allowing just one goal.
  • Goalkeeper Hope Solo logged a record of 22-1-0 in 2008 and upped her career record to 59-5-8.
  • The U.S. team has allowed just 17 goals in 35 matches, 11 from the run of play, four from set plays and two on own goals. 
  • Fifteen different players scored a goal for the USA this year, one of the highest totals in the history of the program 
  • The U.S. team lost three key players to injury in the months leading into the Olympics, including leading scorer Abby Wambach, and still won the Olympic gold medal. 
  • The U.S. team won all five tournaments it entered in 2008, including the prestigious Algarve Cup and Peace Queen Cup and culminating with the Olympic gold medal. 
  • In 2008, the USA’s record against teams ranked in the Top-12 in the world is 16-1-1. 
  • Four players joined the 100-cap club and Christie Rampone played in her 200th career match.

RARE RECORD FOR RAMPONE: Christie Rampone leads the USA in minutes played this year with 2,976. She has already played more minutes than any other U.S. player in a calendar year in U.S. history and if she plays at least 15 minutes in the next game will become the first U.S. player to surpass 3,000 minutes played in a year.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.), Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.), Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.)
DEFENDERS (8): Rachel Buehler (Del Mar, Calif.), Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.), Stephanie Cox (Elk Grove, Calif.), Marian Dalmy (Lakewood, Colo.), Tina Ellertson (Vancouver, Wash.), Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), Heather Mitts (Cincinnati, Ohio), Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Kacey White (Arlington, Texas)
FORWARDS (3): Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.), Kristine Lilly (Wilton, Conn.), Amy Rodriguez (Lake Forest, Calif.).

China PR Women’s National Team Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Zhang Yanru, 18-Weng Xiaojie
DEFENDERS (5): 15-Zhou Gaoping, 5-Weng Xin Zhi, 2-Yuan Fan, 4-Wang Kun, 14-Liu Hua Na
MIDFIELDERS (7): 3-Zhang Ying, 19-Gao Yan, 12-Wang Dan Dan, 17-Gu Ya Sha, 6-Zhang Na, 7-Bi Yan, 16-Zhang Rui
FORWARDS (4): 8-Xu Yuan, 10-Liu Sa, 9-Han Duan, 11-Lou Jiahui.

PIA SIGNS FOR FOUR MORE YEARS: U.S. Soccer has re-signed Pia Sundhage as head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team for four more years. Sundhage, 48, has led the USA to a record setting year and will guide the team to qualifying for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany and 2012 Olympics in London, England.

BRONZE BLOG: The WNT Blog has taken third in the 2008 Best of U.S. Soccer Awards for Best Blog, the second straight year the blog has been so honored. With only a few more days of WNT Blog left this year, get caught up on

HOME SWEET DOME: The match against China at Ford Field will be the seventh game all-time indoors for the U.S. women and third in a true domed stadium. The first-ever match played indoors for the U.S. team was also in Detroit, a 3-0 victory against Canada at the Pontiac Silverdome in 1993 in a match to test the grass that would be installed for the upcoming 1994 FIFA World Cup. The USA has also played on grass in domed stadiums with retractable roofs in Phoenix, Ariz., at Bank One Ballpark, in Houston at Reliant Stadium and in Seattle at SAEFCO Field (twice). The games in true domed stadiums came at the Silverdome and in St. Louis at the Edward Jones Dome. The U.S. women have never lost a game indoors.

Stat of Note
The U.S. Women’s National Team has gone unbeaten in 37 consecutive matches at home, dating back to a loss to Denmark in December of 2004 on the Victory Tour for the 2004 Olympic gold medal.