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Ft. Lauderdale to Host U.S. Men's & Women's National Teams at Lockhart Stadium in Early '99


CHICAGO (Wednesday, November 18, 1998) - The U.S. Men's and Women's National Teams will play separate matches in early 1999 at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The U.S. women will take on Portugal live on ESPN on Jan. 30 at 2 p.m. (ET) as part of the team's preparation for the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup being played in the U.S. The U.S. men will battle Chile a month later on Feb. 21 at 3:30 p.m. (ET), also live on ESPN. Tickets for both matches will go on sale to the general public in early December, and special packages for both games will be available.

For the U.S. men, the game marks the team's first appearance at Lockhart Stadium since playing a pair of World Cup qualifiers in Ft. Lauderdale way back in 1980. Lockhart was recently refurbished and is currently the home of the Miami Fusion of Major League Soccer.

"Florida has been a great home for our U.S. National Team programs over the years," said U.S. Soccer Secretary General Hank Steinbrecher, "and now it is even more attractive with the rebirth of Lockhart Stadium as one of the USA's major soccer venues. These types of soccer specific stadiums are one of the key elements in the Federation's Project 2010 initiative and to our overall future success."

The U.S. men recently entered a new era when head coach Bruce Arena, formerly of D.C. United, assumed the task of leading the U.S. through the 2002 World Cup. In his first game as head coach, Arena's youthful, all-MLS team tied Australia 0-0 on Nov. 6 at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, Calif.

Chile, meanwhile, advanced to the second round of World Cup France '98 with star attackers such as Marcelo Salas (who plays for Italy's Lazio), Ivan Zamorano (Inter Milan of Italy) and Marcelo Vega (New York/New Jersey MetroStars). The South American power fell in the second round of the World Cup to eventual runner-up Brazil. The U.S. has played Chile seven times previously, compiling a 1-5-1 record. The lone U.S. victory came in the most recent match, a 2-1 Copa America victory July 8, 1995 in Uruguay.

The U.S. Women's National Team will use the match with Portugal to help prepare for the Women's World Cup, which begins June 19 at Giants Stadium in New Jersey. The U.S. won the first-ever Women's World Cup, hosted by China in 1991, in addition to capturing the gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga. The U.S. women have played Portugal twice previously - winning by a score of 5-0 on March 16, 1994, in Silves, Portugal and by a score of 3-0 on March 16, 1995, in Portimao, Portugal.

Less than a year ago, Fusion Investor-Operator Kenneth A. Horowitz spent nearly $5 million to renovate and expand Lockhart into one of the nation's premier soccer specific stadiums. Expanded from 7,800 seats, Lockhart hosted a sold-out crowd of 20,450 for the Fusion's first-ever match - against D.C. United on March 15. Lockhart drew praise for its intimate and festive atmosphere.

"We need a dozen of these stadiums across the country," said Arena, coaching D.C. United at the time. Soccer America magazine dubbed Lockhart "the best facility in MLS."

U.S. Men's National Team Schedule
DateOpponentLocationKickoff / TVTickets
Feb. 6GermanyAlltel Stadium (Jacksonville, Fla.)1:00 p.m. (ET) /
ABC
904/353-3309 (TicketMaster)
Feb. 21ChileLockhart Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)3:30 p.m. (ET) /
ESPN
888-FUSION4 (for more info))

U.S. Women's National Team Schedule

DateOpponentLocationKickoff / TVTickets
Dec. 20UkraineBulldog Stadium (Fresno, Calif. - Fresno State University)4 p.m. ET/
ESPN
209/278-3647 (Fresno State)
209/226-2277 (BASS Fresno)
415/478-2277 (BASS SF)
Jan. 30PortugalLockhart Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)2 p.m. ET/
ESPN
888-FUSION4 (for more info)

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