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Finalists Named for 2005 "Best of U.S. Soccer" Awards


Online Voting Begins Today For Annual Awards at ussoccer.com;
Voting for Fourth Annual Series of Awards Runs Through Friday, Dec. 16

CHICAGO (November 23, 2005) – U.S. Soccer has announced the finalists for each of the 11 awards that make up the 2005 "Best of U.S. Soccer" series. Voting for the fourth annual awards begins today at ussoccer.com, with fans having the opportunity to make their selections through a sharp multimedia voter interface once a day through Friday, Dec. 16, 2005.

The 2005 “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 ussoccer.com Athlete of the Year awards until the Dec. 16 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 most popular choices became finalists. Fans also wrote in to help select the six finalists for Best U.S. Goal and Best all_access Video, a new category in 2005.

2005 “Best of U.S. Soccer”

Best Soccer Bar (10)
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.   Brewhouse Cafe (Atlanta, Ga.)
     2.   The Britannia Arms (San Jose, Calif.) 
     3.   Ginger's Ale House (Chicago, Ill.)
     4.   The Globe (Chicago, Ill.)
     5.   Lucky Bar (Washington, D.C.)
     6.   Nevada Smith's (New York, N.Y.)
     7.   Richmond Arms (Houston, Texas) 
     8.   Shakespeare Pub & Grille (San Diego, Calif.)
     9.   Summers Restaurant (Arlington, Va.)
     10. Three Lion's Pub (Charleston, S.C.)

Best Soccer Store (10)
This award honors the best all-around store to buy all things soccer, from the Nike Air Zoom Total 90 cleats for your Saturday league to that Abby Wambach national team jersey you wear to cheer on the U.S. Women from the stadium or couch. 
     1.   Angelo's Soccer Corner (four locations in Pennsylvania)
     2.   Chicago Soccer (Chicago, Ill.)
     3.   Gotshalk's (Boston, Mass.)
     4.   The Onion Bag (North Bergen, N.J.)
     5.   Soccer Locker (Miami, Fla.)
     6.   Soccer Master (four locations around St. Louis, Mo.)
     7.   Soccer Post (San Diego, Calif.)
     8.   Soccer Shack (Rochester, N.Y.)
     9.   Soccer Unlimited (Indianapolis, Ind.)
     10. Soccer USA (Austin, Texas)

Best U.S. Atmosphere (6)
This award goes to a domestic U.S. National Team match that had the best soccer atmosphere in 2005. The game where you’re proud to say you were there or kicking yourself for passing up on the tickets.
           1. The “good ol’ boys” come out to support the U.S. in their first World Cup qualifier of the final round: March 30 @ Legion Field (Birmingham, Ala.) – U.S. MNT 2, Guatemala 0 – 31,624
           2. Fans from all over the country travel to the Windy City to take in the friendly against their biggest rival across the pond: May 28 @ Soldier Field (Chicago) – U.S. MNT 1, England 2 – 47,637
          3. Utah fans provide the truest home-field advantage for Bruce and the boys: June 4 @ Rice-Eccles Field (Salt Lake City) – U.S. MNT 3, Costa Rica 0 – 40,586
          4. Fans get the chance to see hometown favorite Tiffeny Milbrett notch her 100th goal: July 10 @ Merlo Field (Portland, Ore.) – U.S. WNT 7, Ukraine 0 – 3,529
          5. Second largest home crowd of the year erupts when Oguchi Onyewu buries a diving header in the final moments to send the U.S. to the Gold Cup final: July 21 @ Giants Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.) – U.S. MNT 2, Honduras 1 – 41,721
          6. A packed house provides the 12th man to help the U.S. down Mexico and secure a spot in the 2006 World Cup: September 3 @ Columbus Crew Stadium (Columbus, Ohio) – U.S. MNT 2, Mexico 0 – 24,685

Best Goal (10)
This award goes to the best goal scored by a U.S. National Team player in an international match played this year. This award will be judged on technical merit alone, as opposed to the importance of the match in which it took place. 
          1. EDDIE LEWIS finds space in the penalty area and waits for Landon Donovan to provide him with a square pass, which he drills left-footed between defenders and beyond the goalkeeper into the lower-right corner – U.S. 1, Mexico 2 – March 27
           2. QUAVAS KIRK scores on a implausible header when he rises to meet a cross from 16 yards out and flicks the ball into the upper right corner of the goal – U.S. U-17 MNT 4, Haiti 0 – April 3
          3. Steve Ralston sprints down the right sideline and crosses the ball into the penalty area, but it deflects off a defender and settles perfectly for LANDON DONOVAN, who hammers it first-time off the underside of the crossbar from 21 yards out – U.S. MNT 3, Costa Rica 0 – June 4
          4. LANDON DONOVAN streaks into the box and is able to rise above his defender to get on the end of a Steve Ralston cross from the right flank, curling his header just inside the far post – U.S. MNT 3, Panama 0 – June 8
          5. After drawing a foul at the top of the box, LANDON DONOVAN unleashed a magnificent curling free kick over the Cuban wall and into the upper left corner of the goal – U.S. MNT 4, Cuba 1 – July 7
          6. With a boisterous hometown crowd urging her on, TIFFENY MILBRETT runs onto a perfect through ball from Aly Wagner and from the top of the penalty area, lifts it over the stranded Ukrainian 'keeper, just under the cross bar and into the net for her historic 100th career goal – U.S. WNT 7, Ukraine 0 – July 10
           7. With literally just seconds remaining, OGUCHI ONYEWU makes a darting run into the penalty area and gets on the end of Landon Donovan’s free kick with a diving header for his first-ever goal with the national team and a ticket to the Gold Cup final – MNT 2, Honduras 1 – July 21
          8. DAMARCUS BEASLEY starts the short corner from the right side and then darts into the penalty area to collect the ball from Claudio Reyna, taking a settling touch before curling a left-footed shot past the onrushing ‘keeper and into the left side of the goal – U.S. MNT 2, Mexico 0 – September 3
          9. KYLE NAKAZAWA conducts a picture-perfect free kick, looping his shot over the wall and into the upper left corner of the goal past the outstretched hands of the goalkeeper – U.S. U-17 MNT 3, Italy 1 – September 20
          10. KYLE MARTINO notches his first-ever goal with the national team when he uncorks first-time on a lob pass from Chris Albright, blasting it into the near upper left corner from just beyond the corner of the six-yard box – U.S. MNT 2, Panama 0 – October 12

Best Assist (6)
This award goes to the best assist served up by a U.S. National Team player in an international match played this year. This award will be judged on technical merit alone, as opposed to the importance of the match in which it took place.
          1. STEVE CHERUNDOLO dribbles up the right flank before curling in a perfect cross to Eddie Johnson who heads it home during the crucial opening game of the final round of qualifying for the 2006 World Cup – U.S. MNT 2, Trinidad & Tobago 1 – February 9
          2. A U.S. corner is cleared out, but STEVE RALSTON does well to keep it in bounds along the right sideline and play a give-and-go with Clint Mathis before outpacing a defender and crossing a ball to Chad Marshall against Colombia – U.S. MNT 3, Colombia 0 – March 9
          3. ALY WAGNER’s long ball drops perfectly over the German defense to Christie Welsh, who scores the winning goal in the Algarve Cup final – U.S. WNT 1, Germany 0 – March 15
          4. Racing to his right for a through ball, LANDON DONOVAN one-touches the pass back behind him and across the 18-yard box leaving it for Eddie Johnson who plucks the ball with him before darting towards goal and finishing off the right post – U.S. MNT 2, Guatemala 0 – March 30
           5. Just seconds after taking the lead, SANTINO QUARANTA steals a poor Cuban pass and thinks fast to hit a one-time pass to a streaking Beasley to double their advantage – U.S. MNT 4, Cuba 1 – July 7
           6. A short corner play works to perfection against Mexico as CLAUDIO REYNA receives it at the top of the box and slips the ball through to DaMarcus Beasley into the right side of the area before he finishes into the top left side of the net – U.S. MNT 2, Mexico 0 – September 3

Best Performance (Player) (10)
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. With two goals and an assist, captain KRISTINE LILLY leads the USA to a 4-0 win over Denmark at the Algarve Cup and a place in the championship match. Denmark was the most recent team to have defeated the USA – U.S. WNT 4, Denmark 0 – March 13
          2. HOPE SOLO shuts out the reigning Women’s World Cup champions Germany in the 2005 Algarve Cup Final – U.S. WNT 1, Germany 0 – March 15
          3. LANDON DONOVAN notches two goals, including a hammering one-time strike into the upper left corner, against Costa Rica to help the U.S. grab three important points in final round qualifying – U.S. MNT 3, Costa Rica 0 – June 4
          4. KASEY KELLER comes up with six second-half saves against Costa Rica to ensure three points in their first-ever match in Utah – U.S. MNT 3, Costa Rica 0 – June 4
           5. KASEY KELLER snags his third straight shutout in qualifying, blanking Panama in Panama City with two unbelievable point-blank saves in a five-second sequence early in the second half – U.S. MNT 3, Panama 0 – June 8
           6. BENNY FEILHABER dazzles with a dynamic and probing midfield display against Germany in the FIFA World Youth Championship – U.S. U-20 MNT 0, Germany 0 – June 14
           7. LINDSAY TARPLEY scores twice against Germany in a crucial 3-1 win at the Nordic Cup to send the USA to the championship game – U.S. U-21 WNT 3, Germany 1 – July 24
           8. OGUCHI ONYEWU gets revenge with a masterful performance shutting down Mexico’s Jared Borgetti – U.S. MNT 2, Mexico 0 – September 3
            9. Despite getting fouled numerous times in the match, DAMARCUS BEASLEY continually causes havoc in the Mexican defense and eventually clinches the game with a brilliant strike off a corner kick – U.S. MNT 2, Mexico 0 – September 3
             10. DAVID ARVIZU wreaks havoc on Italy’s defense for 90 minutes continually finding gaps behind their backline to either drop in crosses take shots on target – U.S. U-17 MNT 3, Italy 1 – September 20

Best Performance (Team) (6)
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 finalists were determined with special consideration given to the importance of the match in which the noteworthy performance occurred.
          1. U.S. WNT 1, Germany 0 – March 15 – Faro, Portugal – U.S. Women pull out a 1-0 victory over Germany in the Algarve Cup Final, just the fourth game under new head coach Greg Ryan
          2. U.S. MNT 3, Costa Rica 0 – June 4 – Salt Lake City, Utah – Landon Donovan notches two goals sandwiched between two brilliant saves by Kasey Keller, while Brian McBride scores a late goal
          3. U.S. U-20 MNT 1, Argentina 0 – June 11 – Enschede, Holland – The U-20 Men’s National Team pulls off the biggest upset of the first round in their opening match of the FIFA World Youth Championship, providing the eventual world champions their only loss of the tournament
            4. U.S. U-21 WNT 4, Norway 1 – July 26 – Karlstad, Sweden – The U-21 Women’s National Team continues the remarkable streak at the Nordic Cup, winning their seventh straight title and eight of the past nine with a 4-1 victory over Norway
           5. U.S. MNT 2, Mexico 0 – September 3 – Columbus, Ohio – Steve Ralston and DaMarcus Beasley notch goals and the U.S. defense led by Oguchi Onyewu hold Mexico to just two shots on goal to clinch a spot in the 2006 FIFA World Cup with a victory over their arch rival at Columbus Crew Stadium
           6. U.S. U-17 MNT 3, Italy 0 – September 20 – Chiclayo, Peru – The U-17 Men’s National Team upsets group favorite Italy during the FIFA U-17 World Championship with an impressive display of attacking soccer, helping them go on to win their group for the second straight tournament

Best Goal Celebration (6)
A new award for this year, this award is for the best unplanned, in-the-moment goal celebration by a U.S. National Team player.
          1. CHAD BARRETT runs towards the sidelines after scoring against Argentina and is mobbed by his teammates, who sky to jump onto the goalscorer – U.S. U-20 MNT 1, Argentina 0 – June 11
          2. TIFFENY MILBRETT stops the entire game after scoring her 100th goal, celebrating with the entire team on the sideline and collecting the ball as a keepsake – U.S. WNT 7, Ukraine 0 – July 10
          3. The ENTIRE U.S. Men’s National Team darts from midfield and bum rushes Brad Davis after he buries the winning penalty kick against Panama in the Gold Cup Final – U.S. MNT 0, Panama 0 (5-4 PKs) – July 24 
          4. DAMARCUS BEASLEY jukes out Oguchi Onyewu, then Steve Ralston in the six-yard box before Brian McBride catches him and the rest of the team piles on – U.S. MNT 2, Mexico 0 – September 3 
          5. RYAN SOROKA runs along the sideline with his hand to mouth after scoring 1,000 goal in FIFA U-17 World Championship history – U.S. U-17 MNT 3, Italy 1 – September 20
          6. DANIELLE FOTOPOULOS shows amazing consistency by performing her standard hop-straight-up-with-arms-raised celebration after all four of her goals this year

Best all_access Video (6)
This reward goes to the best behind-the-scenes all_access video segment that was posted on ussoccer.com in 2005. Whether you liked it because it was intriguing, informative or just plain humorous, you’ve watched it multiple times or emailed the link to your soccer buddies.
          1. “Blood Work” – March 11 – Frankie Hedjuk jokes, Jon Busch squirms and Taylor Twellman almost passes out as the U.S. Men’s National Team turns the usual mundane activity of drawing blood into an entertaining experience.
          2. "Snowball Fight!" – March 16 – The U.S. Men's National Team starts a snowball fight during what started off as a peaceful hike through Fox Run Park near Colorado Springs, Colo.
          3. "Bicycle Ride" – June 8 – The U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team takes you on a bicycle tour of Enschede, Holland, their venue during the FIFA World Youth Championship
          4. "Honduras Post-Game" – July 21 – Bruce Arena gets red carded and you get a first hand look as the head coach watches the final 30 minutes from the locker room, cheering when he sees Oguchi Onyewu score the winning header
           5. "Highlights and Post-Game Celebration" – September 3 – A tantalizing collection of game highlights, post-game interviews and celebrations shots from on the field and in the locker room of the U.S. Men’s National Team’s victory over Mexico, which clinched a spot in the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
          6. "Steve Ralston" Interview – With the beautiful backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, Steve Ralston talks about his past, present and future on and off the field with the Men’s National Team.

Best Audio Podcast (6)
This reward goes to the best audio podcast featured on ussoccer.com. An Audio Diary, a CoachCast or just a straight interview, the winning podcast provided you with the best insight into a national player or team. 
          1. U.S. U-20 MNT midfielders Benny Feilhaber and Sacha Kljestan provide the third installment of their hilarious Audio Diary Podcasts from Holland during the FIFA World Youth Championship, explaining what the team has been up to after beating Argentina and informing fans of the hottest Dutch song – “Watskeburt.”
           2. U.S. Men’s National Team players and staff reminisce about where they were when the U.S. defeated Mexico in the “Guerra Fria” in Columbus on Feb. 28, 2001, as they prepare for to face their arch rival in qualifying once again at Crew Stadium.  
           3. U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach John Hackworth and his assistant Keith Fulk breakdown the team’s 3-1 victory over Italy in their second CoachCast during the FIFA U-17 World Championship
           4. Eddie Lewis talks about what he did during the summer in Europe, his move to Leeds United and what he thinks of the national team’s outlook in the coming year.
          5. U.S. MNT Manager Bruce Arena in an unusually candid media briefing prior to the USA's final FIFA World Cup qualifier against Panama, offers insights on the progress of certain players, the process he uses to put together a World Cup roster, the lack of an "American" style of soccer, and much more.
          6. Oguchi Onyewu talks about the experience he gained after playing in the Gold Cup, scoring the game-winner against Honduras in the semifinals and his club situation in Standard de Lige, all while shopping for groceries in Belguim.

Best Picture (6)
This award goes to the picture featured on ussoccer.com during the year that made you go, “How’d they get THAT shot.”
           1. Steve Ralston raises his arms in celebration along with the entire Columbus Crew Stadium crowd after DaMarcus Beasley puts the U.S. up 2-0 against Mexico.
           2. Kasey Keller goes Superman while attempting a save against Costa Rica in their 3-0 shutout during qualifying in Salt Lake City. 
            3. Defender Carlos Bocanegra gets flipped horizontal but still manages to keep his eye on the ball against England. 
            4. DaMarcus Beasley is all concentration as he buries the second goal against Mexico in a 2-0 victory that ensured the U.S. a spot in the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
           5. Kasey Keller and Landon Donovan celebrate after winning the Gold Cup in penalty kicks.
            6. The exuberant pile by the U-20s after Chad Barrett’s game-winner against Argentina in the FIFA World Youth Championship was so good we got it twice…from two different angles.
           7. Tiffeny Milbrett spreads her wings after scoring against Ukraine for her 100th career goal in Portland.
            8. Kyle Nakazawa and North Korean players watch as his superbly hit free kick curls around the wall and past the outstretched hands of the goalkeeper in the USA’s opening game of the FIFA World Youth Championship.
             9. Members of the U.S. Men’s National Team wait in anticipation as Kasey Keller prepares for Panama’s first shot in the Gold Cup final (he made the save).
           10. Danielle Fotopoulos and Marci Miller battle for a ball, but Canada’s goalkeeper ends up punching it clear during the USA’s 2-0 victory.


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