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U.S. Soccer Wire: December 22, 2008


U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM TO KICK OFF FINAL ROUND OF 2010 FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFYING IN COLUMBUS, OHIO, AGAINST MEXICO;
2008 BEST OF U.S. SOCCER AND ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS NAMED

U.S. MNT TO FACE MEXICO IN COLUMBUS, OHIO: For the third consecutive time in final round qualifying for the FIFA World Cup, U.S. Soccer has selected Columbus Crew Stadium to host the home leg between the United States and Mexico. The USA’s most anticipated match of the final round will be played Wednesday, Feb. 11, with kickoff times and broadcast information to be announced at a later date. Fans will be able to follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. The match in Columbus is the first of five qualifiers in the Final Round to be played in the United States. Ticketing details will be announced in the near future. The match on Feb. 11 will mark the 55th meeting between the USA and Mexico. The U.S. has dominated the series of late, collecting an 8-0-2 home record against Mexico since 2000. During that span, the USA has netted 17 goals, while the Mexicans have scored only three on American soil in this decade. The U.S. Men’s National Team will kick off a busy 2009 schedule when they face Sweden on Saturday, Jan. 24, at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Kickoff for the USA’s only tune-up match prior to the start of final round qualifying is set for at 5:30 p.m. PT, and the match will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel and Galavision. Fans can also follow the game live via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.


Achieve Your Gold Tour Schedule / Results
Date
Opponent Venue Time
Jan. 24
Sweden The Home Depot Center; Carson, Calif. 5:30 p.m. PT
Feb. 11 Mexico Columbus Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio TBD
March 28 El Salvador Away (Venue TBD) TBD
April 1 Trinidad & Tobago Home (Venue TBD) TBD
June 3 Costa Rica Away (Venue TBD) TBD
June 6 Honduras Home (Venue TBD) TBD
June 15 Italy Loftus Versfeld; Tshwane/Pretoria 8:30 p.m. / 2:30 p.m. ET
June 18 Brazil Loftus Versfeld; Tshwane/Pretoria 4 p.m. / 10 a.m. ET
June 21 Egypt Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace; Rustenburg 8:30 p.m. / 2:30 p.m. ET
July 3-26 CONCACAF Gold Cup TBD TBD
Aug. 12 Mexico Away (Venue TBD)
TBD
Sept. 5 El Salvador Home (Venue TBD) TBD
Sept. 9 Trinidad & Tobago Away (Venue TBD) TBD
Oct. 10 Honduras Away (Venue TBD) TBD
Oct. 14 Costa Rica Home (Venue TBD) TBD

2008 BEST OF U.S. SOCCER AND ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AWARDS ANNOUNCED: U.S. Soccer unveiled the winners of the 2008 Athlete of the Year Awards, as well as the 2008 Best of U.S. Soccer Awards. Best Of Award winners were unveiled throughout the week on ussoccer.com’s Studio 90 (watch now) and Athlete of the Year Awards were announced via ussoccer.com’s all_access video (watch now). Tim Howard earned Male Athlete of the Year honors, Carli Lloyd won Female Athlete of the Year, Sacha Kljestan took home Young Male Athlete of the Year and Kristie Mewis was named Young Female Athlete of the Year.

2008 Best of U.S. Soccer Results
Best Performance: Team - U.S. WNT vs. Brazil
Best Goal: Women - Carli Lloyd vs. Brazil
Best Goal: Men - Sacha Kljestan vs. Netherlands
Best Photo - Jump for Joy
Best Assist - Lindsay Tarpley vs. Ireland (Sept. 20)
Best all_access Video - Tobin Heath Walkabout
Best Performance: Player - Tim Howard vs. Argentina
Best Goal: Academy - Andrew Bulls, BAL vs. LAFC
Best Soccer Specialty Store - Angelo's Soccer Corner (Penn.)
Best Soccer Bar - The Globe Pub (Chicago)
Best Soccer Blog - Soccer By Ives
Best Fan Photo - Jeff York

U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM FINISHES 2008 AT NO. 1 IN WORLD RANKINGS: The U.S. Women’s National Team sits atop the final FIFA Women’s World Rankings for the year, holding the No. 1 spot over second place Germany and third place Brazil. This is the first time the USA has finished the year at No. 1, since FIFA started ranking women's teams in 2003. The U.S. team moved into first place after winning the 2008 Algarve Cup in Portugal last March, and stayed there after its triumph at the 2008 Olympics in August. It was a historic year for the U.S. Women’s National Team programs, which made the final match in all three FIFA women’s tournaments that were held, winning the Olympics and the U-20 Women’s World Cup, while finishing second in the first U-17 Women’s World Cup. The U.S. wrapped up the year with the Achieve Your Gold Tour, in which they faced Ireland, Korea Republic and China PR.

Achieve Your Gold Tour Schedule / Results
Date Opponent Venue; City Result / Kickoff U.S. Goal Scorer(s)
Sept. 13 Ireland Lincoln Financial Field; Philadelphia 2-0 W Kai, O’Reilly
Sept. 17 Ireland Giants Stadium; East Rutherford, N.J. 1-0 W Kai
Sept. 20 Ireland Toyota Park; Bridgeview, Ill. 2-0 W Chalupny, Markgraf
Nov. 1 Korea Republic Univ. of Richmond Stadium; Richmond, Va. 3-1 W Hucles, O’Reilly, Tarpley
Nov. 5 Korea Republic Paul Brown Stadium; Cincinnati 0-0 T --
Nov. 8 Korea Republic Raymond James Stadium; Tampa 1-0 W O'Reilly
Dec. 13 China PR The Home Depot Center; Carson, Calif. 1-0 W Ellerston
Dec. 17 China PR Ford Field; Detroit 1-0 W O'Reilly

– U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

U-20 CAMP CONCLUDES IN SUNRISE: The U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team is putting the finishing touches on an eight-day training camp in Sunrise, Fla. that kicked off on Dec. 15 and lasts through Dec. 22. The training camp included a pair of scrimmages against CONCACAF foes Haiti on Dec. 20 and Canada on Dec. 22, respectively. Head Coach Thomas Rongen's roster includes a mix of professional, youth and college players. Four NCAA players from the recent final four are involved in the camp. Ike Opara and Daniel Wenzel were part of the Wake Forest team that advanced to the Final Four and North Carolina's Kirk Urso and Sheanon Williams advanced to the final. FC Dallas is represented by Josh Lambo and Anthony Wallace, while Toronto FC's Absudalam Ibrahim and Chivas USA's Jorge Flores round out the MLS contingent. Players who play professionally in Germany (Bryan Arguez and Gabriel Hoyos), Italy (Vincenzo Bernardo and Guiseppe Nazzani) and Austria (Matt Luzanaris) complete the group of pro players in Sunrise.

U.S. U-20 MNT Schedule / Results
Date Opponent City Result
Dec. 20 Haiti Sunrise, Fla. 2-0 W
Dec. 22 Canada Sunrise, Fla. 1-0 W

U.S. U-20 MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Sean Johnson (Lilburn, Ga.; Central Florida), Josh Lambo (Middleton, Wis.; FC Dallas), Brian Perk (Rancho Santa Margarita; UCLA)
DEFENDERS (8): Guiseppe Nazzani (Reggio Emilia, Italy; Bologna FC), Ike Opara (Durham, N.C.; Wake Forest), Pat Sigler (Windsor, Calif.; Cal Poly), Chris Taylor (Edmond, Okla.; Tulsa), Anthony Wallace (St. Petersburg, Fla.; FC Dallas), Marcus Watson (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; L.A. Galaxy Academy), Daniel Wenzel (Federal Way, Wash.; Wake Forest), Sheanon Williams (Boston, Mass.; North Carolina)
MIDFIELDERS (10): Bryan Arguez (Miami, Fla.; Hertha Berlin), Daniel Cruz (Glendale, Ariz.; UNLV), Jorge Flores (Anahaim, Calif.; Chivas USA), Blair Gavin (Franklin, Tenn.; Akron), Gabriel Hoyos (Weston, Fla.; SC Freiburg), Abdusalam Ibrahim (Richfield, Minn.; Toronto FC), Aaron Maund (Dorchester, Mass.; Notre Dame), Brian Ownby (Glen Allen, Va.; Virginia), Michael Stephens (Naperville, Ill.; UCLA), Kirk Urso (Lombard, Ill.; North Carolina)
FORWARDS (5): Vincenzo Bernardo (Madison, N.J.; SSC Napoli), Sam Garza (Highland Village, Texas; Denver), Matt Luzanaris (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; FC Magna Wr. Neustadt), Peri Marosevic (Rockford, Ill.; Michigan), Colin Rolfe (Canton, Mich.; Louisville)

U-18 MNT GATHERS FOR MEGA-CAMP AT THE HOME DEPOT CENTER: Recently appointed Under-18 Men’s National Team head coach Mike Matkovic will hold his first training camp, a 72-player mega camp at The Home Depot Center, from Dec. 28-Jan. 4. Matkovic and an expanded staff will train and evaluate the 72 players by dividing them into four groups. The split squads will train together and play intrasquad scrimmages throughout the week (see schedule). A total of 56 players represent clubs from U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy. Each player at the camp was born in 1991, making them eligible for both the U-18 MNT and both the 2009 and 2011 FIFA Under-20 World Cups. The U-18 program was created to aid in the transition for younger players between the Under-17 Men’s National Team and the Under-20 side.

U-18 MNT Mega-Camp Roster
GOALKEEPERS (6): Rafael Diaz (Rockaway, N.J; PDA), Michael D’Arrigo (Tucscon, Ariz.; Tuscon Rush), Alex Long (Cary, N.C.; CASL), Justin Luthy (Dublin, Ohio; Premier Soccer Academy), Zac MacMath (St. Petersburg, Fla.; Maryland), Cody Mizell (Woodstock, Ga.; GSA Phoenix)
DEFENDERS (19): Gale Agbossoumonde (Syracuse, N.Y.; IMG Academy), Chad Barson (Lewis Center, Ohio; Columbus Crew Juniors), Ian Christianson (Belvedere, Ill.; Chicago Fire), Paolo DelPiccolo (Lakewood, Colo.; Colorado Rush), Will Donovan (Jamaica Plains, Mass.; FC Greater Boston), Jesus Gonzales (Chino Hills, Calif.; FC Barcelona), Alex Herrerra (Arlington, Va.; D.C. United), Sacir Hot (Fairlawn, N.J.; New York Red Bulls), Alex Hussein (Haverhill, Mass.; Seacoast United), Nick Millington (Raleigh, N.C.; Wake Forest), Cesar Morales (St. Charles, Ill.; Sockers FC), Trey Perry (Ocoee, Fla.; South Florida), CJ Phelps (Boynton Beach, Fla.; Schulz Academy), Andrew Quintana (Miami, Fla.; Miami FC), Jossimar Sanchez (Patterson, N.J.; PDA), Zarek Valentin (Lancaster, Pa.; PA Classics), Korey Veeder (St. Petersburg, Fla.; Clearwater Chargers), London Woodberry (McKinney, Texas; FC Dallas Juniors)
MIDFIELDERS (32): Latif Alashe (Northville, Mich.; Vardar), Jose Altamirano (San Diego, Calif.; Del Mar Sharks), Eder Arreola (Chino Hills, Calif.; UCLA), Antonio Benitez (Azusa, Calif.; LAFC), Miles Byass (San Bernardino, Calif.; Arsenal), Scott Caldwell (Braintree, Mass.; New England Revolution Academy), Alejandro Cobarubias (Cudahy, Calif.; LA Galaxy), Pablo Cruz (Azusa, Calif.; LAFC), Kadeem Dacres (Rosedale, N.Y; Met Oval), Bryan Dominguez (Atlanta, Ga.; UCSB), Michael Hoyos, Paul Islas (Fresno, Calif.; Cal Odyssey), Will Mayhew (Concord, N.C.; North Meck), Thomas McNamara (West Nyack, N.Y.; FC Westchester), Dylan Mencia (Honedale, Pa.; New York Red Bulls Academy), Chris Ortega (Chula Vista, Calif.; Arsenal), Patrick Otte (Thousand Oaks, Calif.; Middlesborough Academy), Steve Palumbo (Kingston, N.H.; Seacoast United), Harrison Petts (Zionsville, Ind.; Carmel United), Travis Pittman (Manassas, Va.; D.C. United), Scott Prozeller (Sudbury, Mass.; FC Greater Boston), Giovanni Rollie (Los Angeles, Calif.; LAFC), Michael Roman (Oxnard, Calif.; Real So Cal), Carl Rumph (South Hampton, N.Y.; Met Oval), Nicholas Ryan (San Jose, Calif.; Central Valley United), Anthony Salciccia (San Jose, Calif.; De Anza Force), Sito Sasieta (Overland, Mo.; Scott Gallagher), Wesley Sever (Belleair, Fla.; Clearwater Chargers), Alex Tuch (Tampa, Fla.; Clearwater Chargers), Justin Watson (Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Bridge FA), Cameron Wilder (Kennesaw, Ga.; Concorde Fire)
FORWARDS (15): Ade Akinsanya (Sacramento, Calif.; San Juan Lightning), Will Bates (Chester, Va.; Richmond Strikers), Ryan Bauer (O’Fallen, Mo.; Scott Gallagher), Orr Baroush (Reseda, Calif.; Chivas USA Academy), Marquis Brooks (Chula Vista, Calif.; LA Galaxy Academy), Zack Foxhoven (Littleton, Colo.; Colorado Rush), Chris Hegngi (Silver Spring, Md.; D.C. United), Adam Jahn (El Macero, Calif.; San Juan Lightning), Zach Kupfer (North Bellmore, N.Y.; Albertson), Andrew Lubahn (Erie, Pa.; Premier Soccer Academy), Josue Madueno (Castroville, Calif.; Santa Cruz Breakers), Martin Ontiveros (Austin, Texas; Lonestar), Hasani Sinclair (Coral Springs, Fla.; Schulz Academy)

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

COACHESNET OFFERS TRIP TO ARGENTINA: As part of the U.S. Soccer’s Coaching Department’s dedication to providing unique coaching opportunities to its members, CoachesNet is offering an educational trip from March 10-16, 2009, to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Registration also includes round-trip airfare from Miami International Airport, meals and four-star accommodations. Registration is open to all coaches and current U.S. Soccer “A” licensed coaches will earn eight (8) Continuing Education Units for their participation. CoachesNet caught up with U.S. Soccer U-17 scout and National Staff Coach Juan Carlos Michia to discuss the trip to Buenos Aires. Michia, a native of Argentina, discusses plans for the trip, how soccer is a way of life in Argentina and what a coach can expect during the week.

*** CENTER CIRCLE SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: Fulham are up to eighth in the English Premier League after a 3-0 victory over Middlesbrough on Saturday. MNT midfielder Clint Dempsey grabbed the third goal of the game, as the Cottagers extended their unbeaten run to seven games in the Premier League. Check out highlights of the goal and follow all the action of MNT players abroad over at the Global Blog.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: It's official: Columbus Crew Stadium will play host to the USA-Mexico match for the third consecutive World Cup qualifying cycle. The game will be played in the middle of winter and the weather will likely be a bit chilly. Does that bring back any memories? Ticket info for the Feb. 11 showdown will be available soon on ussoccer.com.

SOCCER SHOCKER: Tahiti, population of about 250,000, qualified for the 2009 U-20 FIFA World Cup last week. That's right: Tahiti. The island, which is part of French Polynesia, qualified for its ever World Championship by beating Fiji 2-0 and getting some help when New Zealand tied 2-2 with New Caledonia. Tahiti becomes the twelfth team in the tournament, joining Australia, Korea Republic, UAE and Uzbekistan from the AFC; Czech Republic, England, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Spain from UEFA; and hosts Egypt in next years world championship.

QUOTABLE: “It's a great honor to win this award, especially with all the great players who have played for U.S. National Teams this year and all the amazing players who have played for the U.S. in the past.”
-- Kristie Mewis, who was named U.S. Soccer's Young Female Athlete of the Year last week.

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