U.S. MNT GETS SET FOR MATCH VS. MEXICO IN HOUSTON ON THURSDAY: The U.S. Men’s National Team went through its first training session Monday (May 5) in Houston in preparation for its match against archrival and fellow World Cup participants Mexico on Thursday, May 8 at Reliant Field. Kickoff for the match, which is being staged in conjunction with Major League Soccer and Houston Texans Entertainment, is set for 6:55 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on ESPN2, Telemundo and the Radio Unica network. Fans can also follow live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. Manager Bruce Arena announced his 18-man roster last week. Nine players from the team that advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup will lineup in Houston, including six players that were on the field for the historic 2-0 victory against Mexico in the Round of 16 last June. Leading the World Cup alumni is the strike partnership of Brian McBride and Landon Donovan, the duo netting both goals as the U.S. advanced to the quarterfinals of the World Cup for the first time in 72 years.
Goalkeepers (2): Tim Howard (MetroStars), Adin Brown (New England Revolution);
Defenders (5): Carlos Bocanegra (Chicago Fire), Dan Califf (Los Angeles Galaxy), Nick Garcia (Kansas City Wizards), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Eddie Pope (MetroStars);
Midfielders (7): Chris Armas (Chicago Fire), DaMarcus Beasley (Chicago Fire), Bobby Convey (D.C. United), Chris Klein (Kansas City Wizards), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), Richard Mulrooney (San Jose Earthquakes), Earnie Stewart (D.C. United);
Forwards (4): Landon Donovan (San Jose Earthquakes), Cobi Jones (Los Angeles Galaxy), Clint Mathis (MetroStars), Brian McBride (Columbus Crew).
U.S. MANAGER BRUCE ARENA TO TALK WITH MEDIA & FANS ON ussoccer.com: U.S. Manager Bruce Arena will chat with fans and members of the media live on Wednesday, May 7 at noon ET, one day before the first match between the United States and Mexico since the USA’s historic 2-0 victory in the 2002 World Cup. To log onto to the chat visit ussoccerfan.com where existing members can simply sign in, and new members must register on the site before they are able to ask questions during the chat. Kickoff for the May 8 match, which is being staged in conjunction with Major League Soccer and Houston Texans Entertainment, is set for 6:55 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on ESPN2, Telemundo and the Radio Unica network. Fans can also follow live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
HEINRICHS TO ANNOUNCE ROSTER FOR MAY 17 MATCH VS. ENGLAND ON TUESDAY: U.S. Women’s National Team manager April Heinrichs will announce a roster for the upcoming match versus England tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET exclusively on ussoccer.com, which recently underwent a design facelift. It will be the first-ever WNT game in the state of Alabama when the U.S. takes on England on Saturday, May 17, at Legion Field in Birmingham. The match will kickoff at noon CT and will be televised live on ESPN. While the U.S. men have played at Legion Field, and the stadium hosted matches of the 1996 Olympic Soccer Tournament, this will be the first trip for the U.S. women to the state of Alabama and the historic American football stadium that was originally built in 1927. The match could feature a homecoming of sorts for two U.S. players: the world’s all-time leading scorer Mia Hamm, who was born in Selma, Ala., and defender Cat Reddick, the only player in the history of the U.S. Women’s National Team program to earn a cap who hails from Alabama. In fact, Reddick grew up in Birmingham, where she went to high school at Briarwood Christian School, was a four-time all-state selection and was twice the Gatorade Player of the Year in Alabama.
IRELAND REPLACES SOUTH KOREA FOR MATCH IN SALT LAKE CITY ON JUNE 14: Ireland has replaced South Korea as the opponent for the U.S. Women's National Team on Saturday, June 14, 2003, in Salt Lake City, Utah, at Rice-Eccles Stadium on the campus of the University of Utah. The match, presented by the Utah Sports Commission, will kick off as originally scheduled at 7 p.m. MT / 9 p.m. ET and be broadcast live on ESPN2. The change was necessitated by the re-scheduling of the Asian Qualification Tournament for the 2003 Women’s World Cup, originally set for April in Bangkok, Thailand, but postponed due to the SARS outbreak in Asia. In one previous match with Ireland, the U.S. Women earned a 5-0 victory on Sept. 4, 1999, at Foxboro Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. That match was the first for the U.S. after their thrilling victory at the 1999 Women’s World Cup. Tickets ranging in price levels from $16 to $37 are on sale now at Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 801-325-SEAT (7328), and at all Ticketmaster outlets (including Fred Meyer and Graywhale CD Exchange). Groups of 20 or more can call U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290). For more information, fans can go online at ussoccer.com.
WALES NAMES PRELIMINARY ROSTER FOR MAY 26 MATCH IN SAN JOSE: Wales manager Mark Hughes announced a preliminary roster of 29 players last Friday for the friendly international against the U.S. MNT in San Jose, Calif. on May 26. The squad will be reduced to 20 after May 14. Hughes said he picked such a large squad due to question marks on certain players fitness levels after games that still need to be played in the Premiership, Nationwide League, and FA and UEFA Cup finals.
Goalkeepers (4): Paul Jones (Southampton), Mark Crossley (Middlesbrough), Darren Ward (Nottingham Forest), Danny Coyne (Grimsby);
Defenders (8): Andy Melville (Fulham), Kit Symons (Crystal Palace), Robert Page (Sheffield United), Mark Delaney (Aston Villa), Darren Barnard (Grimsby), Adrian Williams (Reading), Danny Gabbidon (Cardiff), Rhys Weston (Cardiff City);
Midfielders (12): Gary Speed (Newcastle United), Mark Pembridge (Everton), Robbie Savage (Birmingham City), Simon Davies (Tottenham Hotspur), Matthew Jones (Leicester City), Carl Robinson (Portsmouth), Andy Johnson (West Bromwich Albion), Paul Trollope (Northampton), John Oster (Sunderland), Jason Koumas (West Bromwich Albion), David Vaughan (Crewe), Ryan Giggs (Manchester United);
Forwards (5): John Hartson (Celtic), Nathan Blake (Wolverhampton), Craig Bellamy (Newcastle United), Gareth Taylor (Burnley), Robert Earnshaw (Cardiff).
– U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –
UNDER-16 GIRLS WIN FIRST TWO GAMES IN BALLYMENA INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENT: The U.S. Under-16 Girls National Team won its first two games of the Ballymena International Tournament in Ireland this past weekend, blanking both of its opponents by a combined score of 7-0. On Friday, May 2, the U.S. beat Northern Ireland 2-0 as Brittany Bock and Ashley Myers scored, with assists from Mandy Moraca and Elizabeth Redman, respectively. A day later, the U.S. got another clean sheet, beating Scotland 5-0 for its second victory of the tournament. Cydne Currie and Moraca led the way the offensive attack, as Currie notched two goals and an assist, while Moraca had an unassisted goal and two assists. Melissa Hayes and Kasey Moore added the other goals and Bock got an assist. The girls play their final match today against England.
UNDER-19 WOMEN FINISH TRAINING CAMP IN CHULA VISTA, FALL TO SPIRIT: The U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team finished up a nine-day training camp at ARCO Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., on Sunday. During the camp, the team dropped its only match during the week to the WUSA’s San Diego Spirit 4-0 on Wednesday (April 30). All 28 players in the camp got on the pitch as the match was split into three 30-minute games.
UNDER-17 MEN WIN FOUR FRIENDLIES IN ORLANDO OVER THE WEEKEND: The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team won all four of its friendly matches this weekend in Orlando, Fla., against two local club teams and two Premier Development League teams. With 30 players in residency, the U.S. Under-17 MNT was split into two teams for the weekend matches, one consisting of mainly players born in 1986 and the other in 1987. On Saturday, the younger U.S. squad defeated the Orange County Strikers 2-1, getting both goals from Michael Bradley. The older squad also won, downing the Cocoa Expos of the PDL 5-1. Midfielder Corey Ashe led the way with two goals and one assist, while MLS professionals Guillermo Gonzalez (L.A. Galaxy) added two goals and Eddie Gaven (MetroStars) notched a goal and an assist. On Sunday, Rodrigo Hidalgo had a dominating performance for the younger squad, scoring all four goals in a 4-1 victory over the Royal Orlando Football Academy. Brian Mascarenhas picked up two assists and Robbie Rogers added one in the win. Gaven and Gonzalez notched two goals each in a 5-2 victory for the older squad over the Central Florida Kraze of the PDL on Sunday. Freddy Adu got the first goal off a pass from Ashe, who had two assists in the game. Adu and Gaven also had one assist each.
U-15 BOYS ARRIVE IN CHULA VISTA FOR TRAINING CAMP: The U.S. Under-15 Boys National Team arrived in Chula Vista, Calif., on Sunday (May 4) for a week-long training camp at ARCO Olympic Training Center. U-15 BNT head coach Ken Lolla has called in a 32-player roster for the week-long camp, which has the team playing six games over the course of three days.
Goalkeepers (4): Francisco Hernandez (Fresno, Calif.), Evan Newton (Virginia Beach, Va.), Bryant Rueckner (Fontana, Calif.), Kevin Sweetland (Hartford, Conn.);
Defenders (11): Chris Cano (Staten Island, N.Y.), Richard Edgar (Mechanicsville, Md.), Jesse Henderson (West Bloomfield, Mich.), Eric Lichaj (Downers Grove, Ill.), Ofori Sarkodie (Huber Heights, Ohio), Jeffrey Scannella (Alpharetta, Ga.), Kenneth Walker (Wickliffe, Ohio), Taylor Waspi (Deer Park, Ill.), Sam Westberg (St. Cloud, France), Mark Wiltse (Belle Mead, N.J.), Christopher Ye (Englewood, Calif.);
Midfielders (12): Fredua Adu (Potomac, Md.), Anthony Ampaiptakwong (Dallas, Texas), Joe Castaldo (Atlanta, Ga.), Michael Dalpra (Bronxville, N.Y.), Juan Guzman (Charlotte, N.C.), Bret Merchant (Modesto, Calif.), Kyle Nakazawa (Palos Verdes East, Calif.), Bahram Sajjadi (Arlington, Texas), Tommy Stackhouse (Flemington, N.J.), Blake Wagner (Tampa, Fla.), Jonathon Villanueva (Dallas, Texas), Drew Yates (Pasadena, Calif.);
Forwards (5): Jose Angulo (Clifton, N.J.), Bruce Ayala (Maspeth, N.Y.), Cameron Jordan (Ft. Wayne, Ind.), Quavas Kirk (Aurora, Ill.), Ryan Soroka (Langhorne, Pa.).
– AROUND THE SOCCER WORLD –
FIFA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MAKES DECISION ON WOMEN’S, MEN’S WORLD CUPS: The FIFA Executive Committee announced Saturday that they will transfer this summer’s Women’s World Cup, which is to be staged Sept. 23 to Oct. 11, from China to another country due to the current health threat of Sever Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The committee, chaired by President Joseph S. Blatter, made the decision in compliance with a unanimous recommendation from the Sports Medical Committee of football’s world governing body. The new location for the fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup has not yet been decided, but both the U.S. and Australia are possible hosts. The committee announced that the 2007 Women’s World Cup would be awarded to China. Also during the meeting the committee agreed to raise the number of finalist spots at the 2006 FIFA World Cup from 32 to 36, but only on the condition that the match schedule ensured the sporting credibility of the event. A final decision will be made at the next meeting of the executive in Paris at the end of June 2003.
RHINOS NAMED AS ONE OF TOP FIVE BEST RUN SPORT FRANCHISES: The Rochester Raging Rhinos of the A-League were selected as one of the top five best run sports franchises by Street & Smith’s Sport Business Journal in the magazine’s fifth anniversary issue, which was published last week. The Rhinos were selected along with the Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Lakers, Manchester United and the New York Yankees. In the publication, the Rhinos organization was recognized for averaging 10,000 fans a game and taking the initiative to build only the third soccer-only facility in the U.S.
MIA HAMM AND NBC “TODAY’S” ANN CURRY TO TRADE PLACES: U.S. Women’s National Team and Washington Freedom forward Mia Hamm will be taking part in NBC “Today’s” week-long series “Trading Places” on May 14 when she trades places with “Today” news anchor Ann Curry. Hamm will field some of Curry’s regular duties for the day, live on “Today,” while Curry will get the chance to suit up for the Freedom of the Women’s United Soccer Association. Curry will scrimmage with the Freedom and take part in other team activities for the day.
UEFA AND COMNEBOL BEGIN FINAL ROUND OF QUALIFYING FOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: With just half of the teams already securing a spot in the 16-team U.S. Under-17 World Championship in Finland, which takes place from Aug. 13-30, the field will be almost be completely filled after the next two weeks as both UEFA and CONMEBOL will complete their final round of qualifying. The CONMEBOL final qualifying round kicked off last Thursday (May 1) and will finish up on Sunday, May 18. The teams, split into two groups of five, will battle for the top two positions in each group. Those four teams will then play against each other to determine the three that will represent South America at the World Championship. The UEFA final qualifying round will be played from May 7-17 in Portugal, with two teams advancing to Finland. The final three teams will come from the Confederation of African Football (CAF), which will play its final qualifying round from May 24 to June 8. The U.S. advanced to the World Championship after taking first in Group A of the CONCACAF final round of qualifying. Costa Rica, Mexico Finland, Korea Republic, Yemen, China PR and Australia are the other teams that have solidified spots in the tournament so far.
DEADLINE FOR CREDENTIAL APPLICATIONS FOR 2004 OLYMPICS TWO WEEKS AWAY: All journalists and photographers interested in covering the 2004 Men’s and/or Women’s Olympic Soccer Tournaments have just two weeks left to apply for credentials online by visiting http://www.usocpressbox.org/ and searching under Media Registration. The USOC deadline for all media credentials applications for the 2004 Olympics is May 20, 2003. FIFA itself will not issue any accreditation for these events, which are part of the 2004 Summer Olympic Games to be held in Athens and various other venues under the auspices of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The Olympic Men’s and Women’s Football Tournaments will be contested in August 2004 in five venues: Athens, Heraklio, Patra, Thessaloniki and Volos.
HEINRICHS RUNS UNIQUE SUMMIT FOR WOMEN'S COACHES: In a unique coaching symposium that was the first of its kind, U.S. Women's National Team head coach April Heinrichs, in cooperation with the USOC and U.S. Soccer, brought 35 female Division I women's soccer coaches together at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., from May 1-3 for on-field and classroom sessions covering numerous aspects of the women's game from the psychology of coaching female athletes to ACL injury prevention. The USOC/U.S. Soccer Women in Coaching Summit featured numerous guest speakers including Heinrichs, U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team head coach Tracey Leone, U.S. Women's National Team Sports Psychology consultant Dr. Colleen Hacker, Dr. Janis Sanchez speaking on diversity and gender issues, Holly Silvers of Santa Monica Orthopedic on ACL injury prevention in female athletes and former WUSA head coach and now Carolina Courage Assistant General Manager Marcia McDermott on "Building a Championship Season." The three days featured on field sessions with Heinrichs and Leone, in conjunction with a U.S. U-19 National Team training camp, as well as interactive discussions on systems of play with the Women's National Team, scouting opponents and being a female in the soccer coaching profession.
U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT
MARQUEE MATCH-UP: The U.S. Men’s National Team will battle Mexico this Thursday, May 8 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. The match, coined "La Revancha En La Cancha" or “The Rematch on the Field,” will be the rivals' first meeting since last year’s World Cup match in the Round of 16.
PEAK PERFORMER: Manchester United’s Ruud Van Nistelrooy notched his third hat-trick of the year against Charlton on Saturday in his 100th appearance for United, helping the club capture their eighth Premiership title. The three goals upped his total to 43 on the season and was his 14th in the last nine games. In 100 games for United, the Dutchman has found the back of the net 78 times.
SOCCER SHOCKER: Star-packed Real Madrid lost at home for the first time in 50 games, getting stunned 5-1 by Mallorca on Saturday. It was the Spanish League leaders most lopsided home defeat since Dec. 4, 1999, when they were beaten by Zaragoza by the same score. Real Madrid is only one point ahead of Real Sociedad with six games left in the season.
“I think the standard cop-out is to always cheer for the home team. The home team wins about 70 percent of the time in the MLS, so that works out just fine most of the time. That’s where the game means the most.”
- Lamar Hunt, owner/investor of three MLS teams (Kansas City, Columbus and Dallas), on what team he cheers for when they go up against each other.