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U.S. Soccer Wire: February 25, 2008


U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM LEARNS OLYMPIC QUALIFYING OPPONENTS;
ESPN DEPORTES TO TELEVISE 2008 CONCACAF MEN’S OLYMPIC QUALIFYING;
SUNDHAGE NAMES 2008 ALGARVE CUP ROSTER

U.S. WNT DRAWN INTO GROUP A WITH MEXICO AND JAMAICA: The U.S. has been drawn into Group A along with Jamaica and Mexico for 2008 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying from April 2-12 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The U.S. will open the tournament on April 4 vs. Jamaica before facing Mexico on April 6. Both games will be played in the Estadio Olímpico Benito Juarez, which will host all 10 games during the qualifying tournament. The top two teams from Group A will advance to the semifinals, where they will cross over to face the top two teams from Group B, which includes Canada, Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago. The winners of the April 9 semifinals will qualify for the 2008 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in Beijing. The U.S. will look to qualify for a fourth consecutive Olympic Games and finish in first place at CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying for the second consecutive time. In 2004, the U.S. won the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Costa Rica, and went on to win gold at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. The U.S. qualified for the 1996 Atlanta Games as host, and for the 2000 Sydney Games as a top-seven finisher at the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

U.S. WNT 2008 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Schedule
Date         Opponent                                    Kickoff
April 4      Jamaica                                       8:30 p.m. MT
April 6      Mexico                                          1:30 p.m. MT
April 9      Semifinals                                   5 p.m. MT / 7:30 p.m. MT
April 12   Third Place / Championship    5 p.m. MT / 7:30 p.m. MT

ESPN DEPORTES TO TELEVISE 2008 CONCACAF OLYMPIC QUALIFYING: The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team’s road through 2008 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying will be broadcast live on ESPN Deportes, which will televise all 16 matches of the tournament as the exclusive Spanish-language rights holders. In addition, ESPN360.com will also show all 16 games live online, and will have a replay of each game available on demand for 48-hours following its completion. English-language broadcast information will be announced later this week. The eight-team event, which includes national teams at the Under-23 age level, will be played as eight doubleheaders from March 11-23, 2008, and will send two finalists to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The U.S. will play its Group A games at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. against Cuba on March 11 at 8 p.m. ET, Panama on March 13 at 8 p.m. ET and Honduras on March 15 at 7 p.m. ET. Should the U.S. advance, it will move to Nashville, where both Semifinal matches will take place on March 20 at LP Field. ESPN Deportes will broadcast both semifinal games, and both the Third-place Game and Final on March 23.

SUNDHAGE NAMES 20-PLAYER ROSTER FOR 2008 ALGARVE CUP: U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Pia Sundhage has named 20 players to the roster for the 2008 Algarve Cup, being held from March 5-12 in southern Portugal. The U.S. team, which has been placed into Group B at the prestigious tournament, will open play on March 5 against China, face Italy on March 7 and finish the first round against Norway on March 10. The USA will use this tournament as its final preparation for 2008 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying, which will be held April 2-12 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. This will be the 13th trip to the Algarve Cup for the U.S. women who won an unprecedented three straight championships from 2003-2005.

U.S. WNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Nicole Barnhart (2) (Gilbertsville, Pa.), Hope Solo (5) (Richland, Wash.);
DEFENDERS (6): Rachel Buehler (1) (Del Mar, Calif.), Stephanie Cox (4) (Elk Grove, Calif.), Tobin Heath (1) (Basking Ridge, N.J.), Kate Markgraf (7) (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), Christie Rampone (8) (Point Pleasant, N.J.), Cat Whitehill (8) (Birmingham, Ala.);
MIDFIELDERS (7): Shannon Boxx (5) (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Lori Chalupny (5) (St. Louis, Mo.), Angela Hucles (4) (Virginia Beach, Va.), Carli Lloyd (3) (Delran, N.J.), Leslie Osborne (4) (Brookfield, Wis.), Lindsay Tarpley (6) (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Angie Woznuk (1) (El Cajon, Calif.);
FORWARDS (5): Lauren Cheney (1) (Indianapolis, Ind.), Natasha Kai (3) (Kahuku, Hawaii), Heather O’Reilly (6) (East Brunswick, N.J.), Amy Rodriguez (3) (Lake Forest, Calif.), Abby Wambach (5) (Rochester, N.Y.)
*Number of Algarve Cups attended, including 2008, in parenthesis.

U.S. WNT Algarve Cup Schedule
Date            Opponent                         Time (Local / ET)
March 5      China                                 1:45 p.m. / 8:45 a.m.
March 7      Italy                                     1:45 p.m. / 8:45 a.m.
March 10    Norway                              3 p.m. / 10 a.m.
March 12    Placement matches       TBD

U.S. MNT TO FACE POLAND, SPAIN: The U.S. Men’s National Team will play a pair of friendlies in Europe this spring, traveling to face Poland and Spain in preparation for the start of 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying. The United States will first meet Poland on March 26 in Krakow, the match falling on the final international fixture date before the start of World Cup qualifying. On June 4, the U.S. travels to face fourth-ranked Spain just six days before the Spaniards open group play in the 2008 European Championship against Russia. Full details regarding kickoff times and broadcast information will be available in the near future. The U.S. will begin the attempt to qualify for their sixth-consecutive World Cup finals when they take on the winner of the first round series between Barbados and Dominica, who drew 1-1 in the first leg of their series on Feb. 6 in Dominica.

MNT TO OPEN WCQ PLAY AT THE HOME DEPOT CENTER ON JUNE 15: The U.S. Men’s National Team will begin the qualifying road to its sixth-consecutive FIFA World Cup when they host the first leg of the second round on June 15 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Kickoff for the USA’s first match of the 2010 qualifying campaign is set for 2 p.m. PT, with broadcast details still to be finalized. The U.S. will face the winner of the first round series between Barbados and Dominica, who tied, 1-1, on Feb. 6 in Dominica and meet again on March 26 in Barbados. The June 15 match represents the USA’s first World Cup qualifier played in Carson. The U.S. boasts an unbeaten 5-0-1 record at The HDC, including two victories during the group stage of its 2007 Gold Cup championship-winning run last year.

- OLYMPIC QUALIFYING UPDATE -

SCHEDULE SET FOR MEN’S OLYMPIC QUALIFYING: The U.S. will kick off Group A of the 2008 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualification against Cuba on Tuesday, March 11 at 8 p.m. ET at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. The U.S., which plays in the late game in each of the three doubleheaders, will then face Panama on Thursday, March 13 at 8 p.m. ET and finish the round-robin phase of the tournament against Guatemala on Saturday, March 15 at 7 p.m. ET. Group B, which will begin on March 12, features Canada, Guatemala, Haiti and Mexico, and will be played at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. After group play, the top two teams will advance to the semifinals which will be played on March 20 at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. LP Field will also be the location for the third-place game and championship match on Sunday, March 23. The two semifinal winners qualify for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

U.S. U-23 MNT CONCACAF Championship Schedule
Date            Opponent               Location                                                            Kickoff (local)
March 11    Cuba                       Raymond James Stadium; Tampa, Fla.    8 p.m. ET
March 13    Panama                  Raymond James Stadium; Tampa, Fla.    8 p.m. ET
March 15    Honduras               Raymond James Stadium; Tampa, Fla.    7 p.m. ET
March 20    Semifinals*            LP Field; Nashville, Tenn.                              5 p.m. CT / 8 p.m. CT
March 23    Third Place*           LP Field; Nashville, Tenn.                              1 p.m. CT
March 23    Championship*     LP Field; Nashville, Tenn.                             4 p.m. CT
* If necessary

MEN'S OLYMPIC QUALIFYING INDIVIDUAL TICKETS ON SALE NOW: Individual game tickets for the 2008 Men’s Olympic Qualifying tournament are now on sale. The eight-team event, will be played as eight doubleheaders from March 11-23, 2008, and will send two finalists to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Group A, which includes the United States, Honduras, Cuba and Panama, will play at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on March 11, 13 and 15. Group B features Canada, Guatemala, Haiti and Mexico facing off on March 12, 14 and 16 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. LP Field in Nashville will host the semifinals on Thursday, March 20, and the championship match and third-place game on Sunday, March 23. Tickets priced from $18 to $65 for each of the eight doubleheaders in the tournament are now on sale through ussoccer.com, by phone at 813-287-8844 (Tampa), 213-480-3232 (Los Angeles) or 615-255-9600 (Nashville) and at local Ticketmaster ticket centers in the venue cities. In Tampa and Los Angeles (where first round doubleheaders are scheduled), teams competing at those sites will have seats at every price level set aside for their fans, allowing supporters of the same country to sit together. Fans must order online to choose from this allotment. In Nashville, where the participating teams won’t be known until several days before the semifinal round, seating until the end of the first round will be allocated (based on the local population) for U.S.A., Mexico, and mixed/neutral fan sections at each price level. 

– YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

U.S. U-20 WNT TO FACE FULL WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAMS AT CYPRUS TOURNAMENT: The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team will travel to Cyprus for the Cyprus Women’s Cup 2008, a tournament featuring five full Women’s National Teams and the U.S. U-20s. It will be the second consecutive high-level competition for the U.S. U-20s, who in February won a tournament in La Serena, Chile, against the English, Norwegian and Chilean U-20 Women’s National Teams. Each country will play the other two within its group of three, with the group winners playing for the championship, the second-place finishers playing for third and the third-place finishers playing for fifth. All placement matches will be played on March 12. Because the tournament features six teams, each country will also play a “non-tournament” match during the competition, giving each nation a chance to play four total games -- two group games, a non-tournament game and a placement game -- while in Cyprus. The USA opens against Scotland on March 5 in Group 2 play, plays its non-tournament match against Russia on March 7, then finishes group play against the Netherlands on March 10. The U.S. U-20s are currently in preparations for qualifying for the 2008 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup to be held in Chile from Nov. 20-Dec. 7

U.S. U-20 WNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Kristin Arnold (Texas A&M), Alyssa Naeher (Penn State);
DEFENDERS (6): Lauren Barnes (UCLA), Kaley Fountain (Wake Forest), Lauren Fowlkes (Notre Dame), Brittney Maddonald (Miami), Elli Reed (Portland), Lauren Wilmoth (UCLA);
MIDFIELDERS (7): Amanda DaCosta (Florida State), Becky Edwards (Florida State), Sinead Farrelly (Virginia), Meghan Klingenberg (UNC), Teresa Noyola (MVLA Mercury), Ingrid Wells (Georgetown), Keelin Winters (Portland);
FORWARDS (5): Gina DiMartino (Boston College), Michelle Enyeart (Portland), Kelley O’Hara (Stanford), Brittney Steinbruch (Miami), Nikki Washington (UNC)

U.S. U-18 WNT ENDS CAMP AT HDC, PREPARES FOR GAMES IN SPAIN: The newly re-instated U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team swept matches against three Southern California college teams last week and will now focus on its first international competition of the year, traveling to La Manga, Spain, from March 7-16, where the U.S. U-23s played last month. In a get-together that features U-19 Women’s National Teams from Denmark, England, France, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden and Norway, the U.S. U-18s will play three matches against teams preparing for qualifying matches for the European U-19 Women’s Championships. The USA will face Sweden’s U-19s on March 10, take on Norway’s U-19s on March 12 and finish with an always talented France U-19 side on March 14. The U.S. U-18s warmed up for the trip to Spain with three matches played in cold temperatures at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Last week. The USA defeated Pepperdine, 3-0, downed UC Irvine 4-1, and then gutted out a 4-2 win over UCLA on the final day of training camp. Against Pepperdine on Feb. 19, the USA got first half goals from Lauren Alwine, Laurie Nosbusch and Lydia Hastings for the victory. Against the Anteaters on Feb. 21, the USA got first-half goals from Beth West and Caitlin Mooney while Hastings added two scores after the break. The match against the Bruins on Feb. 23 was back-and-forth with the U-18s opening the scoring off a blast from Sade Ayinde in the 16th minute. UCLA scored twice to take a 2-1 lead, but Nosbusch equalized right before halftime. With the match seemingly cruising toward a draw, Toni Pressley struck for two goals in the final 12 minutes to seal the win.

U.S. U-18 WNT La Manga Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Bianca Henninger (Los Gatos, Calif.), Cat Parkhill (Apple Valley, Minn.);
DEFENDERS (6): Danielle Brunache (Belmont, Calif.), Camille Levin (Newport Coast, Calif.), Michelle Olivier (Roswell, Ga.), Alyssa Pember (Northport, N.Y.), Ashley Rape (Dallas, Texas), Whitney Sharpe (West Des Moines, Iowa.);
MIDFIELDERS (5): Charney Burk (North Tustin, Calif.), Katy Frierson (Homewood, Ala.), Brittany Kerridge (Trenton, N.J.), Christine Nairn (Bowie, Md.), Beth West (Centennial, Colo.);
FORWARDS (5): Lauren Alwine (Elizabethtown, Pa.), Tiffany McCarty (Laurel, Md.), Laurie Noshbusch (Mequon, Wis.), Toni Pressley (Melbourne, Fla.), Casey Short (Naperville, Ill.).

U.S. U-18 WNT La Manga U-19 Women’s Tournament Schedule
Date           Opponent
March 10   Sweden U-19
March 12   Norway U-19
March 14   France U-19

U.S. U-15 BNT SPLITS MATCHES AT WEEK-LONG TRAINING CAMP: The Under-15 Boy's National Team’s split squad played a pair of scrimmages against the U-16 Development Academy teams of Chivas USA and Arsenal, coming away with one win and one loss as part of a week-long training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Against Arsenal, Zachary Deville picked up a goal and an assist while David Caban added a goal in the 2-0 victory. Both goals were scored in the second half, as the U.S. had twice as many shots on goal as Arsenal. Two second-half goals led Chivas USA over the U-15 BNT in an otherwise evenly-matched game. Both teams had their share of chances, but Chivas was able to put away three goals, while goalkeeper Jaime Frias came up with six saves to preserve the shutout.

U.S. U-15 BNT Results
Date         Match-up                                            Result     USA Goalscorer(s)
Feb. 20    U-15 BNT vs. U-16 Arsenal            2-0 W      David Caban, Zachary Deville
Feb. 20    U-15 BNT vs. U-16 Chivas USA     0-3 L       --

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

EL SALVADOR AND ANGUILLA TO FACE OFF IN FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFYING AT RFK: The national teams of El Salvador and Anguilla will face off at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 26, at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The match is the second leg of the home-and-away series between the teams as part of the first round of FIFA 2010 World Cup Qualifying. The match is officially a home match for Anguilla, who lost 12-0 to El Salvador on Feb. 6 at Estadio Cuscatlán. The winner of the series faces Panama in the second round of FIFA World Cup Qualifying for the CONCACAF region in June. Match tickets start at $25 and are now on sale through Ticketmaster. For more information, including group tickets, contact D.C. United.

U.S. SOCCER SPRING COACHING SCHOOL SET: U.S. Soccer's National Coaching School Spring dates have been set for March 29-April 6. The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. will host both an “A” Audit and a “B” License course. The “B” License course is currently sold out. Space is available for the “A” Audit course, but is limited. More information is available in the Coaches Section of ussoccer.com.

DARTFISH TO OFFER FREE WEBINARS: Dartfish is offering free Webinars to demonstrate the benefits of the Connect Plus product, the video analysis software used by U.S. National Team coaches to review game footage, breakdown player performances and analyze upcoming opponents. The next 30-minute educational online seminar takes place Thursday, Feb. 28 at 11:30 a.m. ET. Register here https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/743323332 to participate, or visit dartfish.com.

ONE MORE WEEK TO SUBMIT DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY APPLICATIONS: Applications for the 2008-09 season of U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy (Winter Showcase recap) are being accepted from now until March 1, 2008. Clubs will be admitted on a rolling basis until April 1, at which point all clubs will be notified of their status. Academy clubs follow the model used at the U.S. Under-17 Residency Program, with a focus on training and player development. Teams are required to train three times per week and rest one day per week during the eight-month season, during which they will play 30 regular-season Academy games. Applications are available at ussoccer.com.

*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: Midfielder Michael Stephens was a spark off the bench for the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team against Victoria on Sunday in New Orleans, coming on as a second-half substitute and immediately setting up teammate Steven Cabas to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead. In the 69th minute, he scored a goal of his own that would prove to be crucial, as the U.S. held on to win the match, 3-2, and the four-team tournament.

SOCCER SHOCKER: After rolling for most of the year, Real Madrid followed up its Champions League loss on Tuesday with a 1-0 defeat at home to Getafe on Sunday. The deciding goal in this weekend's contest came out of interesting circumstances, to say the least. Arjen Robben thought he scored after putting in a pass from Raul, and wheeled off down the touchline to celebrate with his teammates, unaware that the goal had been called back for offside. Meanwhile, Getafe grabbed the ball and, after a quick restart, marched up the field to score a goal while most of Real Madrid stood around looking clueless. Controversial? Perhaps. But more straightforward is Barcelona narrowing the gap at the top of La Liga to only two points.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: Spain is not the only league where the leader is faltering: Inter Milan, previously untouchable at the top of Serie A, lost to Liverpool in the Champions League and drew at Sampdoria over the weekend in league play. The Nerrazurri's lead over Roma has slimmed to nine points and though that may still seem like a lot, the two clubs meet this Wednesday at the San Siro. If Roma, who won on Saturday, can perhaps get a result, the title race may still have a few twists ahead.

QUOTABLE: “They have scored a goal against us like in a match for four-year-olds. We can't afford to lose games in this way.”
--Real Madrid midfielder Guti after the team lost 1-0 to Getafe on a goal that was scored while many of the players were celebrating an apparent Arjen Robben goal that was ruled offside.


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