While spots in the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Women’s Soccer Tournaments were earned according to finish at the previous year’s Women’s World Cup, for the first time ever, a separate tournament is being held to decide CONCACAF’s two berths to the Athens Olympics. The USA will head Group B in the Final Round, which also features Trinidad & Tobago, Haiti and Mexico. Canada heads Group B, which features Jamaica, Panama and host Costa Rica. Each country will play the other teams in its group once, with the top two finishers in each group "crossing over" for the semifinals, as first place in Group A will play second in Group B and vice-versa. The winners of the semifinal matches will earn berths to Greece.
The USA will train in Costa Rica for 11 days before opening the tournament (which will be played in a format of eight doubleheaders) on February 25 against Trinidad & Tobago at Estadio Nacional in San José (3 p.m. CT). The USA will then face Haiti on February 27 at Estadio Eladio Rosabal Cordero in Heredia (8 p.m. CT) before finishing first round play against Mexico on February 29 at Estadio Nacional (3 p.m. CT). It will be the first-ever game for the U.S. Women on "Leap Day." The semifinals will be played on March 3 at Estadio Nacional while the Final and Third-Place matches will take place on March 5 at Estadio Eladio Rosabal Cordero.
Fans can follow all the U.S. matches on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker presented by Philips Electronics. The qualifying tournament will not only mark the first-ever trip for the U.S. women to Costa Rica, but also, in the 20th year of the program, the first-ever trip to a Spanish-speaking country.
The CONCACAF Qualifying squad includes 17 of the 20 players who were on the roster for the USA’s victorious run at the 2004 Four Nations Tournament in China last week. Heinrichs has added forwards Mia Hamm and Cindy Parlow and midfielder Aly Wagner, who was in China, but was not named to the game roster due to an injury. The three bring a total of 221 international goals back to the U.S. roster, 144 of those by Hamm. The roster includes just 10 players who were on the USA’s 2000 Olympic Team.
The roster features 17 professionals and three players with college eligibility remaining – forward Heather O’Reilly and midfielders Lindsay Tarpley and Leslie Osborne – all members of the USA’s 2002 Under-19 World Championship Team.
Tarpley scored her first three international goals at the Four Nations to finish as the tournament’s leading scorer. Osborne played her first two games for the full National Team in China and earned her first ever start. O’Reilly upped her cap count to 21 with three appearances off the bench.
Other young players on the roster include a pair of 21-year-old defenders who just completed their college eligibility last fall in Cat Reddick, who started five matches in the 2003 Women’s World Cup, and Amy LePeilbet, who made her first career start at the Four Nations. The roster also includes Heather Mitts, another defender who made her first career start for the national team in China.
The three other defenders on the roster are among the most experienced in the world as Joy Fawcett (227 caps), Kate Markgaf (107 caps) and Christie Rampone (110 caps) have each started in the last two world championships for the USA. Fawcett has started in all six world championships the Americans have contested (four Women's World Cup and two Olympic Games).
Following is the USA’s roster for the CONCACAF Final Round Olympic Qualifying Tournament:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Briana Scurry, Siri Mullinix; DEFENDERS (6): Joy Fawcett, Kate Markgraf (*nee Sobrero), Heather Mitts, Amy LePeilbet, Christie Rampone (*nee Pearce), Cat Reddick; MIDFIELDERS (7): Shannon Boxx, Julie Foudy, Angela Hucles, Kristine Lilly, Leslie Osborne, Lindsay Tarpley, Aly Wagner; FORWARDS (5): Mia Hamm, Shannon MacMillan, Heather O’Reilly, Cindy Parlow, Abby Wambach.
The USA has never lost to any of its three first-round opponents over 17 matches, which includes just one against Haiti, a 10-0 win at the 1991 CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament for the first-ever Women’s World Cup. U.S. head coach April Heinrichs scored twice in that match. Of the six meetings with T&T, three have been in CONCACAF competitions including the most recent match at the 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup, a 3-0 U.S. win. The USA has played Mexico 10 times, most recently a 3-1 victory on Nov. 10, 2003, in the USA’s last match of last year.
CONCACAF Final Women’s Olympic Qualifying Schedule
Date Matches Stadiums Local Time
Trinidad & Tobago vs. USA Nacional 3 p.m. CT
Thursday, 26 February Canada vs. Jamaica Eladio Rosabal Cordero 6 p.m. CT
Costa Rica vs. Panama Eladio Rosabal Cordero 8 p.m. CT
Friday, 27 February Trinidad & Tobago vs. Mexico Eladio Rosabal Cordero 6 p.m. CT
Haiti vs. USA Eladio Rosabal Cordero 8 p.m. CT
Saturday, 28 February Canada vs. Panama Nacional 1 p.m. CT
Costa Rica vs. Jamaica Nacional 3 p.m. CT
Sunday, 29 February Haiti vs. Trinidad & Tobago Nacional 1 p.m. CT
USA vs. Mexico Nacional 3 p.m. CT
Monday, 1 March Jamaica vs. Panama Eladio Rosabal Cordero 6 p.m. CT
Costa Rica vs. Canada Eladio Rosabal Cordero 8 p.m. CT
Wednesday, 3 March Semifinal #1 (A1 vs. B2) Nacional 12 p.m. CT
Semifinal #2 (B1 vs. A2) Nacional 2:30 p.m. CT
Friday, 5 March Third-Place Eladio Rosabal Cordero 6 p.m. CT
Final Eladio Rosabal Cordero 8 p.m. CT
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster
|1||Scurry, Briana||GK||5'9"||09/07/71||Dayton, Minn.||UMass||127/0|
|2||Mitts, Heather||D||5'5"||06/06/78||Cincinnati, Ohio||Florida||8/0|
|3||Rampone, Christie*||D||5'6"||06/24/75||Point Pleasant, N.J.||Monmouth||108/4|
|4||Reddick, Cat||D||5'5"||02/10/82||Birmingham, Ala.||North Carolina||34/3|
|5||Osborne, Leslie||M||5'8"||05/27/83||Men. Falls, Wis.||Santa Clara||3/0|
|6||LePeilbet, Amy||D||5'5"||03/12/82||Crystal Lake, Ill.||Arizona State||2/0|
|7||Boxx, Shannon||M||5'8"||06/29/77||Redondo Beach, Calif.||Notre Dame||9/4|
|8||MacMillan, Shannon||F||5'5"||10/07/74||Escondido, Calif.||Portland||159/59|
|9||Hamm, Mia||F||5'5"||03/17/72||Chapel Hill, N.C.||North Carolina||245/144|
|10||Wagner, Aly||M||5'5"||08/10/80||San Jose, Calif.||Santa Clara||53/12|
|11||Foudy, Julie||M||5'6"||01/23/71||Mission Viejo, Calif.||Stanford||239/42|
|12||Parlow, Cindy||F||5'11"||05/08/78||Memphis, Tenn.||North Carolina||134/65|
|13||Lilly, Kristine||M||5'4"||07/22/71||Wilton, Conn.||North Carolina||263/93|
|14||Fawcett, Joy||D||5'6"||02/08/68||Huntington Beach, Calif.||California||224/26|
|15||Markgraf, Kate*||D||5'7"||08/23/76||Bloomfield Hills, Mich.||Notre Dame||104/0|
|16||Tarpley, Lindsay||M||5'6"||09/22/83||Kalamazoo, Mich.||North Carolina||7/0|
|17||O’Reilly, Heather||F||5'5"||01/02/85||East Brunswick, N.J.||North Carolina||18/3|
|18||Mullinix, Siri||GK||5'8"||05/22/78||Greensboro, N.C.||North Carolina||41/0|
|19||Hucles, Angela||M||5'7"||07/05/78||Virginia Beach, Va.||Virginia||24/1|
|20||Wambach, Abby||F||5'11"||06/02/80||Rochester, N.Y.||Florida||22/14|
U.S. WNT Staff
Head Coach: April Heinrichs Gainesville, Va.
Asst./GK Coach: Phil Wheddon Monroe, Conn.
Assistant Coach: Greg Ryan Colorado Springs, Colo.
General Manager: Nils Krumins Chicago, Ill.
Medical Doctor: Dr. Sandy Glasson Virginia Beach, Va.
Medical Doctor: Dr. Steve Lucey Greensboro, N.C.
Medical Doctor: Dr. Becky Spaulding High Point, N.C.
Medical Trainer: Cody Malley Apex, N.C.
Medical Trainer: Lois Farrell Boston, Mass.
Massage Therapist: Scott Street Chicago, Ill.
Massage Therapist: Johnny Zecopoulos Charleston, S.C.
Massage Therapist: Steve Jurch Charleston, S.C.
Equipment Coordinator: Tonya Alleyne San Diego, Ca.
Team Security Officer: Mark Pharris Atlanta, Ga.
Press Officer: Aaron Heifetz San Diego, Calif.