CHICAGO (Thursday, May 9, 2002) – Hundreds of millions of people will be watching around the world as the U.S. Men’s National Team steps onto the international stage to compete in the world’s most popular sporting event, the 2002 FIFA World Cup™ Korea/Japan. The tournament is expected to garner over 50 billion viewers this year. Beyond the months of training it took to reach this moment, the U.S. team recognizes the support of their fans as a key ingredient in America’s quest for victory.
To bring the excitement of the tournament to life for U.S. fans, U.S. Soccer and Philips Electronics will launch “Ethan Zohn’s Zone,” an online World Cup journal hosted by Ethan Zohn. A former professional soccer player and coach, Ethan’s latest achievement is capturing the title of million-dollar champion of the nation’s hottest reality program, Survivor: Africa. With an understanding of what survival of the fittest means, Ethan will provide fans with a behind-the-scenes look inside the U.S. Men’s National Team and the athletes taking part in the 2002 World Cup.
Scheduled to launch prior to the first U.S. match vs. Portugal on June 5, fans will be able to access Ethan’s daily entries at ussoccer.com's World Cup Plus, the ultimate destination for up-to-the-minute World Cup news. Designed to satisfy the curiosity of every fan, the online journal will offer exclusive video footage of both on- and off-the-field moments. Through Ethan’s eyes, fans will be invited to join in-depth interviews with players such as Claudio Reyna, Brian McBride and Clint Mathis, as well as U.S. head coach Bruce Arena. People will be able to walk with Ethan onto the team's Seoul-based training field to get up-close-and-personal with the squad as they prepare to battle the world's best soccer teams. Outside of Seoul, fans will get to experience the pageantry and competition of other World Cup sites throughout Korea as Ethan follows the team from city to city.
“Most Americans won’t be able to watch the games in person or even on television because of the late-night and early morning airings,” said Ethan Zohn. “Hosting the online journal at ussoccer.com allows me the chance to bring the flavor of the World Cup experience and the player’s personalities to life for soccer fans.”
Those seeking a more personal glimpse into the U.S. Men’s daily lives and personalities will not be disappointed. Ethan plans to reveal trivia including which players have superstitions and pre-game rituals, who carries good luck charms and even what’s on the menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Fans will also be able to experience the daily lives of Korean natives as Ethan explores the streets in search of local delicacies and hot spots, allowing viewers to experience the sights and sounds of Seoul up close. Prior to his departure, fans can get personal and speak with Ethan live via an online chat on Friday, May 17 on ussoccer.com.
"Obviously, having the World Cup in Asia makes it more difficult for our fans to follow us, and with many of our games being televised in the middle of the night, Ethan Zohn’s Zone is a great way for fans to follow our team on a daily basis at the World Cup," said U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bruce Arena. "Our players have been working extremely hard to prepare for this moment, and we think our fans will be very interested in seeing their efforts both on the field and behind the scenes. It means a lot to our players and coaches to know how much support we have received from our fans in preparation for the World Cup, and that their support will continue in Korea."
In addition to the journal, when people log on at ussoccer.com, they will find all the latest information on the U.S. World Cup Team. From daily reports and quote sheets to exclusive behind-the-scenes featurettes, ussoccer.com will have the most comprehensive U.S. World Cup coverage on the net. With chats and polls as well as up-to-minute news from around the Cup, U.S. Soccer's World Cup Plus section at ussoccer.com will be the one-stop shop for all things World Cup.
Those who are 18 and older can log onto “Ethan Zohn’s Zone” and register daily to win exciting products from Philips Electronics including Sonicare® Plus toothbrushes, Philips Halogena™ light bulbs and portable Expanium MP3 CD Players, Norelco Advantage® Razors and Philips Kitchen Appliances. Ethan’s online journal is scheduled to launch on June 3 and run daily through the first round of the FIFA World Cup™.
“Philips Electronics is committed to enhancing the soccer experience for fans through our partnership with U.S. Soccer,” said Paul Simonetti, director of brand communications for Philips. “We developed ‘Ethan Zohn’s Zone’ so that fans can capture the feeling of actually being with the U.S. players in Korea at the FIFA World Cup, sharing in the excitement through Ethan’s experiences.”
“Ethan Zohn’s Zone” is the newest program in Philips’ five-year agreement with USSF. Last year, the company announced a five-year deal to become an official USSF sponsor and launched a contest challenging Americans to create the first-ever Official U.S. Stadium Chant to cheer the U.S. teams to victory. As part of the long-term agreement, Philips plans to continue to broaden its relationship with the sport and help to expand the fan base in the U.S.
Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands is one of the world’s biggest electronics companies and Europe’s largest, with sales of $28.8 billion (EUR 32.3 billion) in 2001. It is a global leader in color television sets, lighting, electric shavers, medical diagnostic imaging and patient monitoring, and one-chip TV products. Its 186,000 employees in more than 60 countries are active in the areas of lighting, consumer electronics, domestic appliances, components, semiconductors, and medical systems. Philips is quoted on the NYSE (symbol: PHG), London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and other stock exchanges. News from Philips is located at www.news.philips.com.
About U.S. Soccer
As the governing body of soccer in all its forms in the United States, U.S. Soccer Federation has helped chart the course for the sport in the USA for 89 years. In that time, the Federation’s mission statement has been very simple and very clear: to make soccer, in all its forms, a preeminent sport in the United States and to continue the development of soccer at all recreational and competitive levels. To that end, the sport’s growth in the past 20 years has been nothing short of remarkable, with U.S. Soccer managing 11 different National Teams, from Under-16s Boys’ and Girls’ teams up through the Men’s and Women’s World Cup sides. In the 1990s, U.S. Soccer served as the host federation for World Cup USA 1994, the highest-attended event in FIFA history, and as the host federation for the most successful women’s sporting event in history – Women’s World Cup 1999. The U.S. Men's Team has qualified for four consecutive World Cups, while the U.S. Women have twice won the Women's World Cup (in 1991 and 1999, as well as the 1996 Olympics). Founded in 1913, U.S. Soccer now has the largest membership among U.S. Olympic Committee national governing bodies.