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U.S. Soccer Wire: U-20s Fall in Quarterfinals


FIFTH PLACE FINISH IS BEST AT U-20 CHAMPIONSHIP SINCE 1989: The U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team was just seconds away from an appearance in the semifinals of the FIFA World Youth Championship until a second-half stoppage time goal and a golden goal penalty kick sunk their championship aspirations as they fell to Argentina 2-1 on Dec. 12. In the 59th minute the U.S broke the deadlock as Freddy Adu connected with Bobby Convey on a well-executed 2-on-2 counter-attack that gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead. After an Argentina corner, the ball was played out of the area to Adu, who carried the ball 60 yards until when he passed the ball ahead to Convey’s left. The U.S. captain then blasted a left-footed shot from 18-yards out that went through the goalkeeper and into the back of the net. Four minutes of stoppage time were added to regultion, and Argentina needed every second of that time to even the score. >From the top left side of the attack, Franco Cangele played the ball with the outside of his left foot to Javier Mascherano, who found space between U.S. defenders Zak Whitbread and Ryan Cochrane at the far post and headed the ball home just seconds before the whistle blew. Nearly 10 minutes into the extra period, Cangele dribbled in the left side of the box and seemed to be closed off of the play by Drew Moor. Moor swung at a ball to try to clear it off the feet of Franco Cangele, but missed the ball and chopped down his opponent, and the Spanish referee awarded a penalty. Forward and team captain Fernando Cavenaghi drove the ball inside the left post past a diving Steve Cronin to send the U.S home with a fifth place finish, their best since 1989. Johnson, who tallied four goals during the tournament, tied Taylor Twellman as the top scorer for the U.S. at any FIFA World Youth Championship.
U.S. U-20 MNT Results – FIFA World Youth Championship
Date           Opponent        Result    U.S. Goal Scorers
Nov. 29      Paraguay        3-1 W    E. Johnson, Magee, Convey
Dec. 2        Germany         1-3 L     Whitbread
Dec. 5        South Korea   2-0 W    E. Johnson (2)
Dec. 8        Ivory Coast     2-0 W    Mapp, E. Johnson
Dec. 12      Argentina        1-2 L      Convey

U.S. MEN TO PLAY FIRST MATCH AT HOME DEPOT CENTER TO KICK OFF BUSY 2004: The United States Men’s National Team will play its first match at The Home Depot Center when they face 13th ranked Denmark on Jan. 18 in Carson, Calif.  Kickoff for the match is set for 12:30 p.m. PT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN.  Fans can also follow the match live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The U.S. and Denmark have met three times in their history, with the United States still in search of their first victory after posting a 0-1-2 record.  The teams last faced off nearly seven years ago, Denmark winning 4-1 in the final match of U.S. Cup ’97 in Pasadena, Calif. Despite its size, Denmark has a history of being one of the stronger and most consistent sides in Europe.  Having qualified for their third consecutive World Cup finals, the Danes impressed by reaching the Round of 16 in the 2002 World Cup, emerging from group play with victories against defending champions France and Uruguay. Tickets for the Jan. 18 match will go on sale Wednesday, Dec. 10 at 10 a.m. PT at all Los Angeles area Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone [L.A. 213-480-3232; Orange County 714-740-2000; San Diego 619-220-8497], or online at ussoccer.com. Tickets are priced at $50 for Midfield, $35 for Sideline, $27 for Corners, and $20 for Endlines. Information on group discounts is available by calling 312-528-1290.

MNT, U-23 MNT CAMPS ROLL ON IN CARSON: Training camp for the U.S. MNT heads into Day Four as the team gets adjusted to the new digs at the National Training Center in Carson, Calif.   Eighteen players are participating in the week-long camp, with John Wolyniec (MetroStars) and Arturo Torres (Los Angeles Galaxy) serving as last-minute replacements for Clint Mathis and Pete Vagenas.  After a light session Friday and a double Saturday, the MNT played the first of three scheduled scrimmages against Glenn Myernick's Under-23 side yesterday afternoon.  Former U-23 standout Chris Albright converted a penalty kick in the waning moments to give the MNT a 1-0 victory over the Athens 2004 hopefuls.  Chicago Fire defender Evan Whittfield rolled an ankle in training Saturday, and will be evaluated later today. The full team and the U-23s will meet in two more scrimmages this week, scheduled for Tuesday afternoon (Dec. 16) and Thursday morning (Dec. 18).

U.S. MEN COULD FACE EL SALVADOR, JAMAICA, PANAMA IN SEMI-FINAL ROUND: At the FIFA Preliminary Draw for the 2006 World Cup in Frankfurt, Germany, on Dec. 5, the U.S. Men's National Team learned that it will open its quest to qualify for a fifth consecutive World Cup on June 12 or 13 in Group 1 with a home match versus the winner of an opening-round series between the island nations of Guyana and Grenada. The U.S. will play the away leg of their preliminary round series the following weekend, June 19 or 20. The U.S. Men have never played Guyana or Grenada the full team's 87-year history.  The U.S. also learned their three potential opponents in one of the three Semifinal Round groups, where they could face El Salvador, Jamaica, and Panama should each country advance out of their early-round mini-groups. El Salvador awaits the winner of Bermuda-Montserrat in Group 2, Jamaica faces the winner of Haiti and Turks & Caicos Islands in Group 3, while Panama meets the winner of the British Virgin Islands and St. Lucia in Group 4. As qualifiers for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the USA, Mexico and Costa Rica cannot face one another until the third and final stage of qualifying.

-- 2004 OLYMPICS UPDATE --

MEXICO CLAIMS FINAL SPOT IN CONCACAF WOMEN'S OLYMPIC QUALIFYING IN 2004: Mexico earned the last berth into the Final Round of 2004 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualification, after defeating the host Honduras 6-0 in the preliminary triangular Series D at the Estadio Tibercio Carias Andino in Tegucigalpa yesterday. After eliminating Nicaragua (0-2-0, 0 points) on Dec. 12 by an 8-0 score, Mexico (2-0-0, 6 points) topped Honduras (1-1-0, 3 points) behind two goals from Maribel Dominguez and one goal each from Kristy Contreras, Patricia Perez, Luz Del Rosario and Teresa Guadalupe Worbis. The Final Round of CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualification is set for February 25-March 7, 2004 in San José, Costa Rica, and will feature two groups of four teams with Canada, Jamaica, Guatemala and the host in Group A, while Group B is composed of Haiti, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago and the USA. The top two teams in each group advance to the semifinals. The two semifinal winners will earn the CONCACAF’s automatic berths to Athens.
Final Round – CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying (Women)
Group A: Canada, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Jamaica
Group B: Haiti, Trinidad & Tobago, USA, Mexico

U.S. U-23 MNT TO FACE PANAMA, CANADA & HONDURAS IN MEXICO IN FEBRUARY: The U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team learned its schedule for the final round of CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying, which will take place from February 2-12, 2004, in Guadalajara, Mexico. The USA will play all three Group A matches at Estadio Tres de Marzo, facing Panama first on Tuesday, Feb. 3, followed by matches against Canada on Thursday, Feb. 5 and Honduras on Sunday, Feb. 7. Kickoff times have yet to be determined for any of the final round matches, but all U.S. games can be followed by fans live via ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The tournament opens on Monday, Feb. 2 with Group B action featuring Costa Rica, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and the host nation at Estadio Jalisco. The top two teams from each group will meet in the single-elimination semifinals on Tuesday, Feb. 10 at Estadio Jalisco, with the winner of Group A meeting the second-place team from Group B, and the winner of Group B meeting the second-place team from Group A. The two semi-final winners will earn automatic berths to Athens 2004 and meet in the final on Thursday, Feb. 12.
GROUP A (All matches at Estadio Tres de Marzo)
Date            Match-up                             Kickoff (local)
Feb. 3         Canada vs. Honduras            TBD
                   Panama vs. USA                   TBD
Feb. 5         Honduras vs. Panama            TBD
                   Canada vs. USA                   TBD
Feb. 7         Canada vs. Panama               TBD
                   Honduras vs. USA                TBD
GROUP B (All matches at Estadio Jalisco)
Date            Match-up                              Kickoff (local)
Feb. 2         Costa Rica vs. Jamaica          TBD
                   T&T vs. Mexico                    TBD
Feb. 4         Costa Rica vs. T&T               TBD
                   Jamaica vs. Mexico                TBD
Feb. 6         T&T vs. Jamaica                    TBD
                   Costa Rica vs. Mexico           TBD
SINGLE ELIMINATION (All matches at Estadio Jalisco)
Semifinals

Date            Match-up                              Kickoff (local)       
Feb. 10       Semi #1 (A1 vs. B2)              TBD
                   Semi #2 (A2 vs. B1)              TBD
Final / Third Place
Date            Match-up                              Kickoff (local)
Feb. 12       Semi Losers                           TBD
                   Semi Winners                         TBD

 -- AROUND THE SOCCER NATION --

HAMM FINISHES SECOND FOR FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD: U.S. Women’s National Team forward Mia Hamm finished second behind German forward Birgit Prinz for the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year for 2003 award, it was announced today at the FIFA World Player Gala in Basel, Switzerland. Prinz, who led her country to the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup title, finished with 268 total points, outdistanced Hamm, who garnered 133 total points, and young Swedish dynamo Hanna Ljungberg, who lead her country to the World Cup Final and finished in third with 88 points. Hamm had an impact year for both club and country, leading the Washington Freedom to the WUSA championship while leading the league in scoring with a devastatingly balanced 11 goals and 11 assists and leading the U.S. WNT in scoring with two goals and four assists on the way to third place at USA 2003. Each of the 100 ballots allowed women’s national team coaches a chance to name their top three players, with a first-place nomination worth five points, and positions two and three rewarded with three points and one point respectively.

WINNERS OF 2003 “BEST OF U.S. SOCCER” AWARDS TO BE ANNOUNCED THIS WEEK: With online voting ending on Dec. 10, U.S. Soccer will announce the winners of its 11 year-end awards that honor the standout performances of the calendar year in American soccer and make up the second annual “Best of U.S. Soccer” Series. Fans were able to vote once daily for the month of November and part of Dec. to make their voice heard with a selection in one or all of the unique categories.
Best of U.S. Soccer 2003 Awards
Best U.S. Soccer Story
Best Soccer Bar
Best Soccer Store
Best U.S. Crowd
Best Soccer Stadium
Best Soccer Fans
Best Soccer Promotion
Best Game Performance – Player
Best Game Performance – Team
Best U.S. Goal – Youth National Team
Best U.S. Goal – Full National Team
 
FINALISTS NAMED, ONLINE VOTING BEGINS FOR 2003 CHEVROLET ATHLETES OF THE YEAR: Voting for U.S. Soccer’s four prestigious Chevrolet Athlete of the Year awards – Male, Female, Young Male and Young Female – began on Dec. 3 at ussoccer.com, where soccer fans around the world have the opportunity to vote once a day through Dec. 31.  U.S. Soccer’s Chevrolet Male and Female Athletes of the Year awards are the oldest and most prestigious awards of their kind, dating back to 1984 for the Men and 1985 for the Women. Voting for each of the award finalists is primarily based on competing and excelling at the highest level (both at the National Team and professional level) during the calendar year. Online votes for the annual awards will be tallied and will be equivalent to 50 percent of the total votes, as will 100 votes to be compiled from members of the national media and U.S. Soccer representatives. The winners of the Male and Female Athlete of the Year awards win their choice of an all new Chevy Malibu or Chevy TrailBlazer, while the Young Male and Young Female winners are honored with $1,000 donated to the U.S. Soccer Foundation in their name. The top seven candidates for the four awards are listed below in alphabetical order:
MALE
DaMarcus Beasley – M – MNT / Chicago Fire (MLS)
Carlos Bocanegra – D – MNT / Chicago Fire (MLS)
Bobby Convey – M – MNT / D.C. United (MLS)
Landon Donovan – F – MNT / S.J. Earthquakes (MLS)
Tim Howard – GK – MNT / Manchester United (England)
Kasey Keller – GK – MNT / Tottenham (England)
Brian McBride – F – MNT / Columbus Crew (MLS)
FEMALE
Shannon Boxx – M – WNT / New York Power (WUSA)
Joy Fawcett – D – WNT / San Diego Spirit (WUSA)
Mia Hamm – F – WNT / Washington Freedom (WUSA)
Kristine Lilly – M – WNT / Boston Breakers (WUSA)
Cindy Parlow – F – WNT / Atlanta Beat (WUSA)
Briana Scurry – GK – WNT / Atlanta Beat (WUSA)
Abby Wambach – F – WNT / Washington Freedom (WUSA)
YOUNG MALE
Freddy Adu – F – U-17 MNT / TBD (MLS)
Edson Buddle – F – U-23 MNT / Columbus Crew (MLS)
Ricardo Clark – M – U-23, U-20 MNT / MetroStars (MLS)
Ed Johnson – F – U-20 MNT / Dallas Burn (MLS)
Mike Magee – F – U-20 MNT / MetroStars (MLS)
Jonathan Spector – D – U-17 MNT / Man-U Reserves (England)
David Testo – F – U-23 MNT / Richmond Kickers (A-League)
YOUNG FEMALE
Lori Chalupny – M – U-21 WNT / North Carolina
Ashlyn Harris – GK – U-21, U-19 WNT
Amy LePeilbet – D – U-21 WNT / Arizona State
Joanna Lohman – M – U-21 WNT / Penn State
Leslie Osborne – M – U-21 WNT / Santa Clara
Nandi Pryce – D – U-21 WNT / UCLA
Cat Reddick – D – WNT, U-21 WNT / North Carolina
 
NOW-RETIRED YEAGLEY, INDIANA TAKE SIXTH NCAA MEN’S COLLEGE CUP TITLE: Retiring soccer coaching legend Jerry Yeagley capped his last season at the Hoosiers’ helm with a storybook finish, as Indiana University defeated St. John’s University 2-1 in the final of the NCAA Men’s College Cup yesterday at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. After appearing for the U.S. U-20s in a heart-breaking sudden death loss to Argentina on Dec. 12, midfielder Ned Grabavoy gave IU an early lead on a free kick in the 16th minute before freshman teammate Jacob Peterson made it 2-0 just four minutes later. It was Yeagley and the school’s six national championship, and the 63-year-old retired as the winningest coach in Division I history with a career record of 544-101-45. In the semifinals, St. John's edged Maryland 1-0 on Sebastian Alvarado-Ralph's 35th minute penalty kick, while Indiana slipped by Santa Clara 1-0 on an overtime goal by Pat Yates.
Results – NCAA Men’s College Cup
Semi-finals
Dec. 12    Indiana 1, Santa Clara 0 (OT)
Dec. 12    St. John’s 1, Maryland 0
Final
Dec. 14    Indiana 2, St. John’s 1

WINGERT AMONG THREE FINALISTS FOR MEN’S M.A.C. HERMANN TROPHY AWARD: Last year's NSCAA Scholar Athlete of the Year and a pair of players who faced each other in the semifinals of the NCAA Men's College Cup comprise the three finalists for the men's Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy, the highest individual honor in intercollegiate soccer. Coastal Carolina's Joseph Ngwenya (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe) is joined by the University of Maryland's Sumed Ibrahim (Tamale, Ghana) and St. John's and Under-23 Men’s National Team defender Chris Wingert (Babylon, N.Y.) as the three finalists for the award. The winner of the award will be revealed on Friday, January 9. A banquet at the Club that evening will feature the formal presentation of the prestigious crystal soccer ball trophy to the winner.

USL’S PREMIER DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE TO EXPAND TO 55 TEAMS FOR 2004: United Soccer Leagues announced last week the official alignment for the 2004 Premier Development League season, which will include four new expansion clubs – Ajax Orlando Prospects, Cleveland Internationals, and clubs in Colorado Springs, Colo., and Las Cruces, New Mexico – among the 55 teams that are set to compete. The conferences and divisions remain unchanged from 2003, with the Central Conference (Great Lakes and Heartland Divisions), Eastern Conference (Mid Atlantic and Northeast Divisions), Southern Conference (Mid South and Southeast Divisions) and Western Conference (Northwest and Southwest Divisions).

USL’S W-LEAGUE EXPANDS TO 37 CLUBS FOR 2004: United Soccer Leagues announced last week the official alignment for the 10th season of the W-League in 2004. The league expands to 37 for the 2004 season with the addition of a dozen expansion franchises.  The W-League will maintain its three-conference alignment from 2003, but has split the newly-named Northern (formerly Eastern) Conference into three divisions (New England, North Central, Northeast) for the upcoming season. The Central Conference will still be comprised of the Atlantic and Midwest Divisions and the Western Conference will remain as one group.
 
*** U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT ***

SOCCER SHOCKER: Four minutes of extra time? Despite no injuries in the second half, most fans were left wondering why the U.S. Under-20 MNT were forced to hold off the defending U-20 champions for nearly five minutes before Argentina finally equalized in the final seconds to force overtime in a stunning turn of events.

QUOTABLE: "These guys showed the rest of the world just how good U.S. Soccer can be. They never backed down to any team and played with guts and determination. I couldn’t be more proud of the product we put out on the field. These players have impressed me over these two years we’ve been together. They were always able to rise to the challenge, just like they did tonight."
--U-20 MNT head coach Thomas Rongen, on his exceptional class of 2003

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