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Archive - June 2004

Center Circle
June 2004
Volume IV, Issue 6

Table of Contents

1.  Armchair Midfielder:
The '94 World Cup: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly
2.  In 3’s:
YNT forward Kerri Hanks
3.  Gear Galore:
Nike USA T90 Chrome Ball
4.  Queries & Anecdotes:
WNT Midfielder Shannon Boxx
5.  Mark That Calendar:
MNT vs. Grenada (6/20)
6.  Where Were You...?
MNT Midfielder Earnie Stewart & Friends
7.  Fan Point/Counterpoint:
U.S. MNT Starting 11 on June 13
8.  You Don’t Know Jack (Marshall):
1994 World Cup Trivia

1) ARMCHAIR MIDFIELDER [The ’94 World Cup: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly]
A monthly column about the State of U.S. Soccer that takes a hard look at everything from the performance of the U.S. National Teams to pro soccer in the good ‘ole U-S-of-A . If you’re looking for a viewpoint that you won’t see in a generic, nuts-and-bolts U.S. Soccer press release, you’ve come to the right place.

As part of our semi-commemorative issue recognizing the 10th Anniversary of the 1994 FIFA World Cup, the Armchair Midfielder looks back at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from what is still considered the most successful World Cup competition of all time. This issue also marks the two-year anniversary of our 2-nil spanking of Mexico at the World Cup, but we have years and years to talk about that game. Back to ’94…

Packed Houses / Perfect Venues:
When more than 3.5 million people came through the turnstiles to pack stadiums throughout the tournament, the entire world was forced to wake up to the fact that America is a great soccer nation after all, with plenty of futbol-crazed fans, from second-generation immigrants of all nationalities in our big cities to the legions of youth soccer kids from our suburbs. With the ’94 edition being the most highly attended World Cup ever, even FIFA had to be surprised by the Organizing Committee’s ability to average just under 69,000 fans per match and achieve sell-out crowds of more than 93,000 for two of the USA’s opening round matches. [Read More]

2) IN 3’s (w/ WNT forward Kerri Hanks)
What’s it going to be? Door number one, door number two, or door number THREE?!? Okay, so this section has less to do with “Let’s Make A Deal” and more to do with the Multiple Choice section of an SAT test. “In 3’s” peeks inside the head of a select National Team player as they pick one of three choices for 25 questions about personal tastes and pop culture.

U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team forward Kerri Hanks is fast developing into a star for the USA.  Coming off her nine-goal performance at the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament in Canada, Hanks figures to be a key player in the USA's run for the world title in Thailand next November.  The Notre Dame-bound Hanks took a few moments to answer a few questions about the great state of Texas, her penchant for hip-hop and how ketchup just goes great with everything.

Favorite town/city in Texas: Allen, Dallas or Houston?
"Although Allen is my hometown, I can't say it's too exciting there, so I have to pick Dallas.  Houston is so humid and Allen is, to tell you the truth, pretty boring. So that only leaves Dallas.  There's more of a social scene and more energy there."

Best Texas rallying cry: "Remember the Alamo," "Don't Mess with Texas" or "Hook ‘Em Horns"?
"Everyone knows ‘Hook 'Em Horns.’  Texas lives and dies for football.  It is hardcore there.  Maybe that's one of the reasons I chose Notre Dame.  I guess you can take the girl out of Texas, but not the football out of the girl." [Read More]

3) GEAR GALORE (Nike USA T90 Chrome Ball)
In a new piece for 2004, we engage in some shameless self-promotion by spotlighting a different U.S. Soccer product each month, from the newest, state-of-the-art Nike apparel to all kinds of other exclusive U.S. Men’s & Women’s merch.

Okay, so you’ve basically missed the boat on Father’s Day. Let’s hope you had a chance to get him a nice terrycloth tie from T.J. Maxx. Or perhaps an $18 pair of fashionable argyle dress socks from Eddie Bauer. But enough about Dad…

Now that school’s out for the summer and you have a chance to play every day, you’re going to need a good ball that’s both super-durable and cool-lookin’.

The new Nike USA T90 Chrome Ball, with its red billiard-style rings and "chrome" shine, is the hottest ball out there, if for no other reason than it has the ability to hypnotize opposing goalkeepers when you swerve toward goal. [Editor’s Note: Not really, but it does look like wicked cool with the rotating stripes once in motion.]

To buy the new U.S. Soccer Nike T90 Ball, click here.

4) “QUERIES & ANECDOTES” (w/ WNT midfielder Shannon Boxx)
Off-the-wall Questions and Answers, Queries and Anecdotes from U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Shannon Boxx.

Boxx gave new meaning to the words "burst onto the international scene" last year,  making the 2003 Women's World Cup Team without ever appearing for the USA at the senior level.  She then scored in her first three matches, made the FIFA Women's World Cup All-Star Team and recently captained the FIFA World Stars to a 3-2 victory over Germany in Paris during FIFA's Centennial Celebrations.  She took time out from her busy schedule to speak with about her whirlwind 2003 and college life back at the Golden Dome.

Center Circle: Describe your Women's World Cup experience in three words.
Shannon Boxx: "Surprise.  Emotional.  Excitement.”

CC: What was it like playing for the FIFA World Stars in Paris just prior to the Brazil-France rematch from the 2002 World Cup?
SB: "It was a great honor to play with those players in such a big event.  To be the captain of the team was a big surprise, and I have to admit it was fun to beat Germany.  Just hanging out in the hotel with your teammates was a lot of fun too, even though everyone was speaking different languages.  FIFA treated us great and I got to spend a few days in Paris with my fiance, so it was just a wonderful event overall." [Read More]

MNT vs. Grenada – June 20, 4 p.m. ET
[LIVE on ESPN2, Telemundo and’s MatchTracker]
A stern reminder about an upcoming U.S. Soccer-related event, whether you plan to check it out live and in person, on the “telly” or that wacky world wide web.
Admit it. You thought the Men’s National Team would roll over Grenada in the home leg of the two-game preliminary round qualifying series. We’d score early and often and cruise to a six or seven-goal win. Shoot, even THEIR supporters and reporters were expecting a lopsided line score like that out of the first match.
All just wishful thinking. When the match was still scoreless just minutes before halftime, the pre-game “No problem, mon!” vibe of the Columbus faithful had quickly morphed into “Houston, we have a problem” anxiety.

So we ended up pulling out a well-deserved 3-0 win, but it wasn’t easy. And it ain’t over yet. We still have to travel down near the equator for a match in front of some 15,000 frenzied fans on a bumpy field and protect what I think we all hoped would be a much bigger lead in order to take the series on aggregate goals.
Continue feeding your U.S. World Cup Qualifying fever at 4 p.m. ET live on ESPN2 and Telemundo or at’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. [Read More]

6) WHERE WERE YOU…? (w/ MNT midfielder Earnie Stewart)
This special first-time feature asks people in soccer where they were for a historic event in the annals of American Soccer History. For this issue we asked players on the current U.S. Men’s National Team:

…When Earnie Stewart Scored the Game-Winning Goal to Beat Colombia 2-1 at the 1994 World Cup?

While 14-year U.S. veteran Earnie Stewart has had numerous memorable moments throughout 99 international appearances for the United States, none reaches the height of his game-winning goal against Colombia in the USA's second group match of the 1994 World Cup.  On June 22, 1994, before 93,194 fans at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Stewart's strike helped propel the U.S. to a 2-1 victory and into the second round of the tournament, where they would fall 1-0 to eventual champion Brazil.

The USA's performance in 1994 would help re-ignite a passion and commitment to the sport in this country, helping to launch Major League Soccer in 1996 and serving as the backbone of the future success of the national team.

Now approaching the 10-year anniversary of the United States hosting the world's largest sporting event, takes a look back at Stewart's special moment through the eyes of players and coaches who witnessed it.

[Editor’s Note: Stewart could become the eighth player in U.S. Men’s National Team history to reach the 100-cap mark if he appears in the June 20 match versus Grenada.]

Earnie Stewart: "I remember running across the box about 25 yards out.  Tab Ramos gave a fantastic ball with the inside of his right foot .... [Read More]

7) “POINT/COUNTERPOINT” (Who will be the U.S. MNT Starting XI on June 13?)
In this playful piece, we pose a question or make a statement about something in soccer that will be opined about, agreed and disagreed on, by YOU, the reader. No more so-called experts giving safe, politically correct answers. Those days are over. Instead, we’ve opened the floor to everyone out there in Cyberland to throw in their two cents.

In May, we asked you this: Who will be the U.S. starting eleven for the Men’s National Team as they open CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying versus Grenada on June 13 in Columbus?

Always a subject of heated debate among fans across the country, this starting lineup selection process was no different, inciting the heaviest e-mail bag of responses that we’ve received. But surprisingly, of the hundreds of responses, less than five (Big Ups to Chris Ferris and Walter Burenin) nailed it on the head by picking the correct starters out of the final 19-player roster. Most everyone had the midfield and forwards right, but the back line picks were all over the map. Does that mean we might have some personnel problems down the road in qualifying with so many question marks in our starting defense? Nah. It means we’re loaded at those and every other position now more than ever before and you can slot any of those players in there and feel comfortable.  Below are the best of the best Bruce-For-A-Day breakdowns:

“Goal : Keller will start. I think Walker is a great keeper, but Bruce will go with experience. Defense:  Chrerundolo - Pope - Bocanegra - Vanney in the back. These were the hardest positions to fill, because Carlos can play on the left, while Sanneh could slide into the middle or right back slots.  But Pope and Bocanegra have played together in the middle a lot, so I think that's what we'll see.  I almost went with Convey out wide, but I imagine we'll see a more experienced defender there in Vanney. Midfield: Reyna and Armas as defensive/holding midfielders.  These guys are both locks when healthy.  Donovan and Beasley will line up in front of them in the box formation we've seen a lot of lately.  Again, when healthy those two are a given. Forward: McBride up top is a no-brainer.  I think Casey will pair-up with him, although I wouldn't be surprised to Kirovski instead.”
--Chris Ferris / 35 / Bellaire, Texas  

[Read More]

8) “YOU DON’T KNOW JACK (MARSHALL)” (1994 World Cup Trivia)
Think you know your soccer trivia? We’ll be the judge of that. Pop quiz: who the heck is Jack Marshall? Even the trivia buffs in the U.S. Soccer Communications Department would be hard-pressed to tell you that one Jack Marshall received his one and only cap way back in 1926. Okay, that was pretty much impossible. They get easier. We give you four questions at varying difficulty levels, from 1 (easiest) to 4 (hardest).

The set of questions below is less a test of your 1994 FIFA World Cup knowledge than it is a test of your fading memory from that summer 10 years ago.

Q1: Who led Brazil to its fourth world title with five goals and three assists?
Q2: Who won the Golden Boot as the tournament’s leading scorer?
Q3: Who became the oldest player to score in a World Cup when he provided the lone goal in a 6-1 loss to Russia?
Q4: Which five players were on the field for all 360 minutes of the USA’s tournament run?

Click for Answers

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