U.S. Women's National Soccer Team
Notes from Charleston, S.C.
HEINRICHS SELECTS 18 PLAYERS TO FACE ICELAND TOMORROW: U.S. Women's National Team head coach April Heinrichs has named the 18 players that will face Iceland tomorrow at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C. Heinrichs trained 24 players for five days before naming her roster for the USA's second domestic match of 2003 and last domestic match before the start of the WUSA season. Official WUSA pre-season training camps open on March 1.
GOALKEEPERS: LaKeysia Beene (San Jose CyberRays), Siri Mullinix (Washington Freedom).
DEFENDERS: Jenny Benson (Philadelphia Charge), Thori Bryan (San Jose CyberRays), Brandi Chastain (San Jose CyberRays), Christie Pearce (New York Power), Kate Sobrero (Boston Breakers).
MIDFIELDERS: Julie Foudy (San Diego Spirit), Devvyn Hawkins (Boston Breakers), Angela Hucles (Boston Breakers), Jena Kluegel (Boston Breakers), Kristine Lilly (Boston Breakers), Tiffany Roberts (Carolina Courage), Lindsay Tarpley (UNC), Aly Wagner (San Diego Spirit).
FORWARDS: Mia Hamm (Washington Freedom), Heather O'Reilly (PDA Torpedoes), Cindy Parlow (Atlanta Beat).
KICKOFF MOVED TO 6:15 P.M. ET: Due to ESPN2's regional basketball coverage, the kickoff of the USA's match vs. Iceland will be at 6:15 p.m. ET. Fans can also follow the action on www.ussoccer.com's MatchTracker presented by Philips Electronics.
SHE'S BACK: The world's all-time leading scorer, Mia Hamm, took the month of January off from the national team to undergo an intense pre-season training regiment in preparation for the long WUSA season and the USA's run to the 2003 Women's World Cup. Hamm endured a long period of injury and rehabilitation at the beginning of 2002, but is fit and sharp heading into this Women's World Cup year. The 2002 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year, Hamm will be looking to add to her 136 career international goals. Kristine Lilly, the world's all-time cap leader, and Julie Foudy, the third most capped player in the history of soccer, also return after not playing at the Four Nations Tournament, returning a total of 692 caps to the U.S. roster.
MR. KOALA ARRIVES: After several days of trepidation, defender Jenny Benson's 24-year-old stuffed toy Koala Bear arrived in Charleston, S.C. on Friday night at 7:18 p.m., courtesy of a bellman who delivered the bear to Benson's room as four teammates cheered. "Mr. Koala," who has been on every single soccer trip with Benson since she started playing at the age of eight, was inadvertently left at the San Francisco Airport after she returned from China in late January. Kind airport workers shipped the battered bear to her home in Huntington Beach, Calif., and then her mother sent it to Charleston, but it got here several days after its anticipated arrival date, leading to several worry-filled days for Benson. Said the defender of "Mr. Koala": "He completes me."
STORY BEHIND THE DOTTIRS: A quick glance at the tongue-twisting Icelandic roster reveals that the majority of their team has last names ending in Dottir. By law, Icelanders must follow the ancient tradition of deriving their last name from the first name of their father, called the patronymic system. For example, if a man named Eirikur names his son Leif, his last name will be Eiriksson (the son of Eirikur). His daughter Thordis would be named Thordis Eiriksdottir (the daughter of Eirikur). She keeps her own name even if she marries. For this reason, Icelanders always have to be referred to by their given names. The patronymic is never used alone. Icelanders say, for example, "the President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson", but never "President Grímsson". A small number of Icelanders have family names.
STAT OF NOTE
The last time the USA and Iceland met in women's soccer, Iceland played the Americans to a 0-0 tie. Aside from rivals China and Germany, who have played three and one 0-0 draws with the USA respectively, following are the only other countries to tie the U.S. Women 0-0: Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Iceland, Japan, Poland and Sweden. Of those games, only the matches vs. Brazil, Iceland and Japan, in addition to two against China, came on U.S. soil. Despite playing Norway more than any other team in the world (35 times), the teams have never played to a scoreless draw.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
U.S. midfielder Angela Hucles on the USA's clash with Iceland tomorrow:
"For us younger players, every time we step on the field, it's a chance to prove ourselves again. But every team seems to play their best matches against the United States and the 0-0 tie with Iceland the last time shows that, so we never take anything for granted. Last time, we couldn't get a goal, so we want to be able to put the pressure on from the start and create a lot of opportunities."