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U.S. Soccer Wire - March 24, 2008


U.S. U-23 MNT QUALIFIES FOR THE 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES IN BEIJING;
BRADLEY NAMES ROSTER TO FACE POLAND ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26;
MNT TO FACE ENGLAND ON MAY 28 AT WEMBLEY STADIUM IN LONDON;
U.S. WNT TO FACE AUSTRALIA IN NORTH CAROLINA AND ALABAMA

U.S. U-23 MNT QUALIFIES FOR THE 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES: The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team clinched a berth at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing after defeating Canada, 3-0, at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., on Thursday, March 20, in the semifinals of CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying. The victory marks the 13th time the U.S. will get the chance to compete for a medal at the Olympic Games on the men’s side. The 2008 Beijing Olympics will be played from Aug. 6-23 in five venues across China, and will mark the USA’s first trip to the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament since 2000. Three days later, the U.S. U-23's fell to Honduras, 1-0, in overtime of the 2008 CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying Final. Overall, the U.S. finished the tournament with a 3-1-1 record, allowing just two goals in five games while scoring six. Freddy Adu, who was named to the Best XI by the CONCACAF Technical Committee on Saturday, led all goalscorers with four tallies in three games played. Maurice Edu, Dax McCarty and Michael Orozco were also named to the Best XI, while midfielder Sacha Kljestan earned Honorable Mention. The U.S. and Honduras join 13 other teams who have already entered the 16-team tournament, with one spot still up for grabs for a team from Africa. The draw for the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament will take place on April 20 in Beijing.

U.S. U-23 MNT CONCACAF Championship Schedule
Date           Opponent     Results          U.S. Goal Scorer(s)
March 11   Cuba             1-1 T               Adu
March 13   Panama        1-0 W             Adu
March 15   Honduras     1-0 W             Gaven
March 20   Canada         3-0 W             Adu (2), Kljestan
March 23   Honduras     0-1 L (OT)       --

BRADLEY NAMES ROSTER TO FACE POLAND ON MARCH 26: U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley has named 18 players to the roster that will face Poland on Wednesday, March 26 in Krakow. Kickoff at Wisla Stadium is set for 8:30 p.m. local time (3:30 p.m. ET), and the match will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel. Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. The match in Poland represents the first of three friendlies the U.S. will play on European soil prior to the start of qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The U.S. begins the quest to qualify for their sixth-consecutive World Cup finals when they take on the winner of the first round series between Barbados and Dominica. The Caribbean nations drew 1-1 in the first leg on Feb. 6 in Dominica, with Barbados hosting the return leg on March 26 in Bridgetown. The U.S. will host their first qualifier on June 15 at The Home Depot Center, with the second leg to be played between June 18-21 on the road.

U.S. MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Marcus Hahnemann (Reading FC), Tim Howard (Everton FC)
DEFENDERS (7): Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham FC), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Jay DeMerit (Watford FC), Cory Gibbs (Charlton Athletic), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Benny Feilhaber (Derby County), Eddie Lewis (Derby County)
FORWARDS (4): Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC), Eddie Johnson (Fulham FC), Josh Wolff (1860 Munich)

MNT TO FACE ENGLAND ON MAY 28 AT WEMBLEY, SPAIN ON JUNE 4: The U.S. Men’s National Team will travel to England for the first time since 1994 to meet the 11th ranked England National Team on May 28 in London. Kickoff at the new, 90,000-seat Wembley Stadium is set for 8 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET), and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN Classic and Univision. The ninth meeting between the nations will serve as preparation for both teams as they gear up for the start of qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Ticket information for U.S. fans wanting to travel to the England match will be announced shortly. A week after taking on England, the team will head to continental Europe to face Spain at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, June 4, at Estadio El Sardinero in Santander.

WNT TO FACE AUSTRALIA ON APRIL 27 & MAY 3: The U.S. Women’s National Team will play their first two domestic matches of 2008 against Australia, taking on the Matildas on April 27 in Cary, N.C., and on May 3 in Birmingham, Ala. The two games will be the first in the United States for new U.S. WNT head coach Pia Sundhage. The U.S. will face Australia first at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., kicking off at 7 p.m. ET before meeting the Matildas again at 5 p.m. ET (4 p.m. local) at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. The second match will be televised live from Legion Field on Fox Soccer Channel on Saturday. Fans can both matches online with ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. For the match in Birmingham, tickets starting at $18 are now on sale through ussoccer.com, by calling 205-715-6000, and at all Birmingham-area Ticketmaster ticket centers (including Publix and FYE stores). For the game in Cary, tickets starting at $18 go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, March 26, at 10 a.m. ET through ussoccer.com, by phone at 919-834-4000, and at all Raleigh-Durham area Ticketmaster ticket centers (including Macy’s and FYE stores). Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form for either game at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290. Additionally, as a special benefit to Visa® cardholders, a Visa-only pre-sale will be held for the game in Cary for one day starting Tuesday, March 25, at 10 a.m. ET at ussoccer.com. Visa, the preferred payment card of U.S. Soccer, is the only payment method accepted for this advance sale opportunity. The matches come less than two weeks after the U.S. concludes CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and will hopefully be using the matches as preparation for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. Earlier this week, Sundhage invited in a 26-player roster for the team's final training camp before they leave for Mexico.

2008 U.S. WNT Upcoming Schedule
Date     Opponent                   Location                                                                                        Kickoff
April 4   Jamaica *                  Estadio Olímpico Benito Juarez (Ciudad Juarez, Mexico)   7:30 p.m. PT
April 6   Mexico *                      Estadio Olímpico Benito Juarez (Ciudad Juarez, Mexico)  1:30 p.m. PT
April 9   Semifinal *+              Estadio Olímpico Benito Juarez (Ciudad Juarez, Mexico)   TBD
April 12 Final/Third Place *+ Estadio Olímpico Benito Juarez (Ciudad Juarez, Mexico)   TBD
April 27 Australia                     WakeMed Soccer Park (Cary, N.C.)                                         7 p.m. ET
May 3     Australia                    Legion Field (Birmingham, Ala.)                                               4 p.m. CT (FSC)
* CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying
+ If necessary

– YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

2008 CONCACAF WOMEN'S U-17 CHAMPIONSHIP TO TAKE PLACE IN TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: The 2008 CONCACAF Women's Under-17 Championship will be held July 17-21 at Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet and Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya, Trinidad. The eight-team tournament will include the U.S. U-17 Women's National Team, along with Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Jamaica and Puerto Rico, as well as host Trinidad & Tobago. The draw to determine groups for the first round of the tournament will be announced at a later date. The tournament will serve as qualifying for the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in New Zealand, which will take place from Oct. 28-Nov. 16, 2008.

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

U.S. WOMEN MOVE TO TOP SPOT IN FIFA RANKINGS: After a victorious run at the 2008 Algarve Cup in Portugal, the U.S. Women’s National Team has moved into the top spot in the latest FIFA Women’s World Rankings released on Friday, March 21. The USA moves past Germany, who finished fourth at the Algarve Cup. Sweden (3), Brazil (4) and Norway (5) round out the world’s top-five. The FIFA Women's World Ranking was first published in July of 2003 and now ranks 150 FIFA member associations on the basis of several factors including victories, home advantage, strength of the opposition and the importance of matches. The ranking is published four times each year. According to FIFA's Big Count survey in 2006, 26 million women and girls around the world currently play soccer.

2008 NATIONAL SOCCER HALL OF FAME INDUCTION CEREMONY TO TAKE PLACE IN AUGUST: Induction 2008 Weekend will take place Aug. 1-3 at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, N.Y. Events will include the Enshrinement Ceremony on Aug. 2 at 8 p.m. ET and the Induction 2008 Ceremony on Aug. 3, at 12 p.m. ET. More information is available at soccerhall.org.

APPLICATION DUE FRIDAY FOR 2008 CONCACAF WOMEN’S OLYMPIC QUALIFYING: Media members can now apply credentials for the 2008 CONCACAF Women’s Qualifying tournament from April 2-12, 2008, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Media should visit: http://www.concacaf.com/view_article.asp?lang=en&id=4120 to apply for credentials. The deadline to apply for credentials is March 28.

U.S. SOCCER SPRING COACHING SCHOOL SET: U.S. Soccer's National Coaching School Spring dates have been set for March 29-April 6. The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. will host both an “A” Audit and a “B” License course. The “B” License course is currently sold out. Space is limited for the “A” Audit course. More information is available in the Coaches Section of ussoccer.com.

*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: Haiti Under-23 Men’s National Team goalkeeper Johnny Placide was named as an honorable mention to the 2008 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Championship squad, after his superb performance in Group B of the qualifying tournament. Despite letting in five goals against Mexico in Haiti’s 5-1 loss in the final group game, Placide was named Player of the Match for his countless point-blank saves against the inspired Mexican attack. Unfortunately, Haiti wasn’t able to advance out of the group stage, finishing at the bottom of the group with three points after a 1-0 loss to Guatemala and a 2-1 win against Canada.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: The U.S. Men’s National Team takes on Poland this Wednesday, at 3:30 p.m. ET, in Krakow, Poland, as they team prepares for the beginning of 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying, which kicks off in June. Fans can follow the match live on Fox Soccer Channel or via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.

QUOTABLE: “No one likes to lose. But at the end of the day you have to look at the bigger picture. We have so many bigger things ahead of us.”
-- U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team forward Jozy Altidore on the 1-0 overtime loss to Honduras on Sunday, March 23.




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