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U.S. Soccer Wire: December 29, 2008


U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM TO KICK OFF FINAL ROUND OF 2010 FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFYING IN COLUMBUS, OHIO, AGAINST MEXICO;
2008 BEST OF U.S. SOCCER AND ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS NAMED

U.S. MNT TO FACE MEXICO IN COLUMBUS, OHIO: For the third consecutive time in final round qualifying for the FIFA World Cup, U.S. Soccer has selected Columbus Crew Stadium to host the home leg between the United States and Mexico. The USA’s most anticipated match of the final round will be played Wednesday, Feb. 11, with kickoff times and broadcast information to be announced at a later date. Fans will be able to follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. The match in Columbus is the first of five qualifiers in the Final Round to be played in the United States. Ticketing details will be announced in the near future. The match on Feb. 11 will mark the 55th meeting between the U.S. and Mexico. The U.S. has dominated the series of late, collecting an 8-0-2 home record against Mexico since 2000. During that span, the U.S. has netted 17 goals, while the Mexicans have scored only three on American soil this decade. The U.S. Men’s National Team will kick off a busy 2009 schedule when they face Sweden on Saturday, Jan. 24, at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Kickoff for the USA’s only tune-up match prior to the start of final round qualifying is set for at 5:30 p.m. PT, and the match will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel and Galavision. Fans can also follow the game live via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.

Achieve Your Gold Tour Schedule / Results
Date
Opponent Venue Time
Jan. 24 Sweden The Home Depot Center; Carson, Calif. 5:30 p.m. PT
Feb. 11 Mexico* Columbus Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio TBD
March 28 El Salvador* Away (Venue TBD) TBD
April 1 Trinidad & Tobago* Home (Venue TBD) TBD
June 3 Costa Rica* Away (Venue TBD) TBD
June 6 Honduras* Home (Venue TBD) TBD
June 15 Italy# Loftus Versfeld; Tshwane/Pretoria 8:30 p.m. / 2:30 p.m. ET
June 18 Brazil# Loftus Versfeld; Tshwane/Pretoria 4 p.m. / 10 a.m. ET
June 21 Egypt# Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace; Rustenburg 8:30 p.m. / 2:30 p.m. ET
July 3-26 CONCACAF Gold Cup TBD TBD
Aug. 12 Mexico* Away (Venue TBD)
TBD
Sept. 5 El Salvador* Home (Venue TBD) TBD
Sept. 9 Trinidad & Tobago* Away (Venue TBD) TBD
Oct. 10 Honduras* Away (Venue TBD) TBD
Oct. 14 Costa Rica* Home (Venue TBD) TBD
*FIFA World Cup Qualifier
#FIFA Confederations Cup

2008 BEST OF U.S. SOCCER AND ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AWARDS ANNOUNCED: U.S. Soccer unveiled the winners of the 2008 Athlete of the Year Awards, as well as the 2008 Best of U.S. Soccer Awards. Best Of Award winners were unveiled on ussoccer.com’s Studio 90 (watch now) and Athlete of the Year Awards were announced via ussoccer.com’s all_access video (watch now). Tim Howard earned Male Athlete of the Year honors, Carli Lloyd won Female Athlete of the Year, Sacha Kljestan took home Young Male Athlete of the Year and Kristie Mewis was named Young Female Athlete of the Year.

2008 Best of U.S. Soccer Results
Best Performance: Team - U.S. WNT vs. Brazil
Best Goal: Women - Carli Lloyd vs. Brazil
Best Goal: Men - Sacha Kljestan vs. Netherlands
Best Photo - Jump for Joy
Best Assist - Lindsay Tarpley vs. Ireland (Sept. 20)
Best all_access Video - Tobin Heath Walkabout
Best Performance: Player - Tim Howard vs. Argentina
Best Goal: Academy - Andrew Bulls, BAL vs. LAFC
Best Soccer Specialty Store - Angelo's Soccer Corner (Penn.)
Best Soccer Bar - The Globe Pub (Chicago)
Best Soccer Blog - Soccer By Ives
Best Fan Photo - Jeff York

U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM FINISHES 2008 AT NO. 1 IN WORLD RANKINGS: The U.S. Women’s National Team sits atop the final FIFA Women’s World Rankings for the year, holding the No. 1 spot over second place Germany and third place Brazil. This is the first time the U.S. has finished the year at No. 1, since FIFA started ranking women's teams in 2003. The U.S. team moved into first place after winning the 2008 Algarve Cup in Portugal last March, and stayed there after its triumph at the 2008 Olympics in August. It was a historic year for the U.S. Women’s National Team programs, which made the final match in all three FIFA women’s tournaments that were held, winning the Olympics and the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, while finishing second in the first FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. The U.S. WNT wrapped up the year with the Achieve Your Gold Tour, in which they faced Ireland, Korea Republic and China PR.

Achieve Your Gold Tour Schedule / Results
Date Opponent Venue; City Result / Kickoff U.S. Goal Scorer(s)
Sept. 13 Ireland Lincoln Financial Field; Philadelphia 2-0 W Kai, O’Reilly
Sept. 17 Ireland Giants Stadium; East Rutherford, N.J. 1-0 W Kai
Sept. 20 Ireland Toyota Park; Bridgeview, Ill. 2-0 W Chalupny, Markgraf
Nov. 1 Korea Republic Univ. of Richmond Stadium; Richmond, Va. 3-1 W Hucles, O’Reilly, Tarpley
Nov. 5 Korea Republic Paul Brown Stadium; Cincinnati 0-0 T --
Nov. 8 Korea Republic Raymond James Stadium; Tampa 1-0 W O'Reilly
Dec. 13 China PR The Home Depot Center; Carson, Calif. 1-0 W Ellerston
Dec. 17 China PR Ford Field; Detroit 1-0 W O'Reilly

LAST MONTH FOR 2009 WERNER FRICKER BUILDER AWARD NOMINATIONS:
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2009 U.S. Soccer Werner Fricker Builder Award, which is presented annually to an individual or individuals who have worked tirelessly in furthering the interest of the sport of soccer, without regard to personal recognition or advancement. The award, which was created in 2002 and is the greatest recognition bestowed by U.S. Soccer on its membership, is designed to honor those who have created or fostered programs that will outlast their own active involvement in the sport and that establish a lasting legacy in the history and structure of soccer in the United States. Interested persons can nominate individuals for the annual Werner Fricker Builder Award by downloading the form at ussoccer.com and mailing it to: U.S. Soccer, c/o the Werner Fricker Builder Award Committee, 1801 S. Prairie Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616 or emailing it to wernerfrickeraward@ussoccer.org. Applications must be postmarked by February 1, 2009 (download application).

– U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

U.S. U-23 WNT KICKS OFF YEAR IN SAN DIEGO: The U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team, under the guidance of head coach Bill Irwin, kicks off its 2009 campaign with a training camp from Jan. 5-12 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. Irwin will bring 25 players to the OTC as he begins preparation for the 2009 Nordic Cup, the top competition for this age group, which will be held in July. The U.S. has won the last two Nordic Cups, including the 2008 tournament in Sweden when the team did not allow a goal. The U.S. has had great success at the Nordic Cup facing Europe’s top teams for this age group, winning 10 of the last 12 tournaments. The roster includes 11 members of the 2008 Nordic Cup champions, including forward Ella Masar, a draftee of the Chicago Red Stars of the WPS, who scored twice in the 3-0 championship game win over Germany last summer. Two other players in camp have already been taken by a WPS club in Danesha Adams (Chicago Red Stars) and Amanda Cinalli (St. Louis Athletica), but several more may go in the January draft. The roster includes three players from 2008 NCAA Champion North Carolina, including 2008 Olympic gold medalist Tobin Heath and midfielder Casey Nogueira, who scored both goals for the Tar Heels in the NCAA title game. Ten players on the roster have played for the USA in a FIFA youth world championship and four have caps with the full Women’s National Team in Heath (17), Yael Averbuch (2), Adams (1) and Nogueira (1). The youngest player is 18-year-old Katy Frierson, who completed her freshman season at Auburn last fall. Players born on or after Jan. 1, 1986, are eligible for this year’s U-23 WNT.

U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team Training Camp Roster
Olympic Training Center – Chula Vista, Calif.
Jan. 5-12, 2008
GOALKEEPERS (3): Kelsey Davis (Portland), Val Henderson (UCLA), Mallori Lofton (South Florida);
DEFENDERS (6): Marissa Abegg (Stanford), Nikki Krzysik (Virginia), Stephanie Logterman (Texas), Kasey Moore (Texas), Brittany Taylor (Connecticut), Jessica Tsao (Portland);
MIDFIELDERS (9): Ameera Abdullah (Florida), Yael Averbuch (North Carolina), Parrissa Eyorokon (Purdue), Katy Frierson (Auburn), Tobin Heath (North Carolina), Brittany Klein (Santa Clara), Casey Noguiera (North Carolina), Lorraine Quinn (Duke), Kat Reynolds (Santa Clara);
FORWARDS (7): Danesha Adams (Chicago Red Stars), Brittany Bock (Notre Dame), Amanda Cinalli (St. Louis Athletica), Katie Larkin (BYU), Ella Masar (Chicago Red Stars), Kia McNeill (Boston College), Kelley O’Hara (Stanford).

U-18 MNT GATHERS FOR MEGA-CAMP AT THE HOME DEPOT CENTER: U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team head coach Mike Matkovic is holding his first training camp, a 72-player mega camp at The Home Depot Center. The camp kicked off on Sunday and will last through Jan. 4. Matkovic and an expanded staff will train and evaluate the 72 players by dividing them into four groups. The split squads will train together and play intrasquad scrimmages throughout the week (see schedule). A total of 56 players represent clubs from U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy. Each player at the camp was born in 1991, making them eligible for both the U-18 MNT and both the 2009 and 2011 FIFA Under-20 World Cups. The U-18 program was created to aid in the transition for younger players between the Under-17 Men’s National Team and the Under-20 side.

Under-18 Men’s National Team Mega-Camp Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (6): Rafael Diaz (Rockaway, N.J; PDA), Michael D’Arrigo (Tucscon, Ariz.; Tuscon Rush), Alex Long (Cary, N.C.; CASL Chelsea FC Academy), Justin Luthy (Dublin, Ohio; Premier Soccer Academy), Zac MacMath (St. Petersburg, Fla.; Maryland), Brendan Roslund (Denver; Colorado Rapids)
DEFENDERS (19): Gale Agbossoumonde (Syracuse, N.Y.; IMG Soccer Academy), Chad Barson (Lewis Center, Ohio; Columbus Crew Juniors), Ian Christianson (Belvedere, Ill.; Chicago Fire), Paolo DelPiccolo (Lakewood, Colo.; Colorado Rush AS Monaco), Will Donovan (Jamaica Plains, Mass.; FC Greater Boston), Jesus Gonzales (Chino Hills, Calif.; FC Barcelona), Alex Herrerra (Arlington, Va.; D.C. United), Sacir Hot (Fairlawn, N.J.; New York Red Bulls), Alex Hussein (Haverhill, Mass.; Seacoast United), Nick Millington (Raleigh, N.C.; Wake Forest), Cesar Morales (St. Charles, Ill.; Sockers FC), Trey Perry (Ocoee, Fla.; South Florida), CJ Phelps (Boynton Beach, Fla.; Schulz Academy), Andrew Quintana (Miami, Fla.; Miami FC Kendall), Jossimar Sanchez (Patterson, N.J.; PDA), Zarek Valentin (Lancaster, Pa.; PA Classics), Korey Veeder (St. Petersburg, Fla.; Clearwater Chargers), London Woodberry (McKinney, Texas; FC Dallas Juniors)
MIDFIELDERS (32): Latif Alashe (Northville, Mich.; Vardar), Jose Altamirano (San Diego, Calif.; Del Mar Sharks), Eder Arreola (Chino Hills, Calif.; UCLA), Antonio Benitez (Azusa, Calif.; LAFC Chelsea), Miles Byass (San Bernardino, Calif.; Arsenal FC), Scott Caldwell (Braintree, Mass.; New England Revolution Academy), Alejandro Cobarubias (Cudahy, Calif.; L.A. Galaxy), Pablo Cruz (Azusa, Calif.; LAFC Chelsea), Kadeem Dacres (Rosedale, N.Y; Met Oval), Bryan Dominguez (Atlanta, Ga.; UCSB), Paul Islas (Fresno, Calif.; Cal Odyssey), Will Mayhew (Concord, N.C.; North Meck SC), Thomas McNamara (West Nyack, N.Y.; FC Westchester), Dylan Mencia (Honedale, Pa.; New York Red Bulls Academy), Chris Ortega (Chula Vista, Calif.; Arsenal FC), Patrick Otte (Thousand Oaks, Calif.; Middlesborough Academy), Steve Palumbo (Kingston, N.H.; Seacoast United), Harrison Petts (Zionsville, Ind.; Carmel United), Travis Pittman (Manassas, Va.; D.C. United), Scott Prozeller (Sudbury, Mass.; FC Greater Boston), Ryan Reichmann (Hicksville, N.Y.; Albertson SC), Giovanni Rollie (Los Angeles, Calif.; LAFC Chelsea), Michael Roman (Oxnard, Calif.; Real So Cal), Carl Rumph (South Hampton, N.Y.; Met Oval), Nicholas Ryan (San Jose, Calif.; Central Valley United), Anthony Salciccia (San Jose, Calif.; De Anza Force), Sito Sasieta (Overland, Mo.; Scott Gallagher), Wesley Sever (Belleair, Fla.; Clearwater Chargers), Alex Tuch (Tampa, Fla.; Clearwater Chargers), Justin Watson (Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Bridge FA), Cameron Wilder (Kennesaw, Ga.; Concorde Fire)
FORWARDS (15): Ade Akinsanya (Sacramento, Calif.; San Juan Lightning), Will Bates (Chester, Va.; Richmond Strikers), Ryan Bauer (O’Fallen, Mo.; Scott Gallagher), Orr Baroush (Reseda, Calif.; Chivas USA Academy), Marquis Brooks (Chula Vista, Calif.; L.A. Galaxy), Zack Foxhoven (Littleton, Colo.; Colorado Rush AS Monaco), Chris Hegngi (Silver Spring, Md.; D.C. United), Adam Jahn (El Macero, Calif.; San Juan Lightning), Zach Kupfer (North Bellmore, N.Y.; Albertson SC), Andrew Lubahn (Erie, Pa.; Premier Soccer Academy), Josue Madueno (Castroville, Calif.; Santa Cruz County Breakers), Martin Ontiveros (Austin, Texas; Lonestar), Hasani Sinclair (Coral Springs, Fla.; Schulz Academy)

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

ACCREDITATION FOR CONFEDERATIONS CUP TO START ON FEB. 2: The dates for the accreditation process for the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 have been changed and will now start on Feb. 2, 2009 (instead of Jan. 5) via the FIFA Media Channel. The new deadline for accreditation applications is Feb. 22. The FIFA Confederations Cup, also known as the “Festival of Champions”, will be the first major test on the way to 2010 and will be staged at venues in four cities: Johannesburg, Tshwane/Pretoria, Rustenburg and Mangaung/Bloemfontein. The U.S. will partake in the tournament, which will be held from June 14-28, taking on Italy, Brazil and Egypt. The other group includes Spain, New Zealand, Iraq and host South Africa. Successful applicants will be notified and provided with further information in due course. All applications are subject to confirmation. International applicants are responsible for their own visas. Media representatives who have not already registered for the FIFA Media Channel are requested to do so at http://media.fifa.com as early as possible. The FIFA Media Channel is a registration-only area on www.FIFA.com providing media professionals with tailored content. Only registered individuals may apply for accreditation to FIFA events.

COACHESNET OFFERS TRIP TO ARGENTINA: As part of the U.S. Soccer’s Coaching Department’s dedication to providing unique coaching opportunities to its members, CoachesNet is offering an educational trip from March 10-16, 2009, to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Registration also includes round-trip airfare from Miami International Airport, meals and four-star accommodations. Registration is open to all coaches and current U.S. Soccer “A” licensed coaches will earn eight (8) Continuing Education Units for their participation. CoachesNet caught up with U.S. Soccer U-17 scout and National Staff Coach Juan Carlos Michia to discuss the trip to Buenos Aires. Michia, a native of Argentina, discusses plans for the trip, how soccer is a way of life in Argentina and what a coach can expect during the week.

HAMM AND GARCIAPARRA TO HOST 2ND ANNUAL CELEBRITY SOCCER CHALLENGE: U.S. Soccer star Mia Hamm and her husband, Los Angeles Dodger Nomar Garciaparra have reached out to their friends in Hollywood and across professional sports to participate in the 2nd Annual Mia Hamm & Nomar Garciaparra Celebrity Soccer Challenge, a charity soccer match benefiting Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and the Mia Hamm Foundation, held on Saturday, January 17, 2009. Kick off is at 1 PM PST at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA. An array of celebrities and athletes will again lend their time and athletic prowess to play in the game, including skateboarding legend Tony Hawk and young gun Ryan Sheckler, U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Kerri Walsh, NFL great Marcus Allen, Zachary Levi of Chuck, Jimmy Jean Louis of Heroes, Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo, and others. The celebrities and athletes will be joined by current and former members of the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Soccer teams in this spirited and competitive match to benefit this extraordinary and worthwhile cause. At halftime, patients who were suffering from leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening diseases will be introduced in person for the very first time to their bone marrow donors. The donor and recipient meetings will recognize all those who have given hope to patients in need of a life-saving transplant by joining the National Marrow Donor Program Registry. Fans in attendance will be given the opportunity to register and become donors themselves. General admission tickets for the Celebrity Soccer Challenge are $20 and are on sale now through Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com or 213-480-3232), or directly through the Home Depot Center Box Office. Group Ticket sales in excess of 20 are discounted at $15 a ticket. For more information, visit www.miafoundation.org/soccerchallenge. All proceeds will benefit bone marrow patient and family services at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.


*** CENTER CIRCLE SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: Clint Dempsey provided Fulham fans with a present they probably enjoyed more than any gifts they received during the holiday season when he scored two goals to earn a 2-2 draw against Chelsea on Sunday. After giving Fulham the lead in the 10th minute, the Blues shot back in the second half to take a 2-1 lead behind goals from Frank Lampard, but Dempsey found the equalizer in the final minute, heading home a corner kick to secure a point and help Fulham stay in ninth place in the table.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: The winter break is over in Spain this weekend, and that begs the question: Can anyone catch Barcelona? With a 10 point lead, Barcelona is sitting pretty which means the five teams within 12 points can’t suffer any setbacks. Four of those five will face off during the weekend, with Atletico Madrid vs. Valencia on Saturday and Real Madrid vs. Villarreal on Sunday. The winners will at least keep pace, while the losers will have to be looking at a tough climb to get back in contention.

SOCCER SHOCKER: Heading into 2009, it’s not Manchester United or Chelsea leading the English Premier League, but Liverpool. Rafael Benitez's side will start 2009 three points clear of the chasing pack following Sunday's 5-1 thrashing of Newcastle United and are well placed to win their first top-flight title since 1990.

QUOTABLE: “He’s done very well, hasn’t he? …  It was great to see him on the score sheet twice. He’s someone we expect to chip in with goals for us. It was nice to see him get his two today, and long may it continue.”
-- Fulham FC Manager Roy Hodgson on Clint Dempsey in the post-match press conference after Dempsey scored two goals to give Fulham a 2-2 draw against Chelsea.

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