CARSON, Calif. (Dec. 8, 2004) – The U.S. Women’s National Team’s finished its highly successful 10-game “Fan Celebration Tour” with an emotional 5-0 victory over Mexico as legendary stars Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy played their last match in a U.S. uniform while defender Joy Fawcett, who did not play as she is recovering from back surgery, also bid farewell at the end of their remarkable 18-year careers.
The match at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., was filled with memorable scenes as a raucous crowd of 15,549 watched the farewell match for the three pioneers, bringing the total attendance on the team’s victory tour following the Athens Olympics to 156,134. The evening was marked by a number of special presentations and emotional moments, including a pre-game ceremony in which the crowd roared their approval of the retiring legends as they were presented framed jerseys and a bouquet of roses.
On the field, Hamm led the way with two early assists, boosting her final U.S. Women’s National Team totals to an astonishing 158 goals and 144 assists for 460 points in 275 career caps. On the end of her historic final points were midfielder Aly Wagner and forward Abby Wambach, both of whom scored two goals on the night to pace the U.S. to victory. Shannon Boxx, a native of Redondo Beach, Calif., added a goal and assist in the game, as well.
For captain Julie Foudy, the match was the 271st of her career (45 goals, 59 assists). She said farewell after the game with a typically spirited on-field introduction of Hamm and Fawcett and an address to the crowd in which all three thanked their family, fans and teammates one final time. Fawcett, whose final match was the 2004 Olympic Gold Medal match, finished her career with 239 games (27 goals, 23 assists) despite taking time off to have three children in the 13-year span between the team’s first Women’s World Cup title in 1991 and their 2004 gold medal.
"When the three of us were just hugging, we said that we will be in touch,” said Foudy following the match. “This is more than just being teammates. This is a friendship for a lifetime, and that is what has been so special. We used to joke that we knew each other better than we knew our husbands and families - and it's true. We've spent over half our lives together. This isn't the end, this is still just the beginning of a great friendship."
In the entertaining game, the first U.S. goal came in the eighth minute on a patented Hamm assist in which she beat her defender on a dribble toward the end line, then cut the ball back for Aly Wagner to power her shot past goalkeeper Pamela Tajonar into the lower left corner from 10 yards. The goal marked the 100th of the year for the U.S. WNT, just the fourth time in 20 years the team has reach that plateau in a calendar year.
The second U.S. goal also came courtesy of a classic Hamm assist, this one on a pin-point perfect corner kick that found the head of Abby Wambach in the 17th minute for her 30th goal of the year. Just eight minutes later it was Wambach again, this time scoring her 31st goal of the season by tucking a low shot inside the right post from eight yards out after a nifty give-and-go with Boxx through the penalty area.
Wambach’s final goal tally for 2004 finished at an amazing 31 in 33 games, one of the most impressive numbers in U.S. Women’s National Team history. Hall of Famer Michelle Akers is the only other player in team history with as many as 30 goals in a calendar year, scoring 39 in 26 games in 1991.
Boxx continued the first-half onslaught for the U.S. with an unassisted strike from 20 yards out that sliced into the upper right corner just seconds before the halftime whistle.
Wagner notched a second goal in the 66th minute, rocketing a shot into the upper right corner from 12 yards out after a nice feed from Kristine Lilly. That play began with the crowd on their feet as Hamm, wearing Garciaparra on the back of her jersey throughout the second half, dribbled through the penalty area and hit a hard shot on target that was well-saved by Tajonar.
The special “Garciaparra” jersey adorned by Hamm during the second half (in honor of her husband Nomar Garciaparra) was just one of the many special moments that occurred throughout the evening. The festive atmosphere in the stadium was palpable from the start of the match, with the emotional retiring players saluting the crowd in varying ways throughout the evening.
The victory improved the final U.S. record in 2004 to 28-2-4, which includes five victories over Mexico on the year.
U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Match-up: USA vs. Mexico
Competition: International Friendly – “Fan Celebration Tour”
Venue: Home Depot Center; Carson, Calif.
Date: Dec. 8, 2004; Kickoff – 8 p.m. PT
Weather: 57 degrees, clear
1 2 F
USA 4 1 5
MEX 0 0 0
USA – Aly Wagner (Mia Hamm) 8th minute.
USA – Abby Wambach (Mia Hamm) 17.
USA – Abby Wambach (Shannon Boxx) 24.
USA – Shannon Boxx (unassisted) 44.
USA – Aly Wagner (Kristine Lilly) 66.
USA: 1-Briana Scurry (18-Kristin Luckenbill, 82); 3-Christie Rampone, 15-Kate Markgraf, 4-Cat Reddick, 6-Brandi Chastain (2-Heather Mitts, 69); 7-Shannon Boxx, 11-Julie Foudy (Capt.; 5-Lindsay Tarpley, 84), 10-Aly Wagner (8-Angela Hucles, 75), 13-Kristine Lilly (12-Cindy Parlow, 72); 9-Mia Hamm (17-Heather O’Reilly, 81), 16-Abby Wambach.
Subs not used: 14-Joy Fawcett.
Head Coach: April Heinrichs.
MEX: 1-Pamela Tajonar; 2-Elizabeth Gomez, 3-Marlene Sandoval, 4-Monica Gonzales (Capt.; 17-Nancy Gutierrez, 74), 5-Maria Castillo, 13-Jessica Romero; 6-Monica Vergara (18-Leslie Munoz, 82), 7-Dioselina Valderrama (14-Christine Nieva, 90), 8-Rebecca Juarez (16-Rebecca Mendoza, 75), 10-Evelyn Lopez (11-Carmen Padilla, 46); 9-Guadalupe Worbis (15-Lulu Gordillo, 87).
Subs Not Used: 12-Elizabeth Sanchez.
Head Coach: Leonardo Cuellar.
USA / MEX
Shots: 25 / 7
Shots on Goal: 12 / 4
Saves: 4 / 7
Corner Kicks: 8 / 1
Fouls: 3 / 10
Offside: 0 / 1
Referee: Kari Seitz (USA)
Assistant Referee: Sandra Belmont (USA)
Assistant Referee: Marlene Duffy (USA)
Fourth Official: Kelli Lussier (USA)
Players of the Game: Mia Hamm & Julie Foudy
2004 U.S. WNT “Fan Celebration Tour” Results
# Date Result Venue City Attendance
1 Sat., Sept. 25 USA 4, Iceland 3 Frontier Field Rochester, N.Y. 14,870 (sell-out)
2 Wed., Sept. 29 USA 2, Iceland 0 Heinz Field Pittsburgh, Pa. 6,386
3 Sun., Oct. 3 USA 5, New Zealand 0 PGE Park Portland, Ore. 16,554
4 Sun., Oct. 10 USA 6, New Zealand 0 Paul Brown Stadium Cincinnati, Ohio 18,806
5 Sat., Oct. 16 USA 1, Mexico 0 Arrowhead Stadium Kansas City, Mo. 20,435
6 Wed., Oct. 20 USA 5, Ireland 1 Soldier Field Chicago, Ill. 12,856
7 Sat., Oct. 23 USA 5, Ireland 0 Reliant Stadium Houston, Texas 16,991
8 Wed., Nov. 3 USA 1, Denmark 1 Giants Stadium East Rutherford, N.J. 18,885
9 Sat., Nov. 6 Denmark 3, USA 1 Lincoln Financial Field Philadelphia, Pa. 14,812
10 Wed., Dec. 8 USA 5, Mexico 0 Home Depot Center Carson, Calif. 15,549
POST-GAME QUOTE SHEET
On the atmosphere & the game:
"Look at this crowd. It's a Wednesday night, and there are so many people out here. It's awesome. It was such a great, beautiful game. This team was awesome to watch. It was beautiful soccer."
On the end:
"When the three of us were just hugging, we said that we will be in touch. This is more than just being teammates. This is a friendship for a lifetime, and that is what has been so special. We used to joke that we knew each other better than we knew our husbands and families - and it's true. We've spent over half our lives together. This isn't the end, this is still just the beginning of a great friendship."
On her emotions before the game:
"I had all my emotions intact. I was thinking 'Why am I not feeling this.' I get in the tunnel and Bri starts crying, and I lose it. I was crying during the Mexican national anthem, not even my own. I was saying 'What is wrong with you, get yourself together.' It hit me for sure. It was a special night. It's been a wonderful pleasure to play with these guys and the rest of this group for 17 years. It was fitting to go out where I grew up, so it's been wonderful."
On her thoughts during her subsitution for 19-year-old Heather O'Reilly:
"She's (O'Reilly) the future. I said just to enjoy this. This atmosphere, this team, how hard these guys played today is a testament to why we've stayed on for 18 years. We just enjoy being around these people. They make us better. Tonight was very special to have family and friends, former teammates and former coaches come back. We just want to thank everyone who has watched us along the way, and who has made a difference in our lives. It's always nice to come out on top."
On the 'Garciaparra' jersey she adorned during the second half of the game:
"That happened before the game. Our general manager Nils Krumins walked up and said, 'I know you've wanted to do this for a while,' and he just had a jersey for me. It meant a lot to me because obviously the gift of Nomar in my life - not only him but his entire family and all his friends who are here tonight. He has blessed me with so much joy, I am honored to wear that name on my back."
On the legacy:
"There are some days that we would probably like to forget, but you don't stay with it this long if you don't enjoy it, and don't enjoy the people you are doing it with. These are the people that you've entrusted your development, and your friends and your family with. They've taken such great care of all of it, and I hope that I've done the same for them. It's been a tremendous honor not only to be teammates, but have them consider me a friend."
On the retirement:
"You have to leave it all on the field. Stepping off tonight I think I left the lower part of my body. It's been a really wonderful ride. I thank all of the people who have helped me and have taught me about life, and mostly my family and definitely the players on this team."