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U.S. Soccer Wire: March 30, 2009


FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE HENRY A. KISSINGER JOINS USA BID COMMITTEE;
U.S. MNT HEADS TO NASHVILLE, TENN., TO FACE TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
AFTER 2-2 TIE WITH EL SALVADOR AT ESTADIO CUSCATLÁN

DR. HENRY A. KISSINGER JOINS USA BID COMMITTEE: U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati announced on Monday that former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger has accepted an invitation to join the USA Bid Committee and help drive the country’s bid for the 2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cup. The USA Bid Committee is putting together a comprehensive bid to present to FIFA by May 2010. One of the most prominent political figures in U.S. history, Dr. Kissinger has been a longtime supporter of soccer and has contributed greatly to raising the visibility of the sport in the United States. He was a crucial figure in helping bring the 1994 FIFA World Cup to the United States, serving as chairman of a 16-member advisory panel. In 1996, FIFA honored Dr. Kissinger with the Order of Merit for his service to the sport across the world. Dr. Kissinger joins five other members on the USA Bid Committee: Gulati, who will serve as the Chair of the Bid Committee, Carlos Cordeiro, non-executive Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs (Asia), U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Phil Murphy, the former National Finance Chair of the Democratic National Committee. The Executive Director of the Bid Committee is David Downs. Other members of the USA Bid Committee will be announced in the near future. The U.S. is one of nine countries that have formally declared their desire to submit a bid. The others are Australia, England, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico and Russia, with joint bids from Netherlands-Belgium and Portugal-Spain. Qatar and Korea Republic are applying solely for the 2022 tournament. FIFA’s 24-man Executive Committee will review each country’s bid and name the two hosts for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups in December 2010.

MNT PREPARES FOR TRINIDAD & TOBAGO IN NASHVILLE: Defender Frankie Hejduk scored a header from three yards out in the 88th minute as the U.S. came from two goals down to tie El Salvador 2-2 in a wild match at Estadio Cuscatlán in San Salvador. The tie gives the U.S. four points through two games of the final round of FIFA World Cup qualifying, putting them in sole possession of first place in the hexagonal table. The focus for the U.S. shifts immediately to Trinidad & Tobago, whom the U.S. will host Wednesday, April 1, at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., at 6:45 p.m. CT. Coverage by ESPN2 and Galavision begins at 6:30 p.m. CT and fans can also follow the action live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. Fans are encouraged to wear red to support the U.S., whether at the stadium, cheering on the team at a local Official U.S. Soccer Bar or watching the match from home. Ticket sales for that match have surpassed the 17,000 mark, and fans can purchase tickets at ussoccer.com. U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard will be available for selection on Wednesday after serving a one-game suspension for accumulation of yellow cards. Also, U.S. defender Jonathan Bornstein has travelled to Nashville to join Bradley’s squad ahead of Wednesday’s match, while goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann returned to England.

U.S. Men's National Team Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa: 5/3 SO), Tim Howard (Everton FC: 8/6 SO)
DEFENDERS (7): Carlos Bocanegra (Stade Rennais: 18/2), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA: 1/0), Danny Califf (FC Midtjylland: 4/0), Jay DeMerit (Watford FC: 1/0), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew: 16/2), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege: 14/1), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock: 9/0), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United: 2/0)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Freddy Adu (AS Monaco: 5/1), DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers: 23/6), Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach: 8/4), Maurice Edu (Glasgow Rangers: 4/0), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA: 8/0), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids: 12/0), José Francisco Torres (Pachuca: 3/0)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Xerez C.D.: 5/2), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo: 14/6), Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC: 14/4), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy: 27/9), Eddie Johnson (Cardiff City: 9/8)
*numbers indicate all-time World Cup Qualifying caps/goals

U.S. Men’s National Team 2009 Schedule

Date Opponent Time / Result TV / U.S. Goal Scorer(s) Venue; City
Jan. 24 Sweden 3-2 W Kljestan (3) The Home Depot Center; Carson, Calif.
Feb. 11 Mexico* 2-0 W Bradley (2) Columbus Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio 
March 28 El Salvador* 2-2 T Altidore, Hejduk Estadio Cuscatlán; San Salvador, El Salvador 
April 1 Trinidad & Tobago* 6:30 p.m. CT ESPN2/Galavision LP Field; Nashville, Tenn.
June 3 Costa Rica* TBD TBD Away (Venue TBD) 
June 6 Honduras* 7 p.m. CT ESPN Classic/Galavision Soldier Field; Chicago, Ill.
June 15 Italy # 8:30 p.m. / 2:30 p.m. ET TBD Loftus Versfeld; Tshwane/Pretoria
June 18 Brazil # 4 p.m. / 10 a.m. ET TBD Loftus Versfeld; Tshwane/Pretoria
June 21 Egypt # 8:30 p.m. / 2:30 p.m. ET TBD Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace; Rustenburg 
July 3-26 CONCACAF Gold Cup TBD TBD 13 cities across the U.S. 
Aug. 12 Mexico* TBD TBD Away (Venue TBD)
Sept. 5 El Salvador* 5:30 p.m. MT ESPN Classic/Galavision Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah
Sept. 9 Trinidad & Tobago* 7 p.m. ET ESPN Classic/Galavision Away (Venue TBD)
Oct. 10 Honduras* TBD TBD Away (Venue TBD)
Oct. 14 Costa Rica* TBD ESPN2/Galavision RFK Stadium; Washington, D.C.
* FIFA World Cup Qualifier
# FIFA Confederations Cup

U.S. WOMEN TO HOST JAPAN IN MAY: The U.S. Women’s National Team will face Japan, the 2008 Olympic semifinalists, on Wednesday, May 20, at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas, and Saturday, May 23 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. The game in Texas kicks off at 7:30 p.m. CT and fans can follow the action live via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. The match in Utah will kick off at 4 p.m. MT and will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports en Español, with fans also able to follow online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. Tickets for both matches are now on sale and more information is available in the Schedule & Tickets section of ussoccer.com.

TICKETS FOR MNT QUALIFIER AGAINST HONDURAS NOW ON SALE: More than 14,000 tickets have been sold for the U.S. Men’s National Team’s FIFA World Cup qualifier against Honduras on June 6. Kickoff at Soldier Field is set for 7 p.m. CT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN Classic and Galavision. Fans can also follow along live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. Tickets are available by visiting ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000 and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout Chicagoland, including Carson Pirie Scott, Hot Tix, FYE and Ritmo Latino stores (Note: Tickets are not sold at Soldier Field except on the day of the event). Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290. Ultimate Fan Tickets (special VIP packages which include a premium ticket, a custom made official U.S. national team jersey with name and number, VIP access to the field before and after the game, and other unique benefits), are also available exclusively through ussoccer.com.

– U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

U.S. U-23 WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM TRAVELS TO PORTLAND, WILL FACE PILOTS, BEAVERS AND HUSKIES: The U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team will come together for a training camp in Portland, Ore., from April 11-19 that will feature a match against the University of Portland Pilots on April 18 at 7 p.m. PT at Merlo Field. Tickets are on sale through all Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com or over the phone at 1-800-745-3000. Tickets will also be available in person at the Pilot Box Office Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. PT. Ticket prices range from $7-12 for adults and $5-12 for youths. Group packages of 10 or more are available at $5 per ticket (General Admission only). Admission is free for all UP students. Prior to the match with the Pilots, the U-23s will also play two matches against college teams, taking on Oregon State on March 14 in Corvallis at 7 p.m. and the University of Washington on March 16 at the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton at a time TBD. The U.S. U-23 women are coached by Bill Irwin, who is Portland’s Director of Soccer and men’s head coach. With this year’s Nordic Cup cancelled, Irwin is preparing the players for a potential European tour this summer. Irwin led the U-23s to its second consecutive Nordic Cup title in 2008 and its 10th in the last 12 years. Irwin’s strong roster for this training camp features four players from the U.S. team that won FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup last year in Chile, including stand-out goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, defenders Lauren Fowlkes and Nikki Marshall, who both played well in the center of the U.S. defense, and forward Alex Morgan, who won the Silver Ball and the Bronze Shoe in Chile. Irwin’s roster also includes six-foot goalkeeper Kristin Olsen, who helped lead USC to the NCAA title in 2007, as well as Katie Oakes, sister of former U.S. WNT Player Jill Oakes, and long-time youth national team standout Kelley O’Hara.

U.S. U-23 WNT Training Camp Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Kristin Arnold (Texas A&M; Centennial, Colo.), Alyssa Naeher (Penn State; Seymour, Conn.), Kristin Olsen (USC; Orange, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (9): Lauren Barnes (UCLA; Upland, Calif.), Lauren Fowlkes (Notre Dame; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Kimberly Germain (James Madison; McLean, Va.), Nikki Marshall (Colorado; Mead, Colo.), Lizzy Nichols (Harvard; Princeton, N.J.), Carly Peetz (Nebraska; Lincoln, Neb.), Kat Reynolds (Santa Clara; Medina, Wash.), Brittany Taylor (Connecticut; Campbell Hall, N.Y.), Brianne Young (Texas A&M; Castle Pines North, Colo.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Sinead Farrelly (Virginia; Havertown, Pa.), Ali Hawkins (North Carolina; Encinitas, Calif.), Kelly Isleib (Utah; Park City, Utah), Katie Oakes (California; West Hills, Calif.), Sophie Reiser (Columbia; Seattle, Wash.), Kylie Wright (UCLA; R. Santa Margarita, Calif.)
FORWARDS (6): Kiki Bosio (Santa Clara; Mission Viejo, Calif.), Melissa Henderson (Notre Dame; Garland, Texas), Alex Morgan (California; Diamond Bar, Calif.), Kelley O’Hara (Stanford; Fayetteville, Ga.), Christen Press (Stanford; PV Estates, Calif.), Katie Schoepfer (Penn State; Waterford, Conn.)

MATKOVICH TO HOLD 26-PLAYER CAMP FOR U-18 MNT AT THE HOME DEPOT CENTER: U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team head coach Mike Matkovich has called 26 players, all born in 1991, to a domestic training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. from April 18-26. Gale Abossoumonde and Amobi Okugo were both part of the U.S. U-20 MNT that recently qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup with a second place finish in the CONCACAF Championship in Trinidad & Tobago. Including that duo, nine players on the roster were part of the U-17 Men's National Team Residency Program, including 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup veterans Gregory Garza and Kofi Sarkodie. Garza, currently part of Sporting Lisbon's youth system, is also the only European-based player on the roster. Matkovich's group includes 17 players who are currently part of U.S. Soccer's Development Academy, representing 15 different clubs. Arsenal FC and the Columbus Crew Juniors are the only two clubs to send more than one player with Dion Acoff and Miles Byass and Chad Barson and Ben Speas, respectively.

U.S. U-18 MNT Training Camp Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Alex Long (CASL Chelsea FC Academy; Cary, N.C.), Zachary MacMath (Maryland; St. Petersburg, Fla.)
DEFENDERS (6): Gale Agbossoumonde (unattached; Syracuse, N.Y.), Chad Barson (Columbus Crew Juniors; Lewis Center, Ohio), Peabo Doue (D.C. United Academy; Germantown, Md.), Gregory Garza (Sporting CP; Grapevine, Texas), Kofi Sarkodie (Akron; Huber Heights, Ohio), Zarek Valentin (PA Classics; Lancaster, Pa.);
MIDFIELDERS (11): Jose Altamirano (Del Mar Sharks; San Diego, Calif.), Steven Birnbaum (Pateadores; Irvine, Calif.), Leon Carby (Oakwood SC; West Hartford, CT), Adam Jahn (San Juan Lightning Crew; El Macero, Calif.), Nicholas Millington (Wake Forest; Raleigh, N.C.), Amobi Okugo (San Juan Lightning Crew; Sacramento, Calif.), Dillon Powers (Andromeda; Plano, Texas), Jossimar Sanchez (PDA; Rocky River, Ohio), Anthony Salciccia (De Anza Force; San Jose, Calif.), Ben Speas (Columbus Crew Juniors; Akron, Ohio), London Woodberry (FC Dallas Juniors; McKinney, Texas)
FORWARDS (7): Dion Acoff (Arsenal FC; Upland, Calif.), Will Bates (Richmond Strikers; Chester, Va.), Josh Beard (Sockers FC; Schaumburg, Ill.), Miles Byass (Arsenal FC; San Bernardino, Calif.), Scott Caldwell (Akron; Braintree, Md.), Hasani Sinclair (Schulz Academy; Coral Springs, Fla.), Justin Watson (Bridge FA; Myrtle Beach, S.C.)

U.S. U-18 WNT WILL HOLD APRIL CAMP AT THE HDC: The U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team will hold its first training camp of the year from April 4-11 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The U-18 players were also part of a super-camp with the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team earlier in the year in San Diego. The U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team will also be at The HDC during that week in April. The two squads will scrimmage each other once during the week. The U-18s, under the guidance of head coach Dave Chesler, will also scrimmage local college sides. The 24-player roster features 16 players born in 1992 and eight players born in 1991. All the players in camp are eligible for the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Germany, where the age cutoff is Jan. 1, 1990, and all are working towards call-ups to the U.S. U-20s. Three players in camp played significant roles for the USA at the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in midfielders Elizabeth Eddy and Julia Roberts and forward Samantha Johnson.

U.S. U-18 WNT Training Camp Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Vittoria Arnold (Dallas Texans; Stafford, Va.), Anna Sieloff (Vardar; Troy, Mich.), Sarah Voigt (Ponte Vedra SC; Middleburg, Fla.)
DEFENDERS (8): Torri Allen (Mclean; Stafford, Va.), Elizabeth Eddy (So Cal Blues; Costa Mesa, Calif., Megan Oyster (Windy City Pride; Naperville, Ill.), Mollie Pathman (Triangle FC; Durham, N.C.), Rachel Quon (Eclipse Select; Lake Forrest, Ill.), Kendall Romine (So Cal Blues; Coto de Caza, Calif.), Courtney Smith (Dallas Texans; Houston, Texas), Carrie Whigham (Sereno SC; Phoenix, Ariz.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kate Bennett (Crossfire; Clyde Hill, Wash.), Alex Crown (Space Coast United; Orlando, Fla.), Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick (San Ramon; Pleasanton, Calif.), Julia Roberts (McLean; Frederick, Md.), Julia Sandridge (TCSYA Lady Twins; Winston-Salem, N.C.), Annie Steilage (Michigan Hawks; Grand Haven, Mich.), Rebecca Twining (Challenge SC; Houston, Texas)
FORWARDS (6): Hayley Brock (FC Stars of Mass; Acton, Mass.), Michelle Cruz (Slammers; Thousand Oaks, Calif.); Kylie Facinelli (So Cal Blues; Del Mar, Calif.), Samantha Johnson (Real So Cal; Palmdale, Calif.), Natalia Ledezma (Slammers; La Mirada, Calif.), Rachel Nuzzolesse (Rockville Centre; Melville, N.Y.)

U.S. U-17 MNT ROUNDS OUT BUENOS AIRES TRAINING CAMP: The U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team rounded out their schedule of international friendlies in Buenos Aires with a 1-3 loss to Uruguay on Friday. Sebastian Lleget scored the lone goal for the U.S., which finishes the foreign training camp with a win and two losses against South American teams. On March 23, the U.S. topped Bolivia 2-1 but fell to Argentina two days later. The U.S. U-17 MNT and South American counterparts are preparing for qualifying for the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Cabrera’s squad will open its regional campaign against Cuba on April 21 at 4 p.m. PT (7 p.m. ET) at Estadio Caliente in Tijuana, Mexico. The U.S. will play Canada on April 23 and round out Group A play against Honduras on April 25 with both games also slated for 4 p.m. PT. Should the U.S. advance out of their group, they will cross over to play one of the top two teams from Group B, which is made up of Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago, in the semifinals. Four teams from CONCACAF will travel to the 2009 FIFA Under-17 World Cup, which means progression to the semifinals in Tijuana will be enough to secure a berth to the tournament. The 2009 FIFA Under-17 World Cup will be held in Nigeria from Oct. 24-Nov. 16.

U.S. U-17 MNT Results

Date Opponent Result U.S. Goal Scorer(s) Venue
March 23 Bolivia 2-1 W Jerome, Duran Defensores de Belgrano; Buenos Aires
March 25 Argentina 1-5 L Renken Deportivo Italiano; Buenos Aires
March 27 Uruguay 1-3 L Lleget Defensores de Belgrano; Buenos Aires

U.S. U-17 WOMEN OPEN CAMP AT THE HDC IN EARLY APRIL: U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team head coach Kazbek Tabmi will bring 24 players to a training camp at The Home Depot Center from April 5-11, 2009, as early preparations for the 2010 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup continue. Tambi’s squad will be in camp at the same time as the U.S. U-18s and the two teams wills scimmage each other on Friday, April 10. The U.S. U-17s will also have another match earlier in the week. Tambi, who lead the USA to second place at the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in New Zealand, is currently evaluating top players in the country born in 1993-1995 in preparation for qualifying for the next U-17 FIFA Women’s World Cup which will be held in Trinidad & Tobago. Players born on or after Jan. 1, 1993 are age-eligible for the next FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.

U.S. U-17 WNT Training Camp Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Bryane Heaberlin (Clearwater Chargers; St. Petersburg, Fla.), Molly Poletto (Storm-Copa; Englewood, Colo.), Abby Smith (Dallas Texans; Dallas, Texas)
DEFENDERS (5): Olivia Brannon (Michigan Jags; Troy, Mich.), Whitney Church (Loudoun; Ashburn, Va.); Abby Dahlkemper (MVLA Avalanche; Menlo Park, Calif.); Sarah Molina (Ohio Premier; Rocky River, Ohio); Cari Roccaro (Albertson Fury; East Islip, N.Y.)
MIDFIELDERS (11): Morgan Andrews (FC Stars of Massachusetts; Milford, N.H.), Morgan Brian (Ponte Verda Storm; St. Simons Island, Ga.), Kaysie Clark (KC Select Scream; Liberty, Mo.), Alexandra Doll (Bethesda SC Dragons; Bethesda, Md.), Caprice Dydasco (HSC Bulls; Honolulu, Hawaii), Isabel Farrell (Crossfire; Bellevue, Wash.), Brooke Gilber (Emerald City; Snohomish, Wash.), Jessica Lee (Arsenal Fury; Tenafly, N.J.), Kylie McCarty (San Diego Surf; Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.), Kaili Torres (PVSA; Orange Park, Fla.), Clarissa Wedemeyer (Dallas Texans; Colleyville, Texas)
FORWARDS (5): Alesha Blair (De Anza Force; Pleasanton, Calif.), Shea Groom (KCFC Alliance Intensity; Liberty, Mo.), Cate Parchinski (Pride Predators; Colorado Springs, Co.), Sydney Payne (IMG Soccer Academy; Lutz, Fla.), Courtney Proctor (Santa Clarita United Blazers; Santa Clarita, Calif.)

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

BE OFFICIAL: While there's nothing like cheering on the U.S. Men's National Team in person, we want you to be a part of the U.S. Soccer experience even if you’re not going to be in Music City on Wednesday, so we've got the next be spot: an Official U.S. Soccer Bar. While you might not be at LP Field, you can still support the team with loads of your fellow supporters, wear red and watch the game in an atmosphere that is pretty loud and rowdy. Check the latest listings for the Official U.S. Soccer bar in your area.

U.S. BEACH SOCCER TEAM TO HOLD TRAINING CAMP: The U.S. Beach Soccer National Team will head to Huntington Beach from April 2-5 for a training camp under new head coach Eddie Soto. Soto, who was a member of several U.S. youth national teams and the U.S. Beach Soccer National Team, took the helm of the team earlier this year. Of the 18 players called into camp, 12 will be selected to participate at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2009 - CONCACAF Qualifier Puerto Vallarta from April 29-May 3 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The team will be vying for a spot at the 2009FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Dubai from Nov. 16-22. It will be the last time the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup will be held annually, switching to a two-year cycle with the next tournament being held in 2011. Along with the U.S., Mexico, Bahamas, Canada, Costa Rica and El Salvador will be competing for a place at the 2009 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, with the draw to determine the two groups scheduled for April 22 in Puerto Vallarta.

U.S. Beach Soccer Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Bayard Elfvin (Chicago, Ill.), Sergio Valle (Tracy, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (8): Benyam Astorga (Miami, Fla.), Francis Farberoff (Hollywood, Fla.), Giovanni Garcia (Miami, Fla.), Zak Ibsen (San Francisco, Calif.), Gordan Kljestan (Huntington Beach, Calif.), Jacob Long (Santa Cruz, Calif.), Austin Roman (Santa Monica, Calif.), Ronald Silva (Santa Monica, Calif.)
FORWARDS (8): Jevin Albuquerque (Santa Cruz, Calif.), Anthony Chimienti (El Dorado Hills, Calif.), Ryan Futagaki (Fountain Valley, Calif.), Jason Leopoldo (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Yuri Morales (San Francisco, Calif.), Joshua Nolz (Virginia Beach, Va.), Brendon Taguinod (Santa Cruz, Calif.), Raphael Xexeo (Lawndale, Calif.)

U.S. SOCCER CONDUCTING FAN SURVEY ONLINE AT ussoccer.com: In a continuing effort to improve ussoccer.com and service fans, U.S. Soccer is asking fans to take part in an online survey. The survey consists of questions that will help U.S. Soccer get a better sense of ussoccer.com’s users while also providing fans the opportunity to give direct feedback. The information compiled from the survey will allow U.S. Soccer to make improvements to our fan programs and deliver an enhanced experience for fans on ussoccer.com. Similar to past years, the survey can be accessed from ussoccer.com and will take approximately 20 minutes to complete. Fans over the age of 13 who complete the survey will be eligible to enter into a random drawing to win a prize pack from U.S. Soccer, containing an assortment of national team gear.

U.S. WOMEN HOLD TOP SPOT IN FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD RANKINGS: The U.S. Women’s National Team has held the top spot in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings released last week on the heels of its runner-up finish at the 2009 Algarve Cup in Portugal earlier this month. Germany, which lost two games at the Algarve, slipped outside of the top two for the first time since the end of 2003 and sits in third place. Brazil, despite not having played a match since the 2008 Olympic gold medal game, moved into the second spot. Norway, which lost three matches in Portugal, dropped three spots to ninth. Japan, which will face the USA in a pair of matches in May, moved up two spots to seventh. The next FIFA Women’s World Ranking will be published on June 26, 2009, before the European Women’s Championships.

FIFA Women’s World Rankings
March, 2009

1. USA
2. Brazil
3. Germany
4. Sweden
5. Korea DPR
6. Denmark
7. Japan
8. France
9. Norway
10. England

WIN IN CONCACAF WITH CONCACAF: FIFA and CONCACAF have announced a new development program called "Win in CONCACAF With CONCACAF," in which $10 million will be invested into several North, Central American and Caribbean soccer programs over the next two years. The funding will help develop the infrastructure in the first division leagues of Barbados, Belize, El Salvador, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago. "Win in CONCACAF with CONCACAF" will focus on league and club administration, youth development, referee development and coaching education. Participating leagues will report to FIFA regarding an action plan for the program. More information is available at concacaf.com.

*** CENTER CIRCLE SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: U.S. MNT defender Frankie Hejduk definitely took the field on Saturday ready for action. The 34-year-old workhorse injected energy and provided opportunities for the U.S., setting up the first U.S. goal for Jozy Altidore with his second career assist, and getting a goal of his own in the 88th minute. Hejduk’s goal was his second-ever in a FIFA World Cup qualifier and first in more than 12 years. His last qualifying goal came in his first career start on Dec. 21, 1996, in a 2-2 tie with Guatemala, which also was played in San Salvador. The drought of 12 years and 97 days is the longest such span in U.S. history, with Tab Ramos previously going eight years and 130 days between qualifying goals between 1989 and 1997.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: After earning a hard-fought point on the road, FIFA World Cup qualifying returns to the U.S. as the MNT hosts Trinidad & Tobago at 6:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, April 1, presented by Dodge. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Galavision, and fans can also follow along live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. Fans are encouraged to wear red in support of the U.S., whether in watching the match at the stadium, at an Official U.S. Soccer Bar or in the comfort of their living room.

SOCCER SHOCKER: Honduras finished the second round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in solid form, finishing in first place of a Group B that included Canada, Jamaica and Mexico, and even defeating Mexico 1-0 in the final match of the round. But the tide has turned in the Final Round, with the Catrachos at the bottom of the table with just one point after two games. The team dropped the first match 2-0 against Costa Rica and, against Trinidad & Tobago, led for most of the match before allowing a late goal to tie up the game at one goal apiece on Saturday in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Honduras next hosts Mexico in San Pedro Sula on Wednesday, April 1, in which they will look to get a result against a reinvigorated Mexican squad fresh off a 2-0 win against Costa Rica in Mexico City.

QUOTABLE: "There were 14,000-plus here, it didn't rain and the goals were not scored by Marta or me, which shows what this league will be. To finally get to this day — obviously the score was not what I would have hoped for, but the result is so far from my mind. We have a league again."
-- Washington Freedom and U.S. WNT forward Abby Wambach, after her team’s 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Sol in the inaugural game of the Women’s Professional Soccer league.

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