USA PREPARES TO FACE CANADA ON ESPN AT 1:00 PM ET: The U.S. Women's National Team will finish its two-game Independence Day Series vs. Canada tomorrow, July 3, at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn. in a match broadcast live on ESPN at 1 p.m. ET (Noon Local Time/10 a.m. PT). Rob Stone, a long-time side reporter for the U.S. women's broadcasts, will do his first game as the play-by-play announcer while former U.S. National Team goalkeeper Amy Griffin will do color commentary.
After traveling from Canada on Monday, a day in which the USA did not train, the Americans conducted their lone practice in Minnesota on the immaculate stadium field at the NSC on Tuesday morning. Over 300 female youth players who were attending a soccer camp watched the practice and the U.S. players sent them home happy by signing autographs for 20 minutes after training.
U.S. head coach April Heinrichs, her assistant coaches, team captain Julie Foudy and Minnesota native Jena Kluegel conducted a 45-minute clinic for the youngsters following the U.S. training. As Brandi Chastain walked through the gauntlet of screaming girls on her way to the locker room, she pulled off her cleats and threw them into the crowd, making two lucky Minnesota youths the owners of some of the world's most famous, if not muddy, cleats.
CANADA ON A ROLL: After tying the USA 2-2 last Saturday, Canada is now unbeaten in its last four games vs. the Americans, which includes two wins and two ties. Over those four games, the rejuvenated Canadians have improved their all time record vs. the USA from 1-22-1 to 3-22-3. Tomorrow's match will be the first domestic game for the United States, and first nationally televised game, in 2001 after playing eight matches abroad.
MINNESOTA COMES OUT TO SEE U.S. WOMEN: Tomorrow's match at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn. is a virtual sell-out. More than 13,000 fans will be on hand to see the 1999 Women's World Cup champions and Olympic silver medallists.
HOOPER SEES RED: Two Canadian National Team players returned to their WUSA team during the weekend as defender Sharolta Nonen and forward Charmaine Hooper both played with the Atlanta Beat in their 1-1 tie with the Philly Charge. Hooper was ejected at the end of the match for her second yellow card, but unfortunately for the USA, the one-game WUSA suspension does not carry over to international play for Canada's all-time leading scorer. Hooper scored the opening goal for Canada in Saturday's 2-2 draw while teenage sensation and University of Portland-bound forward Christine Sinclair also tallied.
CANADA'S WUSA PLAYERS UNLUCKY IN INDEPENDENCE DAY SERIES: Both Amy Walsh of the Atlanta Beat and Karina LeBlanc suffered bad ankle sprains this week, Walsh in the match on Saturday and LeBlanc in training prior to the game. Walsh would have joined the Beat for their clash vs. the Charge if not for the injury, which was originally thought to be a broken ankle, but fortunately turned out to be just a severe sprain. Neither player will play against the USA tomorrow.
FOUDY GETS 200TH CAP: U.S. Women's National Team captain Julie Foudy earned her 200th cap for the United States against Canada last Saturday. Foudy joins teammates Kristine Lilly (226) and Mia Hamm (217) as the only international soccer players, men or women, to have played 200 times for their country. Foudy debuted for the national team at the age of 17 on July 29, 1988 vs. France.
PARLOW GOES FOR 100TH CAP: Forward Cindy Parlow will become the youngest player in U.S. history to earn her 100th cap if she plays tomorrow vs. Canada. The 23-year-old Parlow debuted for the USA on Jan. 14, 1996, vs. Russia in a match played in Brazil and has since become the sixth-leading goal scorer in U.S. history with 45 career goals. Parlow was the USA's leading scorer in 2000 with 19 goals and seven assists, including four hat tricks.
REDDICK AND CRAMER LOSE MIA HAMM LOOK-ALIKE CONTEST: U.S. defender and Minnesota's own Jena Kluegel was honored at halftime of the Minnesota Thunder's A-League match on Sunday night after the USA's arrival in town, but perhaps the more interesting halftime event was a Mia Hamm Look-Alike Contest. Defender Catherine Reddick and midfielder Aleisha Cramer accompanied Kluegel to the match and both were last minute entries into the contest that included 10 young girls, all of which were about half the size of the 5-foot-11 Cramer. One of young contestants had "Mini-Mia" on the back of her USA replica #9 jersey. Cramer, a thin strawberry blond, got only a smattering of applause from the crowd, which served as judges. Reddick, closer to Hamm's height and hair color, got a few more claps, but both lost to a young lady who did bear a mild similarity to the U.S. star. All three U.S. players signed autographs for the Thunder fans for about 15 minutes.
STAT OF NOTE: The entire combined international appearances of the Canadian National Team roster for the Independence Day Series fall 127 caps short of the combined caps of Kristine Lilly, Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"People are always mistaking me for Mia Hamm. I get that all the time. It's really getting annoying."
- U.S. midfielder Aleisha Cramer on her relief at not winning the Mia Hamm Look-Alike Contest at halftime of the Minnesota Thunder game last Sunday.