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U.S. Soccer Wire - February 6, 2006


U.S. MNT Prepares For Third Match of the Year Against Japan on
Friday, Feb. 10, at SBC Park in San Francisco;
Ryan Names 26 Players to Pre-Algarve Cup Roster

U.S. MNT READY TO TAKE ON JAPAN: The U.S. Men’s National Team heads to San Francisco on Wednesday, Feb. 8, where they will face Japan at 8 p.m. PT on Friday, Feb. 10, at SBC Park, live on ESPN2 and ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. Tickets start at $22 and are available online at ussoccer.com, at all San Francisco area Tickets.com outlets (including Giants Dugout Stores, Raley’s, and Sportsmart) and by phone at 800-225-2277. Groups of 20 or more can purchase tickets through SBC Park by calling 415-972-2000 (Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.). A limited number of Ultimate Fan Tickets, which include a VIP experience and a personalized U.S. MNT jersey, will be available for this match. For more information, visit ussoccer.com. It is the USA’s third match of the year as the team prepares for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. Japan qualified for the World Cup out of Asia, along with South Korea, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

RYAN CALLS 26 PLAYERS FOR PRE-ALGARVE CUP TRAINING CAMP: U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Greg Ryan has called 26 players into a training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., that will run from Feb. 6-19, 2006, serving as a prelude to the 2006 Algarve Cup. The tournament will be held from March 9-15 in Portugal. The USA will open the tournament on March 9 against China, face Denmark on March 11 and finish group play with France on March 13. The placement matches will be contested on March 15. Match times and venues will be announced shortly. This will be the 11th trip to the annual Algarve Cup for the U.S. women, who broke a streak of four Algarve tournaments without a first-place trophy in 2000 when they defeated Norway, 1-0, in the championship game. Including that first title, the USA has now won four of the last six Algarve Cups, and has won the prestigious tournament that features many of the world’s top teams for the past three years in a row. During the Algarve Cup, the U.S. will see two of the same opponents they faced during their championship run at the Four Nations Tournament, as they were placed into a group with France, Denmark and China. The USA tied France, 0-0, on Jan. 20 and defeated China for the Four Nations title on Jan. 22. The 12-team Algarve Cup also features a third group, who play among themselves and are not eligible for the title, but those teams have not yet been set. The Algarve Cup features four match days – March 9, 11, 13 and 15 – with six matches each day. All the games are played at small venues spread out across the Algarve region on the southern coast of the country.

U.S. WNT Pre-Algarve Cup Training Camp Roster
GOALKEEPERS (4): Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.), Jen Branam (Placentia, Calif.), Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.), Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.); DEFENDERS (7): Tina Frimpong (Vancouver, Wash.), Amy LePeilbet (Reno, Nev.), Stephanie Lopez (Elk Grove, Calif.), Heather Mitts (Cincinnati, Ohio), Nandi Pryce (Casselberry, Fla.), Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.), Cat Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala.); MIDFIELDERS (8): Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), Kristine Lilly (Wilton, Conn.), Marci Miller (St. Charles, Ill.), Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis.), Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Aly Wagner (San Jose, Calif.), Angie Woznuk (El Cajon, Calif.); FORWARDS (7): Lauren Cheney (Indianapolis, Ind.), Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawaii), Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), Amy Rodriguez (Lake Forest, Calif.), India Trotter (Plantation, Fla.), Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.), Christie Welsh (Massapequa Park, N.Y.)

U.S. WNT Algarve Cup Schedule – First Round
Date              Opponent
March 9         China
March 11       Denmark
March 13       France

GET DETAILED INFORMATION ON GERMANY FOR YOUR WORLD CUP TRIP: U.S. Soccer is working with the German National Tourist Office to help give American fans traveling to Germany to watch the World Cup a source and tool for making their trip this summer an unforgettable one. Germany is rolling out the red carpet for visitors with diverse soccer-related fan festivals, cultural events and special exhibitions in all 12 host cities, as well as smaller towns. Along with public viewing locations for all 64 games, there will be theater events, concerts and parties before, during and after the World Cup. Media and fans can find out about all these spectacular events and get detailed information on every host city by logging onto the German National Tourist Office website at cometogermany.com.

– U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –

U.S. MNT TO PLAY POLAND ON MARCH 1 IN GERMANY: The U.S. Men’s National Team has scheduled a game against Poland in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on March 1, 2006, in one of the most unique games in the team’s 90-year history. The game will be televised live in the United States on ESPN2 at 2 p.m. ET from a city that is home to 50,000 U.S. service personnel in the southwestern part of Germany. The match against Poland is being staged by U.S. Soccer at Fritz-Walter-Stadion, the site of the USA’s highly anticipated FIFA World Cup match against Italy on June 17. Tickets for the USA-Poland match ranging in price levels from 15 € to 125 € are available on-line via the FC Kaiserslautern website, by phone from Germany at 01 805 3188 00 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CET / .12 € charge per minute), and at FCK Fan Shops and the Fritz-Walter-Stadion Ticket Office (Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CET, Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. CET). For fans in the United States, log onto ussoccer.com for more information. The match marks the first time in the 472-game history of the U.S. Men’s National Team that the squad will play a stand alone friendly on neutral ground.

U.S. MNT 2006 Schedule
Date       Match                                Venue                                                          Kickoff / TV /  Result
Jan. 22   USA vs. Canada                 Torero Stadium (San Diego, Calif.)                   0-0 T
Jan. 29   USA vs. Norway                 Home Depot Center (Carson, Calif.)                5-0 W
Feb. 10   USA vs. Japan                   SBC Park (San Francisco, Calif.)                     8 p.m. PT /  ESPN2 (Telemundo delay)
Feb. 19   USA vs. Guatemala             Pizza Hut Park (Frisco, Texas)                        1 p.m. CT / ESPN2 & Telemundo (live)
March 1   USA vs. Poland                  Fritz-Walter-Stadion (Kaiserslautern, Germany)  2 p.m. ET / ESPN2 (Telemundo delay)
March 22 Germany vs. USA               Westfalenstadion (Dortmund, Germany)           2 p.m. ET / ESPN2 (Telemundo delay)
April 11   USA vs. TBD                      TBD (United States)                                       TBD
May        Three Homes Games           TBD                                                             TBD
June 12   USA vs. Czech Republic **   FIFA World Cup Stadium Gelsenkirchen           12 p.m. ET / TBD
June 17   Italy vs. USA **                  Fritz-Walter-Stadion (Kaiserslautern)                  3 p.m. ET / TBD
June 22   Ghana vs. USA **               Frankenstadion (Nuremberg)                            10 a.m. ET / TBD

** 2006 FIFA World Cup

U.S. MNT NAMES CARY, N.C., AS PRE-WORLD CUP TRAINING CAMP SITE: The U.S. Men’s National Team has selected SAS Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., as their base training camp prior to the 2006 FIFA World Cup.  The team will begin final preparations for Germany on May 9 in Cary, and will train for approximately two weeks at the facility.  The team’s schedule in Cary has not yet been finalized. The U.S. team used Cary as its base of operations prior to the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan, where the team reached the quarterfinals for the first time in 71 years.

U.S. MNT TO FACE GUATEMALA AT PIZZA HUT PARK: For the first time since 1994, the U.S. Men’s National Team will play a World Cup preparation match in Texas when the U.S. hosts Guatemala on February 19 at 1 p.m. CT at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas. This will be the first U.S. National Team appearance at FC Dallas’ new home, which opened five months ago on Aug. 6, 2005. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Telemundo, and will be available to fans online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. Tickets are available online at ussoccer.com, at all Dallas-Ft. Worth area Ticketmaster outlets (including Foley’s, Fiesta Stores, and Tower Records) and by phone at 214-373-8000. Groups of 15 or more can purchase tickets through FC Dallas by calling 888-FCD-GOAL. A limited number of Ultimate Fan Tickets, which include a VIP experience and a personalized U.S. MNT jersey, will be available for this match. The Feb. 19 match will be the 17th meeting all-time between the U.S. and Guatemala. The last time the U.S. played a World Cup preparation match in Texas was a 2-2 tie with Bolivia on March 26, 1994, at the Cotton Bowl. Overall, the U.S. has a 6-2-5 record in the state and a 5-1-4 mark in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area. The U.S. is unbeaten in Texas in their last 11 matches, with the last loss coming to Ecuador on June 10, 1988, in Houston.

USA TO FACE GERMANY IN DORTMUND: The U.S. Men’s National Team continues preparing for the 2006 FIFA World Cup when they meet Germany on March 22, 2006, in Dortmund, Germany, one of 12 cities hosting matches in the tournament next summer.  Kickoff at the Westfalenstadion is set for 8 p.m. in Germany (2 p.m. ET), and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN. Fans can follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. The U.S. has played Germany seven times dating back to 1993, with the Germans holding a 5-2-0 lifetime advantage.  Most recently, Germany ended the USA’s historic run through the 2002 FIFA World Cup with a 1-0 quarterfinal victory on June 21, 2002, in Ulsan, Korea.  The teams met once before on German soil, a 4-2 loss for the U.S. on March 27, 2002, in Rostock in the USA’s penultimate match prior to selecting their World Cup roster.

– YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

U.S. U-21 WNT HEADS TO THE U.K. FOR THREE MATCHES: The U.S. Under-21 Women’s National Team will play its first competitive matches of the year during a week-long trip (Feb. 10-16) to the United Kingdom. U.S. head coach Jill Ellis will bring 18 players “over the pond” to play three matches. The U.S. team will play a yet-to-be finalized top division women’s club in its first match in London before taking a quick trip up to Scotland to play the Scotland Women’s National Team on Wed., Feb. 15 in Perth. The U.S. team will then travel back down to London for a final match on Friday, Feb. 17 against England’s U-21 side. The matches will mark a homecoming of sorts for Ellis, who was born in Folkestone, England, on the southeast coast. Ellis will be taking a look at several players new to the U-21 program, including Arizona State forward Liz Bogus, University of Portland forward Natalie Budge, Clemson goalkeeper Ashley Phillips, Texas A&M forward Ashlee Pistorius, Penn State defender Denay Riley and Notre Dame forward Kerri Hanks, a member of the last two U.S. U-19 squads that played in the FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship and one of the leading scorers in U-19 history for the USA. Ellis has also called in midfielder Allie Long, a key member of the U.S. U-20 team that recently qualified for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship in Russia. There are number of U-21 veterans on the roster however, as five players were members of the team that won 2005 Nordic Cup championship in Sweden. Several players also make a return to the U-21s. Midfielder Sheree Gray, a starter on the U.S. team that played in the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Thailand, was a member of the 2003 Nordic Cup Team and goalkeeper Kati Jo Spisak was a member of the 2004 Nordic Cup Team.

U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team Roster – U.K. Tour (Feb. 10-18, 2006)
GOALKEEPERS (2): Ashley Phillips (Clemson), Kati Jo Spisak (Texas A & M); DEFENDERS (6): Rachel Buehler (Stanford), Mary Castelanelli (UCLA), Kendall Fletcher (UNC), Holly Gault (Kansas), Hayley Hunt (Stanford), Denay Riley (Penn State); MIDFIELDERS (5): Jen Buczkowski (Notre Dame), Bristyn Davis (UCLA), Sheree Gray (Penn State), Sarah Huffman (Virginia), Allie Long (Penn State); FORWARDS (5): Liz Bogus (Arizona State), Natalie Budge (Portland), Kerri Hanks (Notre Dame), Ashlee Pistorius (Texas A&M), Tiffany Weimer (Penn State)

U-17 MNT TO FACE METROSTARS IN TOM FITZGERALD MEMORIAL SOCCER FESTIVAL: The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team will take on three Major League Soccer teams this week, including a match on Sunday, Feb. 12 against the MetroStars as part of the Second Annual Tom Fitzgerald Memorial Soccer Festival. The four MLS squads – Chicago Fire, D.C. United and MetroStars – are all kicking off their pre-season with a training camp at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., the location of U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program. On Tuesday, Feb. 7, the U-17 ‘90s will face the Chicago Fire, which will be the age-group’s first match against an MLS squad. Over the weekend, the U-17s will get a look at some of the Residency’s alumni when they face D.C. United (Freddy Adu and Santino Quaranta) on Saturday, Feb. 11 and the MetroStars (Eddie Gaven and Mike Magee) a day later. The match against the MetroStars will played at Pepin/Rood Stadium on the University of Tampa.

U-17 MNT Schedule
Date          Opponent
Feb. 7        Chicago Fire
Feb. 11      D.C. United
Feb. 12      MetroStars

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

MLS TEAMS OPEN TRAINING CAMP: Training camp began this past weekend for the 12 Major League Soccer Teams, who gathered their squads by Feb. 4 to prepare for April 1, MLS Opening Day. All twelve teams will have a busy schedule of fitness training and matches over the next six weeks in warm weather locales like Florida, Southern California and South Carolina. The MetroStars, Columbus, Real Salt Lake, Kansas City, D.C. United and Chicago will all be training at the IMG Academy in Bradenton in February. Teams will also travel internationally, with the Rapids heading to Mexico and Spain, Kansas City to Germany, New England to Bermuda, and Columbus to Cyprus.  Most teams will play preseason matches against MLS opponents as well as club and national teams from around the world.

2006 MISL ALL-STAR GAME STARTERS WILL BE REVEALED FRIDAY: Fans voted online through Sunday, Feb. 5, for the six Major Indoor Soccer League players who will be in the starting lineup for the 2006 MISL All-Star Game on Saturday, February 11, at U.S. Cellular Arena in Milwaukee, Wis. The MISL’s “Starting Six” will be revealed at the Fiesta Garibaldi Commissioner’s Dinner on Friday, Feb. 10, when Cousins Subs 2006 MISL All-Star Weekend, presented by Time Warner Cable, kicks off in Milwaukee, the home of the defending Major Indoor Soccer League Champion Milwaukee Wave. The 16 players selected by a panel of team personnel and media members to represent the MISL will compete against a select National Futbol Rapido Team from Mexico, a side that will include several MISL standouts, as well as many of Mexico’s elite Futbol Rapido professionals.

2006 MISL All-Star Team
GOALKEEPERS (2): Brett Phillips (Saint Louis Steamers), Nick Vorberg (Milwaukee Wave); DEFENDERS (6): Pat Morris (Philadelphia Kixx), Matt Schmidt (Milwaukee Wave), Troy Dusosky (Milwaukee Wave), P.J. Wakefield  (Baltimore Blast), Danny Kelly (Baltimore Blast), Lazo Alavanja (Chicago Storm); MIDFIELDERS/FORWARDS (8): Greg Howes (Milwaukee Wave), Adauto Neto (Baltimore Blast), Giuliano Celenza (Baltimore Blast), Todd Dusosky (Milwaukee Wave), Shaun David (Saint Louis Steamers), Ronnie Ekelund (California Cougars), Jamar Beasley (Saint Louis Steamers), Novi Marojevic (Chicago Storm)

2006 US YOUTH SOCCER ODP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED: US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program 1988 and 1990 Regional Champions will play on March 17 and March 19, 2006, at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas.  State-level US Youth Soccer ODP Boys and Girls teams in the 1988 and 1990 age groups will play semifinal matches on Friday, March 17, beginning at 1 p.m., with championship and consolation matches to be played Sunday, March 19 beginning at 8 a.m. The teams competing have qualified by winning their respective age division at their US Youth Soccer ODP Regional Championships.  For more information log on to www.USYouthSoccer.org.

2006 US Youth Soccer ODP National Championship Qualifiers
1988 Girls Teams: California South, Eastern Pennsylvania, Illinois and North Texas State Associations
1988 Boys Teams: California South, Eastern Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Ohio North State Associations
1990 Girls Teams: California South, Florida, Maryland and Michigan State Associations
1990 Boys Teams: California North, Illinois, Maryland and Tennessee State Associations

*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: U.S. MNT midfielder Bobby Convey is doing his best to make sure Reading stays atop the English Championship tables and earns promotion into the Premier League. During the thrilling 4-3 win against Crewe on Saturday (Feb. 4), Convey set up the Royals’ fourth goal as he dribbled up the left side and sent in a cross that Leroy Lita sent past the Crewe ‘keeper. Earlier in the week, Convey scored for Reading as they cruised past Norwich City, 4-0, on Tuesday (Jan. 31).

MARQUEE MATCHUP: U.S. MNT Manager Bruce Arena will get his third look at the players currently in camp in Carson, Calif., as the U.S. men gear up to play Japan in the squad’s third match of the year. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. PT live on ESPN2 at SBC Park in San Francisco.

SOCCER SHOCKER: With an opening loss to Nigeria and a win against Senegal, Ghana faced Zimbabwe in the team's third group game of the 2006 African Cup of Nations in Egypt. Zimbabwe had fallen to Nigeria and Senegal by 2-0 scores, and it seemed that Ghana would join Nigeria in the next round before an own goal by Ghananian Gabriel Issah in the 60th minute changed the outcome of the match. A second goal for Zimbabwe by Benjani Mwaruwari made it 2-0 and Ghana couldn’t come back despite a goal in extra time by Baba Adamu. With a minus three goal differential, compared to Senegal’s minus one differential after (falling 2-1 to Nigeria), Ghana was sent home from the tournament as Senegal and Nigeria moved to the second round.

QUOTABLE: “You never want to get ahead of yourself. People are looking at promotion and saying how easy it's going to be for us, but obviously you are just going to jinx yourself if you go too far ahead. There's no point in talking about it until it actually happens."
 -- U.S. MNT and Reading FC midfielder Bobby Convey on Reading sitting in first place in the English Championship with 79 points, 21 points ahead of third place Watford, with the top two finishers earning direct promotion into the top-flight Premier League.

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