The match will be a homecoming for both defender Cat Reddick and forward Mia Hamm. Reddick, who grew up in Birmingham and attended Briarwood Christian High School, is the only player in the history of the U.S. Women’s National Team program who hails from Alabama to earn a full national team cap. Hamm was born in Selma, Ala., where her father was stationed in the Air Force, before moving on to various stops in her youth career that led to her being the youngest player ever to appear for the U.S. women at the age of 15. She has scored a world record 147 career international goals since debuting for the USA in 1987.
Brazil will represent South America at the 2004 Olympics, having been handed the berth by their Confederation in lieu of a qualification tournament, and the clash at Legion Field will represent a rematch of the 2000 Olympic semifinal in Canberra, Australia, won by the USA 1-0 on a goal from Hamm.
Brazil will bring all their young stars to Alabama, including 18-year-old attacking midfielder Marta, one of the finest young players in the world, 20-year-old defensive midfielder Daniela, a former WUSA player for the San Diego Spirit, and acrobatic goalkeeper Andreia. In addition, Brazil will feature midfielder Milene, the wife of Real Madrid’s Brazilian superstar and former FIFA World Player of the year Ronaldo. Brazil will also have its group of wily veterans including former San Jose CyberRays star Katia, one of the top forwards in the history of the WUSA, diminutive speedster Maicon, and dynamic midfielder Formiga.
One of the more interesting stories of the 2004 Brazilian Women’s National Team involves their coach, Rene Simoes, who coached Jamaica to the 1998 Men’s World Cup, becoming a national hero on the island nation, and then coached the Trinidad & Tobago Men’s National Team in 2001 and 2002. Come August in Greece, the Brazilian born Simoes should become the first person to coach both a men’s and women’s national team in a FIFA world championship tournament.
The U.S. roster, chosen from 29 players currently in Olympic Residency Camp in Los Angeles, features the usual mix of veterans and young, emerging talent. U.S. captain Julie Foudy leads the way, along with the world’s most capped player, Kristine Lilly, 68-career goal scorer Cindy Parlow, and Women’s World Cup and Olympic gold medal-winning goalkeeper Briana Scurry. Shannon Boxx, a member of the 2003 Women’s World Cup All-Star Team, was also named to the roster, along with midfielder Aly Wagner. Angela Hucles was originally named to the roster, but was replaced by Heather O'Reilly due to a leg injury.
Heinrichs also named forward Abby Wambach, the USA’s leading scorer this year with nine goals who scored a hat trick against Norway in the USA’s most recent match, a 4-1 victory in the Algarve Cup Final in late March. Twenty-year-old midfielder Lindsay Tarpley is the USA’s second-leading scorer with seven goals in 2004, her first scores for the full Women’s National Team. Lori Chalupny, Tarpley’s teammate on the 2002 U.S. Under-19 World Championship Team, was also named to the roster.
Also named to the roster was forward Christie Welsh, a former Hermann Trophy winner from Penn State, who has 12 goals in 21 caps for the full National Team, but who has not played for the USA since April of 2002.
Joining Reddick on the back line are veterans Brandi Chastain, Christie Rampone and Kate Markgraf, as well as rising star Heather Mitts, who has started eight of the USA’s 12 matches so far this year, the most of any defender behind Reddick and Markgraf. Goalkeeper Kristin Luckenbill is the only uncapped player on the roster and will take her first trip with the full National Team.
U.S. vs. BRAZIL
April 24, 2004 – Legion Field – Birmingham, Alabama
UNITED STATES WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (2): Kristin Luckenbill, Briana Scurry;
DEFENDERS (5): Brandi Chastain, Kate Markgraf, Heather Mitts, Christie Rampone, Cat Reddick;
MIDFIELDERS (6): Shannon Boxx, Lori Chalupny, Julie Foudy, Kristine Lilly, Lindsay Tarpley, Aly Wagner;
FORWARDS (5): Mia Hamm, Heather O'Reilly, Cindy Parlow, Abby Wambach, Christie Welsh.
Head Coach: April Heinrichs (Gainesville, Va.)
Assistant Coach: Tracey Leone (Tempe, Ariz.)
GK Coach: Phil Wheddon (Monroe, Conn.)
General Manager: Nils Krumins (Manhattan Beach, Calif.)
Medical Doctor: Dr. Sandy Glasson (Virginia Beach, Va.)
Medical Trainer: Debbie Prouse (Thousand Oaks, Calif.)
Medical Trainer: Alecia Good (Denver)
Massage Therapist: Scott Street (Chicago)
Massage Therapist: Naomi Gonzalez (Boston)
Equipment Coordinator: Tonya Alleyne (San Diego)
Team Security Officer: Mark Pharris (Atlanta, Ga.)
Press Officer: Aaron Heifetz (Hermosa Beach, Calif.)