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U.S. Soccer Wire: U.S. Departs for World Cup on Thursday after Concluding Nike Road to Korea


U.S. DEPARTS FOR KOREA ON THURSDAY:  When the U.S. boards a plane to Korea on Thursday (May 23) from New York City to compete in the 2002 World Cup, it will have been 173 days since the Final World Cup Draw in Busan, Korea.  It was back on Dec. 1, 2001 that the U.S. was paired against Portugal, Poland and the host Koreans at the draw.  When the team arrives on Friday (May 24), Arena’s squad will be just 12 days away from their opening match June 5 in Suwon against Portugal (live on ESPN2 at 5 a.m. ET).  The U.S. then faces South Korea on June 10 in Daegu (live on ESPN2 at 2:30 a.m. ET) and wraps up group play on June 14 against Poland in Daejeon (live on ESPN at 7:30 a.m. ET).

CHERUNDOLO ADDED TO U.S. WORLD CUP ROSTER:  U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bruce Arena announced yesterday from CMGI Field in Foxboro, Mass., that defender Steve Cherundolo has been added to the official 2002 U.S. World Cup roster that will be submitted to FIFA on Tuesday (May 21).  The 23-year-old defender was a regular fixture for the U.S. during the team’s final round World Cup qualifying run, starting seven of the 10 U.S. qualifiers in 2001.  For his career, Cherundolo has earned 10 career caps, including eight games in 2001. Cherundolo recently completed his fourth season of professional soccer in the German Second Division with Hannover 96, playing in 30 league games (and scoring one goal) as the team earned automatic promotion to the German Bundesliga with a first-place finish. Cherundolo replaces midfielder Chris Armas on the original roster announced by Arena on April 22. Armas suffered a torn ACL in his right knee during the first half of the USA's 2-1 win against Uruguay at RFK Stadium on May 12.  Defender Greg Vanney trained with the team after Armas’ injury last week and suffered a grade two sprain of the MCL in his right knee on Thursday night (May 16) in a 5-0 victory over Jamaica at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

LANDON ON ESPN’S “THE LIFE” ON MAY 30: On Thursday, May 30, the day before the World Cup kicks off in Korea/Japan, ESPN will air “ESPN’s The Life with Landon Donovan” at 9:30 p.m. PT (12:30 a.m. ET).  A crew from the popular reality TV show (which shows professional athletes going through their daily routine at home and on the road) followed Donovan extensively, and will show his “life” with Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes and the U.S. Men’s National Team as they prepared for the World Cup across the past few weeks.

U.S. GATORADE SUPPLY ARRIVES IN KOREA – SAFE & SOUND:  Although the U.S. contingent of players and staff will not arrive in Korea until this week, the Gatorade (lots and lots of Gatorade product) has safely arrived in Seoul after a six-week journey by boat.  Because of the vast amounts of Gatorade product needed in Korea, U.S. Soccer (in conjunction with Gatorade) shipped the following quantities (totaling some 350 cases of product) in mid-March and it arrived on May 14.  Following is a look at some of the Gatorade product the USA will consume in Korea:  75 cases of Gatorade (24 bottles and 30 lbs. per case); 10 cases of Gatorade powder (60 lbs. each); 80 cases of energy bars (45 bars to a case); 60 cases of nutrition shakes (24 per case); 40 cases of Gatorade energy drink (24 per case); and 60 cases of Propel Fitness Water (24 per case).

HOLLAND HANDS U.S. FIRST LOSS AT HOME IN 2002: The U.S. Men’s National Team lost the final game of the “Nike Road to Korea” on Sunday at CMGI Field, falling 2-0 to 1998 World Cup semifinalist Netherlands.  The loss is the USA’s first at home this year and drops their record to 9-4-1 in 2002.  “It was an outstanding game to play in,” said Arena. “I think the Dutch team is a little more experienced and has some better physical qualities, but I think the number of chances we created was encouraging. I’m certainly not disappointed with our performance.” Dutch goalkeeper Ronald Waterreus’ play in nets was the story of the game, as the U.S. outshot the Netherlands 18-14.  But the Netherlands goalkeeper recorded 11 saves to post a score line that didn’t accurately reflect the flow of the match.  Holland broke the deadlock just before the stroke of halftime, with Roy Makaay pouncing on an opportunistic loose ball in the box.  Eddie Pope and Makaay got tangled up in the box, and Makaay popped up first and pounced on the loose ball and was able to role a shot past a sprawling Friedel from six yards. Just as it appeared that the U.S. was on the verge of equalizing in the second half, the Dutch got a second goal against the run of play. “Chevrolet Man of the Match” Tony Sanneh sent a cross from the right wing that skipped across to the far post, where Cobi Jones was denied twice by a sliding Waterreus at point blank range.  A minute later at the other end of the field, Andy van der Meyde took advantage of a defensive miscue and dribbled around Keller before knocking the ball into the net to secure the win.

FIRST LOSS IN "FOXBORO":  Sunday's loss at the new CMGI Field marked the U.S. Men's National Team's first-ever defeat in the Boston borrough of Foxboro, Mass.  Prior to the 2-0 defeat to the Netherlands at new stadium which officially opened earlier this month, the U.S. had put together a near perfect 7-0-3 record in 10 appearances at the old Foxboro Stadium (previously located right next door to CMGI).  The old Foxboro Stadium served as the team's most used venue in the 1998 and 2002 World Cup qualifying campaigns, as the U.S. posted four matches and one draw in five qualifiers.

NIKE ROAD TO KOREA ENDS WITH TWO WINS & A LOSS:  Prior to Sunday’s spirited 2-0 defeat to Holland, the U.S. had opened the Nike Road to Korea with impressive victories over Uruguay (2-1 on May 12 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.) and Jamaica (5-0 on May 16 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.).  In the victory over Jamaica, U.S. forward Josh Wolff recorded two goals and one assist, and Landon Donovan added one goal and one assist.  The game was a scrappy affair that saw Clint Mathis and Kasey Keller leave with minor injuries, and defender Greg Vanney leave with a knee injury that would end his World Cup hopes.  As evident of the game’s ragged play, the U.S. used seven substitutes prior to the 63rd minute mark of the match. 
 
— U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE —

U-20s ROMP TO 11-0 WIN, FINISH 11th IN GRONINGEN TOURNAMENT IN HOLLAND: Miguel Saavedra scored four goals and Mike Magee and Ned Grabavoy each added two as the U.S. Under-20s romped to an 11-0 win against Rosario today (May 20) to claim 11th place in the Groningen International Tournament in Groningen, Holland.  The U.S. posted three draws and two losses in group play to finish at the bottom of the group. The U.S. played perhaps their finest match of the tournament against eventual tournament champions Newcastle (England), but were unable to finish and accepted a 0-0 draw.  FC Twente (Holland), who lost to Newcastle in the finals after topping Ajax (Holland) in penalty kicks in the semifinal, needed a late goal to draw with the U.S. in the tournament opener. All matches consisted of thirty-minute halves. The Under-20s will play a full international against Burkina Faso on Wednesday before returning to the U.S.

U.S. UNDER-17s EARN 3-0 WIN AGAINST LAKELAND:  The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team topped an Under-20 Lakeland Lazers side 3-0 on Tuesday, with Corey Ashe recording two assists.  Freddy Adu and Mike Harrington scored in the first half, and a Lakeland own goal in the game’s dying moments finalized the 3-0 score.

—  AROUND THE SOCCER NATION —

“ETHAN ZOHN’S ZONE” HITS ussoccer.com: To bring the excitement of the World Cup to life for U.S. fans, U.S. Soccer and Philips Electronics will launch “Ethan Zohn’s Zone,” an online World Cup journal hosted by Ethan Zohn.  A former professional soccer player and coach, Ethan’s latest achievement is capturing the title of million-dollar champion of the nation’s hottest reality programs, "Survivor: Africa." With an understanding of what survival of the fittest means, Ethan will provide fans with a behind-the-scenes look inside the U.S. Men’s National Team and the athletes taking part in the 2002 World Cup.  Designed to satisfy the curiosity of every fan, the online journal will offer exclusive video footage of both on- and off-the-field moments. Through Ethan’s eyes, fans will be invited to join in-depth interviews with players and coaches. “Hosting the online journal at ussoccer.com allows me the chance to bring the flavor of the World Cup experience and the player’s personalities to life for soccer fans,” said Zohn.

ussoccer.com UNVEILS "WORLD CUP PLUS":  U.S. Soccer has launched a comprehensive new home page at ussoccer.com which will bring fans and media the most detailed information on the U.S. World Cup Team as they travel the "Nike Road to Korea" and then face the world's best at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. "World Cup Plus" is every fan's source for the USA and the rest of the World Cup.  With several updates a day ranging from notes and quotes to unique features, "World Cup Plus" will be the freshest place for media and fans to stay in tune with everything happening in Korea. Featuring exclusive on-line chats, player Q&As, and quote sheets from Korea, as well as up-to-date training camp notes and game recaps, "World Cup Plus" will have it all.  The site will also feature daily historical notes on the history of U.S. Soccer in the World Cup and how the team advanced to Korea.  With features on players and coaches, as well as on past U.S. World Cup exploits, every visit to "World Cup Plus" promises something new.

U.S. SOCCER ISSUES GUIDELINES FOR HEAT ILLNESS PREVENTION FOR KIDS:  Children are more susceptible to heat illness than adults. With this in mind and with summer heat approaching, U.S. Soccer has taken a leadership role to develop and distribute Youth Soccer Heat Stress Guidelines for youth coaches and parents.  The goal is to help prevent the potentially deadly effects of heat illness among the 14 million U.S. children who play soccer. The guidelines provide coaches with an overview of the latest research and information regarding: 1) the physiological factors and soccer-specific factors that place young athletes at risk for heat illness, 2) heat illness prevention techniques and 3) the signs and symptoms of dehydration and heat illness.  “As a U.S. Soccer coach for more than 20 years, I think it’s critical to educate coaches, parents and young players about heat illness, which is the most preventable sports injury,” said John Ellinger, head coach of the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team. To ensure the key points from the guidelines are memorable for coaches, parents and kids, the U.S. Soccer Federation has developed the acronym – G.O.A.L. –  which stands for: Get acclimated; On a schedule, drink up; Always bring a Gatorade; Learn the warning signs.

U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT

PEAK PERFORMER:  Dutch goalkeeper Ronald Waterreus made 11 saves, including several sparkling stops in the second half to shut the USA out in the team’s World Cup send-off match in the conclusion to the Nike Road to the Korea.  The 2-0 Holland victory included Waterreus’ (a standout in Holland for PSV Eindhoven, and playing ahead of notable Dutch goalkeepers Edwin van der Sar and Sander Westerveld) back-to-back stops of Cobi Jones, a stretching save to deny Eddie Pope and a parrying save of a close-range blast from Claudio Reyna.

MARQUEE MATCH-UP: The WUSA’s top two teams face off on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET, as the 4-1-0 Philadelphia Charge face the 3-0-2 Carolina Courage at Carolina’s new SAS SoccerPark.  The two undefeated teams are both led by strong defenses, with the Courage allowing just four goals in five games and the Charge allowing just five (including one on Sunday in a 1-0 loss to Julie Foudy’s San Diego Spirit, the team's first loss of the year after putting together the first four-game winning streak in WUSA history).

SOCCER SHOCKER: Defending World Cup Champion France fell 2-1 to Belgium on Marc Wilmots’ injury time goal over the weekend.  The loss was France’s first defeat in eight months. France was playing without star  midfielder Zinedine Zidane, who was with his wife for the birth of their third child.

QUOTABLE: 
“The fine line is there can never be any mental lapses.  It’s got to be concentration for 90 minutes.  I think today it was a game where we concentrated for about 88 minutes, probably even a bit more.  It was just 10 or 15 seconds here or there that gave them a couple chances.  But that’s the difference.  Great players will punish you, and they did.  Saying that, it’s not that bad that we lost today.  As much as nobody likes to lose, if perhaps we won today people would have set high expectations for us, where in reality it was a good game for us.  It showed us exactly what we need to work on.”
- U.S. midfielder Claudio Reyna on whether the U.S. result against Holland demonstrated the fine line between success and failure that occurs during a World Cup.


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