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U.S. Soccer Wire: U.S. Women Qualify for Olympics, Depart for Algarve This Week; Men to Face Haiti Saturday


U.S. COMES BACK TO EDGE FELLOW QUALIFIER MEXICO 3-2 IN TOURNEY FINAL: The U.S. Women's National team compiled a perfect 5-0 record in winning the 2004 CONCACAF Olympic Women's Soccer Qualifying Tournament in Costa Rica last week. The U.S. outscored their opponents in the tournament 24-2 and clinched a spot in the third Women's Olympic Soccer Tournament with a convincing 4-0 victory over the host Costa Ricans on March 3 behind first half goals from Aly Wagner, Abby Wambach and Kristine Lilly, and a second half strike from Shannon Boxx. In the tournament finale against Mexico, the U.S. allowed their only two goals of the tournament to fall behind 2-0 in the first 15 minutes, but managed to score three unanswered goals, including the game winner in the 84th minute from captain Julie Foudy, to win 3-2 and maintain their undefeated record in CONCACAF competition. Abby Wambach led the U.S. in scoring in the tournament with five goals. She was followed closely by midfielder Shannon Boxx, who continues to light up the scoreboard. Boxx scored four times in Costa Rica and left the tournament with an amazing nine goals in her 16 career international caps. For Mexico, their 2-1 victory over Canada that sent them to Athens alongside the U.S. will long be remembered as the greatest in the country's women's soccer history. The favored Canadians were no match for striker Maribel Dominguez, who led the tournament with nine goals, including two against the Canadians. The championship for the U.S. marked the team's fifth CONCACAF regional title. The victory also maintained the USA's perfect record in every inaugural FIFA and CONCACAF tournament, which includes victories in the 1991 WWC qualifying tournament, the 1991 Women's World Cup, the 1996 Olympics, the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the 2002 U-19 FIFA Women's World Championship and now the 2004 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

WNT Results – CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament
Date        Opponent         Result    U.S. Goal Scorers
Feb. 25    T&T                7-0 W    Boxx (3), Lilly, Hamm, Wambach
Feb. 27    Haiti                 8-0 W    Wagner, Parlow (3), (Own Goal), MacMillan, Tarpley, Wambach
Feb. 29    Mexico             2-0 W    (Own Goal), Wambach
March 3   Costa Rica        4-0 W    Wagner, Wambach, Lilly, Boxx
March 5   Mexico             3-2 W    Tarpley, Wambach, Foudy

HEINRICHS NAMES ALGARVE CUP ROSTER, TEAM HEADS TO PORTUGAL WEDNESDAY: U.S. Women’s National Team’s head coach April Heinrichs named 20 players to the roster that will depart for Portugal on Wednesday (March 10) to participate in the 2004 Algarve Cup. The USA will play three top European teams in the first round, opening the tournament against France on March 14 in Ferreiras, facing Denmark in Quarteira on March 16 and finishing first round play against 2003 Women’s World Cup runner-up Sweden in Lagos on March 18. None of the matches will be televised in the United States, but fans can follow the USA’s grueling schedule of four games in seven days online via ussoccer.com's MatchTracker presented by Philips Electronics. Heinrichs chose 17 of the 20 players that were in Costa Rica, as veterans Joy Fawcett and Kristine Lilly will not travel to Portugal while 19-year-old forward Heather O’Reilly will travel to China with the U.S. Under-21 National Team.  In their place, Heinrichs added defenders Brandi Chastain and Kylie Bivens, and midfielder Lori Chalupny.

WNT Schedule - 2004 Algarve Cup
Date           Opponent                    City                              Kickoff (local / ET)
March 14    France                        Ferreiras, Portugal        4:15 p.m. / 11:15 a.m.
March 16    Denmark                    Quarteira, Portugal        1:45 p.m. / 8:45 a.m.
March 18    Sweden                      Lagos, Portugal             4:15 p.m. / 11:15 a.m.
March 20    Placement Match        TBD                             TBD

WNT Roster - 2004 Algarve Cup
Goalkeepers (2):
Briana Scurry, Siri Mullinix;
Defenders (7): Kylie Bivens, Brandi Chastain, Kate Markgraf, Heather Mitts, Amy LePeilbet, Christie Rampone, Cat Reddick;
Midfielders (7): Shannon Boxx, Lori Chalupny, Julie Foudy, Angela Hucles, Leslie Osborne, Lindsay Tarpley, Aly Wagner;
Forwards (4): Mia Hamm, Shannon MacMillan, Cindy Parlow, Abby Wambach.

SANNEH, ALBRIGHT JOIN MNT ROSTER FOR MATCH SAT. AT 8 P.M. ET LIVE ON HDNet: U.S. Men's National Team defender Tony Sanneh was added to the original 18-player roster for the team's match against Haiti on Saturday (March 13) at the Orange Bowl in Miami.  The 2002 World Cup veteran has been sidelined with a back injury since December 2002, and has not appeared on a national team roster since his starting role at Korea/Japan.  Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Chris Albright joined the team in place of Colorado Rapids defender Pablo Mastroeni, who suffered a pulled right hamstring in training earlier this week.  The U.S. team reported to training camp yesterday in Miami. Kickoff for the match is set for 8 p.m. ET, and the match will be shown live on HDNet.  The match will also be available to DirecTV viewers via pay-per-view, and fans can follow the match live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. Tickets, which are priced at $15 for Youth General Admission, $20 for Adult General Admission and $35 for Reserved, are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, including select FYE, Specs Music and Ricky's Records. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 305-358-5885 in Miami, 561-966-3309 in West Palm Beach or 954-523-3309 for Fort Lauderdale.

MNT Roster - March 13 vs. Haiti
Goalkeepers (2): Kevin Hartman (Los Angeles Galaxy), Jonny Walker (MetroStars);
Defenders (6): Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham), Dan Califf (Los Angeles Galaxy), Cory Gibbs (Dallas Burn), Ritchie Kotschau (Colorado Rapids), Eddie Pope (MetroStars), Tony Sanneh (FC Nurnberg);
Midfielders (7): Chris Albright (L.A. Galaxy), Chris Armas (Chicago Fire), DaMarcus Beasley (Chicago Fire), Bobby Convey (D.C. United), Richard Mulrooney (San Jose Earthquakes), Pat Noonan (New England Revolution), Steve Ralston (New England Revolution);
Forwards (4): Landon Donovan (San Jose Earthquakes), Jovan Kirovski (Los Angeles Galaxy), Ante Razov (Chicago Fire), John Wolyniec (MetroStars).

U.S. MEN’S HOME, AWAY MATCH DATES SET FOR WORLD CUP QUALIFYING SEMIFINALS: CONCACAF, the governing body of soccer for the North American, Central American and Caribbean region, announced the results of the draw to determine the schedule and order of matches of the semifinal round of 2006 World Cup Qualifying last week.  The United States, should it advance to the semi-final round, would open the four-team, six-match round robin competition on the road on Aug. 18 in Jamaica or Haiti. The first U.S. home game is scheduled for Sept. 4, likely against El Salvador or Bermuda. The U.S. first meets the winner of Grenada and Guyana in a home-and-home series June 13 and June 20, with the first match to be played in the United States at a site to be determined. Grenada appears to be the likely U.S. opponent after their 5-0 first leg victory over Guyana on Feb. 28. The return match in the series is set for March 13 in Guyana. Should the U.S. advance to the semifinal round, the team would play three of their first four games on the road before closing with home matches on Oct. 13 and November 17.  Sites for all of the U.S. World Cup qualifying games have yet to be determined.

CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying – GROUP A - Semifinal Round
Team #1:
USA or winner of Grenada vs. Guyana
Team #2: El Salvador or winner of Bermuda v. Montserrat
Team #3: Jamaica or Haiti
Team #4: Panama or winner of British Virgin Islands vs. St. Lucia

2004 MNT Schedule
Date           Opponent                      Venue                                       Kickoff / TV
March 13   Haiti                               Orange Bowl; Miami, Fla.         8 p.m. ET / HDNet & PPV
March 31   Poland                            Plock, Poland                           1:30 p.m. ET / ESPN2  
April 28      TBD                              TBD (HOME)                          TBD
May 26       TBD                             TBD (HOME)                          TBD
June 13       Grenada / Guyana         TBD (HOME)                          TBD
June 20       Grenada / Guyana         TBD (away)                              TBD
July 11        Poland                          TBD (HOME)                          TBD
Aug. 18       Team #3 *                    TBD (away)                             TBD
Sept. 4        Team #2 *                    TBD (HOME)                          TBD
Sept. 8        Team #4 *                    TBD (HOME)                          TBD
Oct. 10       Team #2 *                    TBD (away)                              TBD
Oct. 13       Team #4 *                    TBD (HOME)                          TBD
Nov. 17      Team #3 *                    TBD (HOME)                          TBD
* should the U.S. advance to the semi-final round of World Cup qualifying

U.S. MEN TO TRAVEL TO POLAND FOR MATCH IN PLOCK ON MARCH 31: The U.S. Men’s National Team will travel to Poland for a 2002 World Cup rematch in Plock, a city in central Poland about 60 miles northwest of Warsaw (8:30 p.m. local / 1:30 p.m. ET – live on ESPN2). As part of their preparation for CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying this summer, the U.S. will also play games on April 28 and May 26 at sites and against opponents still to be finalized. Following their two-game World Cup qualifying series on June 13 and June 20 against Grenada or Guyana, U.S. Soccer has also scheduled a return domestic match for the U.S. Men against Poland on July 11 at a site yet to be determined. The U.S. holds a 4-7-1 record against the European nation, with the last match a 3-1 loss in the opening round of the 2002 World Cup in Daejeon, South Korea. In their last match in Poland, the U.S. came away with a 3-2 win in Warsaw on Oct. 10, 1990. [See full 2004 schedule above.]

– U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –

U.S. WOMEN TO OPEN DOMESTIC SCHEDULE VS. BRAZIL IN BIRMINGHAM ON APRIL 24: The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team will play its first domestic match of 2004 against Brazil on Saturday, April 24, at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama.  The game kicks off at 12 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on ESPN2 as U.S. fans will get their first look at the core of players who will participate in the 2004 Olympics, should the USA qualify in Costa Rica this week. Advance tickets ranging in price levels from $18 to $50 are on sale now at all Ticketmaster outlets throughout Alabama (including Publix, Coconuts and Wherehouse Music), by phone at 1-800-277-1700, and online at www.ussoccer.com.  Groups of 20 or more can order through the Alabama Sports Foundation at 205-967-4745. The match at the historic stadium will be the second trip in as many years to Birmingham, home of U.S. defender Cat Reddick.  The USA trounced England 6-0 in May 2003 as Reddick played 90 minutes in her first appearance for the national team in the city where she was a high-school All-American at Briarwood Christian School and two-time Alabama Girl’s Soccer Player of the Year.

– U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

U-21 WOMEN HEAD TO CHINA FOR THREE-GAME FOREIGN TOUR: On the heels of the full Women's National Team, which participated in the Four Nations Tournament in China last January, the U.S. Under-21 Women's National Team will travel to the Far East from March 17-29 for three highly competitive matches in and around Shanghai, China.  The matches will be excellent preparation for U.S. U-21 head Coach Chris Petrucelli as he continues to mold his team for the 2004 Nordic Cup in July.  While the schedule has not been completely confirmed, the U.S. U-21s will likely face top Chinese women's club Shanghai FC on March 21 and then the Chinese Youth National Team on March 25.  The U-21s will then face one of the toughest tests in the young careers on March 28, should the match get confirmed, when they face the full Chinese National Team.  China, which is fresh off a 1-0 victory over Women's World Cup champion Germany in Germany, is one of the most difficult teams in the world to play on its home soil and will certainly be "played in" after just returning from the Algarve Cup in Portugal.  The U.S. roster includes six players with full Women's National Team experience, including 19-year-old Heather O'Reilly, a star of the 2002 U-19 Women's World Champions, who will participate in her first event of the year with the U-21s.  O'Reilly, who was on the USA's CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Team in Costa Rica last week, is also still age-eligible for the U.S. U-19s.  O'Reilly will be reunited with former U-19 teammate Kelly Wilson, who won the Silver Boot and Bronze Ball at the U-19 World Championship in Canada, as well as four other players from that historic team, defender Keeley Dowling, midfielder Sarah Huffman, midfielder Jill Oakes and forward Manya Makoski.  Petrucelli will take six overaged players to China, defined as players who are not age-eligible for the Nordic Cup and thus born before Jan. 1, 1983, but each Nordic Cup roster is allowed several overage players per team.

U-21 WNT Roster - Trip to China
Goalkeepers (2):
Nicole Barnhart (Stanford), Jenni Branam (UNC);
Defenders (3): Keeley Dowling (Tennessee), Hayley Hunt (Stanford), Nandi Pryce (UCLA);
Midfielders (7): Sarah Huffman (Virginia), Lindsey Huie (Portland), Carly Lloyd (Rutgers), Joanna Lohman (Penn State), Jill Oakes (UCLA), Nikki Thaden (Texas), Kacey White (UNC);
Forwards (6): Ali Andrzejewski (Maryland), Jenny Farenbaugh (Stanford), Natasha Kai (Hawaii), Manya Makoski (Arizona State), Heather O'Reilly (UNC), Kelly Wilson (Texas).

U-17 ’87 MNT FINISHES CAMP WITH 3-0 WIN OVER UNIV. OF TAMPA: The U.S. Under-17 ’87 Men’s National Team shutout their third straight opponent in their only match last week as midfielder Danny Szetela scored two goals and forward Freddy Adu registered two assists to lead the U.S. to a 3-0 win over the University of Tampa on March 4 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The U.S. opened the scoring in the 38th minute when defender Greg Folk scored his first goal with the U-17s since joining Residency last September after receiving a pass from Adu. After taking the slim lead, Szetela took care of the rest as he scored in the 51st and 88th minutes off services from Rodrigo Hidalgo and Adu. Marcus Rein picked up his second straight shutout. In their first two matches, the U-17s defeated the University of Clemson 5-0 and the College of Charleston 1-0, with both games on Feb. 28.

U-17 ‘87 MNT Results
Date          Opponent                       Result      U.S. Goal Scorers
Feb. 28     College of Charleston     1-0 W      Szetela
Feb. 28     Clemson University        5-0 W      Adu (3), Brooks, King
March 3    Univ. of Tampa              3-0 W      Folk, Szetela (2)

FIVE YOUTH TEAMS TRAINING IN BRADENTON, FLA., THIS WEEK: With five U.S. Soccer Youth National Teams conducting training camps at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., this week, a large contingent of the possible future full MNT and WNT players will be on display in the sunshine state. On the men’s side there’s the Under-18, Under-15 and the Under-17 Men’s National Teams playing games against each other, local clubs and formidable university squads. On the women’s side, there’s the Under-16 and Under-17 Women’s National Team, who will face international competition as they will each meet the Under-17 national teams of Germany and Canada. Besides the U-17 teams that train in Bradenton all year with U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program, the four other national teams arrived this weekend and have already been going through the rigors of two-a-day training sessions. While the U-17 WNT already played a match against the U-18 IMG squad yesterday (March 7), winning 5-0 behind goals from Hayley Siegel, Lauren Cheney, Kylee Rossi, and two from Amy Rodriguez, the rest of the squads won’t play their first match until tomorrow (March 9). With all four YNTs playing games throughout the week, check out ussoccer.com for results and special features on the teams and individual players in a chance to get to know more about the future players involved in U.S. Soccer youth programs.

U-18 MNT Schedule
Date              Opponent
March 9        Notre Dame
March 10      University of Virginia
March 11      U-17 MNT

U-18 MNT Roster

Goalkeepers (3): Marcus Rein (Modesto, Calif.), Stephen Sandbo (Columbus, Ohio), Chris Seitz (San Luis Obispo, Calif.);
Defenders (7): Angelo Amato (Livingston, N.J.), Greg Folk (Woodland Hills, Calif.), Adam Sloustcher (Pleasanton, Calif.), Nathan Sturgis (St. Augustine, Fla.), Julian Valentin (Lancaster, Pa.), Mike Videira (Milford, Mass.), Tim Ward (Waukesha, Wis.);
Midfielders (7): Eric Avila (Encinitas, Calif.), Anthony Beltran (Claremont, Calif.), Michael Bradley (Pennington, N.J.), Nico Colalluca (Coventry, R.I.), Christian Jimenez (San Dimas, Calif.), Dax McCarty (Maitland, Fla.), Daniel Szetela (Clifton, N.J.);
Forwards (7): Sergio Buriano (Buffalo, N.Y.), Charlie Davies (Manchester, N.H.), Mike Grella (Glen Cove, N.Y.), Rodrigo Hidalgo (Atlantis, Fla.), Dane Murphy (Redding, Conn.), Robbie Rogers (Huntington Beach, Calif.), Jamie Watson (Coppell, Texas).

U-15 BNT Schedule
Date             Opponent
March 9       U-17 MNT
March 11     U-17 MNT
March 13     Boca Juniors

U-15 BNT Roster
Goalkeepers (3): Jonathan Harris (Arlington Heights, Ill.), Brian Perk (R.S. Margarita, Calif.), Matthew Walker (Grand Blanc, Mich.);
Defenders (6): Douglas Ferner (Bloomfield, Mich.), Cameron Lamming (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.), Raphael Martinez (Portage, Ind.), Steven Morales (Farmingdale, N.Y.), Lucas Swertloff (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Darryl Tom (Los Altos, Calif.);
Midfielders (10): Bryan Arguez (Miami, Fla.), Cameron Brown (Garland, Texas), Guiseppe Carotenuto (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Victor Cortez (El Sobrante, Calif.), Andrew Duran (Mokena, Ill.), Jose Gonzales (Soquel, Calif.), Kaoru Forbess (Benton, Ariz.), Jonathan Kluz (Etiwanda, Calif.), Peri Mesosevic (Guilford, Ill.), Anthony Wallace (St. Petersburg, Fla.);
Forwards (4): Andrew Giallombardo (Manalapan, N.J.), Joseph Sorrentino (Trenton, N.J.), John Tardy (Staton Island, N.Y.), Justin True (Lee’s Summit, Mo.).

U-17 WNT Schedule
Date              Opponent
March 9        Canada U-17
March 11      U-17 WNT
March 12      Germany U-17

U-17 WNT Roster
Goalkeepers (2): Kelsey Davis (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Meagan McCray (San Francisco, Calif.);
Defenders (6): Allison Fries (Dublin, Ohio), Megan Holmes (Timonium, Md.), Kasey Moore (Mission Viejo, Calif.), Ashley Nick (Monrovia, Calif.), Stefani Rocco (Sacramento, Calif.), Caroline Walden (Guilford, Conn.);
Midfielders (10): Brittany Bock (Chicago, Ill.), Kiara Bosio (Mission Viejo, Calif.), Cydne Currie (Irving, Texas), Tobin Heath (Basking Ridge, N.J.), Kristina Larsen (Laguna Hills, Calif.), Amanda Lebo (Telford, Pa.), Courtney Lewis (Mission Viejo, Calif.), Elisabeth Redmond (Morristown, N.J.), Courtney Rosen (Brecksville, Ohio), Hayley Siegel (Ellicott City, Md.);
Forwards (6): Lauren Cheney (Indianapolis, Ind.), Ashley Myers (Bel Air, Md.), Kelly Quinn (Dublin, Ohio), Amy Rodriguez (Lake Forest, Calif.), Kylee Rossi (Pennington, N.J.), Marihelen Tomer (Diamond Bar, Calif.).

U-16 GNT Schedule
Date              Opponent
March 9        Germany U-17
March 11      U-17 WNT
March 12      Canada U-17

U-16 GNT Roster

Goalkeepers (2): Alyssa Naeher (Stratford, Conn.), Lauren Robertson (Mission Viejo, Calif.);
Defenders (7):
Jenna Belcher (Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.), Hannah Cerrone (Wappinger Falls, N.Y.), Kim Feeny (Danville, Calif.), Lindsey Johnson (Phoenix, Ariz.), Nicole Moore (Virginia Beach, Va.), Onnie Trusty (Media, Pa.), Lauren Wilmoth (Garland, Texas);
Midfielders (10): Carolyn Blank (Toms River, N.J.) Regan Chelsea (Raritan, N.J.), Amber Gnatzig (Humble, Texas), Ali Hawkins (Encinitas, Calif.), Melissa Hayes (Cave Creek, Ariz.), C.J. Ludemann (Holtsville, N.Y.), Jessica McDonald (Phoenix, Ariz.), Lauren Switzer (St. Charles, Ill.), Carissa Voegle (Livermore, Calif.), Olivia West (Indianapolis, Ind.);
Forwards (5): Katya Hessel (Edwardsville, Ill.), Alicia Jenkins (Diamond Springs, Calif.), Ashley Moore (Clifton Park, NY.), Casey Noguiera (Cedarburg, Wis.), Nikki Washington (Mesquite, Texas).

U-19 WNT AND NEW U-15 GIRLS TO HOLD CAMPS AT NATIONAL TRAINING CENTER: The U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team and the newly created U.S. Under-15 Girls Developmental National Team will conduct week-long training camps at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., this week. U-19 WNT head coach Mark Krikorian, who recently took over for current full Women’s National team assistant coach Tracy Leone, will continue to develop the core of the team that will enter CONCACAF Qualifying in May for the 2004 U-19 Women's Youth Championship, to be held November 10-27 in Thailand. The U-19s will likely play a couple matches against college teams or local clubs, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet. This will be the first camp for the newly created Under-15 Girls, a team that was created to identify pre-high school standouts and prepare players for the Under-19 and Under-21 Women’s National Teams.

U-19 WNT Roster
Goalkeepers (4): Laura Comeau (Leigh, N.H.), Ashlyn Harris (Satellite Beach, Fla.), Ashley Phillips (West Peabody, Mass.), Julie Ryder (DeKalb, Ill.);
Defenders (6): Jen Buczkowski (Elk Grove Village, Ill.), Rachel Buehler (Del Mar, Calif.), Nikki Krzysik  (Clifton, N.J.), Stephanie Logterman (Austin, Texas), Stephanie Lopez (Elk Grove, Calif.), Becky Sauerbrunn (Olivette, Mo.),
Midfielders (8): Yael Averbuch (Upper Montclair, N.J.), Chioma Igwe (Belmont, Calif.), Elizabeth Jobe (Roswell, Ga.), Caroline Lea (Lakewood, Colo.), Rebecca Moros (Larchmont, N.Y.), Lorraine Quinn (Farmingdale, N.Y.), Jennifer Redmond (Morristown, N.J.), Carrie Schmit (La Mesa, Calif.);
Forwards (8): Bristyn Davis (Locust Valley, N.Y.), Tina Estrada (Fremont, Calif.), Sheree  Gray (Toms River, N.J.), Kerri Hanks (Allen, Texas), Kia McNeill (Avon, Conn.), Alexia Orand (Orange, Calif.), Julia Schnugg (Alamo, Calif.), Angie Woznuk (El Cajon, Calif.).

U-15 GNT Roster
Goalkeepers (4): Rachel Bachtel (Dublin, Ohio), Wendy Balogun (New Carrollton, Md.), Kelly Dyer (Germantown, Tenn.), Jorde Kussmann;
Defenders (7): Skyy Anderson (Cambridge, Mass.), Lauren Barnes (Upland, Calif.), Kathleen Deines (Issaquah, Wash.), Gretchen Miller (Fariport, N.Y.), Megan Ohai (Draper, Utah), Mary Reynolds (Alpharetta, Ga.), Kacey Richards (Williamstown, N.J.);
Midfielders (8): Courtney Barg (Plano, Texas), Emily Esbrook (Novi, Mich.), Sinead Farrelly (Havertown, Pa.), Jessica Hurtado (Butler, N.J.), Taylor Lytle (Las Cruces, N.M.), Jamie Pollack (Powder Springs, Ga.), Caroline Simpson (Atlanta, Ga.), Rebecca Thomas (Burlington, Wash.);
Forwards (5): Bianca D’Agostino (Longmeadow, Mass.), Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas), Brooke Knowlton (Rexford, N.Y.), Rachel Schuyler (Chesire, Conn.), Danielle Toney (Northville, Mich.).

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

AKERS, HAMM NAMED TO “THE FIFA 100” LIST OF BEST  LIVING PLAYERS IN THE WORLD: U.S. Women’s National Team legends Mia Hamm and Michelle Akers were named to “The FIFA 100,” a list commemorating the greatest living soccer players chosen by Pelé and approved by FIFA, the world governing body of soccer as part of FIFA’s Centennial celebration. Hamm and Akers were the only women, and only Americans, on the prestigious list, which includes legends such as George Best, Roberto Carlos, Paolo Maldini, Zinedine Zidane, Bobby Charlton and Thierry Henry, to name just a few. To celebrate FIFA’s Centennial, 18 of the world’s leading photographers were commissioned to shoot portraits of the world’s most influential living players and the collection will be shown for the first time at “The FIFA 100” Charity Auction & Tribute Ceremony tonight in London. Akers, who retired just before the 2000 Olympics, scored 105 goals for the USA.  Among the vast and varied accolades in her career, she was voted FIFA’s Women’s Player of the Century and was a three-time U.S. Soccer Chevrolet Female Athlete of the Year (1990, 1991 and 1999).  She is widely regarded as the best female player of her era, and maybe of all time. Hamm is the world’s all-time leading scorer with 146 goals and has racked up 125 assists in her brilliant career as well.  She is a two-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year (2001 and 2002), a five-time U.S. Soccer Chevrolet Female Athlete of the Year (1994-98), and with 249 games played, is the second most-capped soccer player in history behind teammate Kristine Lilly.

PHELAN WINS 2003 GATORADE NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD: U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team defender Patrick Phelan has been named the 2003 Gatorade National High School Boys Soccer Player of the Year. Phelan, of Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Wilbraham, Mass., has spent time with both the U.S. U-18 and U-20 MNTs over the past two years.  During 2002, while a mainstay with the U-18s, Phelan earned the Most Valuable Player award during the Talence International Tournament in France, as he led the U.S. defense that allowed just two goals in six games en route to the tournament title. In 2003, the central defender played and started in eight games with the U-18s, including every minute of three international matches during the Northern Ireland Milk Cup, helping the U.S. finish third. He also took his skills to the U-20s, where he started three of four international matches during the teams third place finish in the L’Alcudia International Tournament in L’Alcudia, Spain. During his senior year, Patrick recorded six goals and five assists as a central defender for Wilbraham & Monson Academy, leading the team to a 13-2-2 overall record and a division championship in the Western New England Prep School Soccer Association.  He anchored a defense that established a school record by posting 11 shutouts.

*** U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: Much like her breakout performance at the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003, forward Abby Wambach led the way for the U.S. Women’s National Team as they cruised to a ticket to Athens down in Costa Rica last week. Wambach scored a goal in each of the USA’s five wins in the tournament. With those five goals, Wambach is now sitting on an incredible 19 goals in 30 all-time international appearances.

MARQUEE MATCH-UP: After drawing 1-1 with Denmark in its first match of the year and falling 1-0 to the Netherlands in its second match, the U.S. Men’s National Team will be looking to get back to its winning ways when it meets possible CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying foe Haiti on Saturday (March 13) at The Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla. The match, which kicks off at 8 p.m. ET, will be broadcast live on HDNet and Pay-Per-Vue.

SOCCER SHOCKER: The Mexican Women’s National Team, and more specifically lethal striker Maribel Dominguez, were responsible for two big surprises in Costa Rica last week. First, Mexico upset Canada 2-1 in the semifinals on March 3 to grab the first CONCACAF berth to the 2004 Olympics. Then on March 5, Mexico roared out to a surprising 2-0 lead before the U.S. rallied to win 3-2 and take the tourney title. Dominguez was a one-woman show, scoring all four goals in the two matches to lift her team to its first ever Olympic appearance and shake up the order in CONCACAF. Dominguez finished with a tournament-leading nine goals in five games.

QUOTABLE: “I was blowing on that thing to go in.”
- U.S. midfielder Julie Foudy, on her winning shot, a relatively slow roller through goal-mouth traffic

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