U.S. WOMEN IN PORTUGAL PREPPING FOR ALGARVE CUP: The U.S. Women's National Team arrived in Portugal on Saturday (Feb. 23), and began preparing for the 2002 Algarve Cup, to be held from March 1-7 at numerous venues on the southern coast of the country. The American women have won the tournament just once, but are looking to duplicate their results from 2000, when the USA defeated Norway in the championship game, 1-0. Norway will be an opponent in group play this year, but before the U.S. Women face the Olympic champions on March 5, they have two tough matches against defending Algarve Cup champion Sweden (March 1) and England (March 3). Fans can follow all the U.S. matches live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Phillips Electronics. For the first time, the Algarve Cup will feature 12 teams, up from the usual eight, including six of the top 10 teams in the world in China, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the USA. Filling out the field are Canada, England, Finland, Portugal, Scotland and Wales. The teams are split into three groups of four teams. Each team will play three group matches in a five-day span and then play a placement match on March 7.
FRIEDEL NAMED “MAN OF THE MATCH” AS BLACKBURN WIN WORTHINGTON CUP: Brad Friedel was named “Man of the Match” after helping Blackburn win the Worthington Cup with a 2-1 win over Tottenham on Sunday in the final at Millenium Stadium, in Cardiff, Wales. The win gave Blackburn’s their first cup in 74 years. Andy Cole scored the gamewinner in the 69th minute, but it was Friedel who put Rovers in a position to win the game. He denied Les Ferdinad on a trio of clear chances, including a one-on-one early in the game and a point-blank header in the 88th minute. The win secures a spot in next season’s UEFA Cup for Blackburn, who currently sit in the Premiership’s relegation zone. Friedel played in five Worthington Cup matches, allowing only four goals.
NTC GROUNDBREAKING SET FOR TUESDAY IN L.A.: U.S. Soccer and AEG will break ground tomorrow morning on the new state-of-the-art U.S. Soccer National Training Center and a 27,000-seat soccer-specific stadium complex at Cal State University Dominguez Hills in Carson, Calif. In addition to housing U.S. Soccer’s National Team’s Program, the facility will be the future home of the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer. In addition to the NTC and stadium, the complex will feature five training fields, a practice area and a central building to house office space, locker rooms, weight and physical therapy training rooms and player lounges. The NTC complex will also include a residential area and dining facility capable of hosting up to 240 people. “This is a landmark moment for U.S. Soccer,” said U.S. Soccer Federation President Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia. “The importance of having a world-class facility that will provide a championship environment for the continued development of our players at every National Team level is immeasurable. A facility like this benefits every part of the U.S. Soccer family, and enables us to cast our nets wider and extend our goals in making sure every player, coach and referee has the opportunity to develop to their full potential.” The groundbreaking is open to the media.
ARENA ANNOUNCES ROSTER FOR MATCHES vs. HONDURAS, ECUADOR: United States Men’s National Team head coach Bruce Arena has named a 20-man roster for the upcoming friendlies against Honduras and Ecuador. The USA first meets Honduras on Saturday, March 2 at Safeco Field in Seattle. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. PT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN. The team then moves to Birmingham, Ala. where they will face Ecuador on March 10 at Legion Field in a match broadcast live on ABC at 3 p.m. CT. Fans can also follow both matches live on ussoccer.com’s Match Tracker, presented by Philips Electronics. "Our performances in the Gold Cup and against Italy have demonstrated that there will be serious competition for spots on the World Cup roster, and these matches will further aid in our evaluation,” said Arena, whose 2002 record is 4-1-1. A total of 17 players on the list were members of the 2002 FC Gold Cup championship-winning side. MLS players once again dominate the roster, with 17 of 20 players called from the domestic league.
Goalkeepers: Tim Howard (MetroStars-MLS), Kasey Keller (Tottenham Hotspur-England);
Defenders: Jeff Agoos (San Jose Earthquakes-MLS), Gregg Berhalter (Crystal Palace-England), Carlos Llamosa (New England Revolution-MLS), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids-MLS), Eddie Pope (D.C. United-MLS);
Midfielders: Chris Armas (Chicago Fire-MLS), Bobby Convey (D.C. United-MLS), Cobi Jones (Los Angeles Galaxy-MLS), Eddie Lewis (Fulham FC-England), Brian Maisonneuve (Columbus Crew-MLS), Clint Mathis (MetroStars-MLS), Richard Mulrooney (San Jose Earthquakes-MLS), Richie Williams (D.C. United-MLS), Brian West (Columbus Crew-MLS);
Forwards: DaMarcus Beasley (Chicago Fire-MLS), Jeff Cunningham (Columbus Crew-MLS), Landon Donovan (San Jose Earthquakes-MLS), Brian McBride (Columbus Crew-MLS)
U.S. MIDFIELDERS BATTLE IN HOLLAND: John O’Brien and Earnie Stewart both played 90 minutes as Ajax topped NAC Breda 1-0 in Breda on Sunday. Due to a rash of injuries to Amsterdam’s backline, O’Brien played as a right back in the match, helping to shutout Stewart and Breda. With the win, Ajax maintain their three-point cushion at the top of the table and also hold a game-in-hand. The loss did not drop Breda, who stay in sixth place. Stewart has played in 25 matches for Breda, scoring eight goals. O’Brien has played in 22 matches, scoring twice.
OTHER ACTION FROM THE U.S. MNT STARS IN EUROPE: Claudio Reyna went all 90 minutes in Sunderland’s 1-0 loss to Newcastle on Sunday. Reyna has now played in nine matches for Sunderland, scoring one goal. Reyna and Sunderland next face Kasey Keller and Tottenham on Saturday at White Hart Lane. Joe-Max Moore did not play in Everton’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool. The match ends Moore’s streak of 14 appearances in 15 matches, dating back to Dec. 8. He has made 19 appearances in all competitions with two goals this season. Jovan Kirovski and Gregg Berhalter both started in Crystal Palace’s 1-0 loss to Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday. Kirovski played 71 minutes while Berhalter went the entire 90. Kirovski has made 32 appearances in all competitions, with Berhalter seeing time in 15 contests. Palace has slipped to eighth place in the league. John Thorrington made his return to the field for Huddersfield Town, starting and playing the first 70 minutes in Town’s 2-1 win over Blackpool. The return marks the end of a spell of injuries that only allowed Thorrington to play in two first-team matches since Nov. 10. Thorrington has made 21 appearances and has tallied six goals. David Regis played 90 minutes in two Metz losses last week. Metz fell 1-0 at Marseille on Tuesday and then lost 2-1 to Bordeaux on Saturday. Regis has played in 21 matches this season. Greg Vanney played 90 minutes for the seventh straight match as Bastia lost 1-2 at Rennes. Tony Sanneh went all 90 minutes in Nurnberg’s 2-0 win over Koln on Saturday. The win was Nurnberg’s fourth in five matches, with Sanneh going all 90 in each match. Sanneh has appeared in 22 matches, scoring two goals for Nurnberg. The team’s current streak has pushed them up to 13th in the Bundesliga. Cory Gibbs was suspended for St. Pauli’s 1-1 draw this weekend, the first time he has been out of the line-up since breaking into the starting side on Sept. 15. St. Pauli sit in 17th place of 18 teams and have their work cut out to avoid relegation. Steve Cherundolo and Conor Casey both saw Hannover’s match against Oberhausen postponed after heavy rains. Hannover sit five points clear at the top and also have a game-in-hand.
U.S. TO UNVEIL NIKE WORLD CUP JERSEYS ON FRIDAY: The U.S. Men’s National Team will wear their new 2002 World Cup jerseys in action for the first time when they take the field against Honduras on Saturday, March 2. Nike spent considerable time developing the lightweight jerseys, as the 2002 World Cup will be played during the monsoon season from May 31-June 30 in Korea and Japan. The new jersey will be unveiled at a press conference at Safeco Field on Friday, March 1 at 12 p.m. ET.
BEHIND THE SCENES WITH U.S. MNT ON FOX SPORTS WORLD: U.S. Soccer fans will have a rare opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the U.S. Men’s National Team with Fox Sports World’s “Primed For the Cup”, which will air on February 28, at 7:30 p.m. PT on Fox Sports World. “Primed For the Cup” will focus on the Men’s National Team’s recent trip to Italy, where they fell 0-1 to the Italians in one of the MNT’s better performances against one of the top teams in the world. “Primed For the Cup” contains off-the-field footage from the team’s trip to Italy and will show some to the team’s candid moments in the days ahead of the midweek friendly against Italy. The 30-minute show will also feature interviews with Bruce Arena, Earnie Stewart, Jeff Agoos, Cobi Jones, Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasely and representatives from Nike. The show will also include a Fox Sports World exclusive, as Nike displays the new Nike U.S. Men’s National Team uniform and the new Nike shoe, “The Mercurial Vapor.”
TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE FOR “NIKE ROAD TO KOREA”: With the “Nike Road to Korea” less than three months away, U.S. Soccer has announced ticket information for the USA’s final three domestic World Cup preparation matches. The “Nike Road to Korea” will include three games before the U.S. departs for Korea and the 2002 World Cup in late May. Before playing their World Cup send-off match against Holland in Foxboro, Mass., on May 19, the U.S. will face Uruguay on May 12 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C and then travel north to face Jamaica on May 16 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Including the Gold Cup, the U.S. will have faced seven World Cup-bound sides in 2002 prior to kicking off the World Cup on June 5 against Portugal.
— U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE —
U-19 STANDOUT WILSON REPLACES CHASTAIN ON WNT ROSTER: With Brandi Chastain undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery last week and thus scratched from the Algarve Cup roster, U.S. head coach April Heinrichs called in forward Kelly Wilson, a freshman at the University of Texas, to replace her. The 19-year-old Wilson is a top forward on the U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team and a likely choice for the qualifying roster that will head to Trinidad & Tobago in May in an attempt to qualify for the first-ever FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship. The speedy 5-foot-6 striker led UT in every offensive category as a freshman last season, earning NSCAA Second-Team All-American honors while scoring 13 goals and helping the Longhorns to their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance. The Big-12 Rookie of the Year also had a banner year with the U-19s, playing in 13 matches in 2001 and scoring 12 goals, including eight in full U-19 internationals. She scored four of those against Canada on July 2, 2001 in an 11-1 thrashing. Heinrichs had earlier added another U-19 National Team standout to the roster in 17-year-old Heather O'Reilly, who replaced Mia Hamm, also soon to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery. A junior at East Brunswick High School in New Jersey, O'Reilly is also likely to be a member of the qualifying squad in T & T. A relentless attacker, O'Reilly scored six goals in 12 matches for the U-19s in 2001.
— U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE —
U.S. UNDER-19 WOMEN READY FOR TRIP TO MEXICO, MATCHES vs. MEXICO, COSTA RICA: The U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team will face two CONCACAF rivals this week in Mexico, taking on Costa Rica on March 2 and facing the Mexicans on March 3. The matches are part of the continuing preparation for the CONCACAF Qualifying tournament, being held from May 5-12 in Trinidad & Tobago, with the top two teams earning berths at the first-ever FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship, being held in Canada at the end of August, 2002. Despite having two first-choice strikers, Kelly Wilson and Heather O'Reilly, in Portugal with the full U.S. Women's National Team, Leone has plenty of fire-power at her disposal in co-captain Lindsey Tarpley and fellow forwards Lindsay Guisick and Megan Kakadelas, as well as dynamic midfielders Lori Chalupny and Leslie Osborne. The matches will be the first full internationals of the year for the U-19s. Mexico is also shooting for a World Championship berth at the qualifying tournament in T & T, but is in the opposite group from the USA. Following is Leone's 18-player roster for the two-game tour of Mexico:
Goalkeepers: Kim Bingham (San Ramon, Calif./San Ramon Illusion), Ashlyn Harris (Satellite Beach, Fla./Seminole Ice);
Defenders: Jessica Ballweg (Metuchen, N.J./Santa Clara Univ.), Rachel Buehler (Del Mar, Calif./San Diego Surf) Keeley Dowling (Carmel, Ind./Univ. of Tennesee), Kendall Fletcher (Cary, N.C./Greensboro Twisters), Jessica Trainer (Sparta, N.J./PDA Dynamo);
Midfielders: Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo./JB Marine), Kim Francis (College Park, Md./Univ. of Maryland), Alison Graham (Fayeteville, Ga./AFC Lightning), Manya Makoski (Trumbell, Conn./Yankee United), Leslie Osborne (Menomonee Falls, Wisc./Santa Clara Univ.), Annie Schefter (Yakima, Wash./Strikers);
Forwards: Lindsay Gusick (Livonia, Mich./Univ. of Virginia), Kerry Hanks (Allan, Tex./Dallas Texans), Megan Kakadelas (Carlsbad, Calif./USC), Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich./Gazelle TKO), Paige Ledford (Ooltewah, Tenn./Clemson Univ.).
U.S. UNDER-17 MEN PREPARE FOR BRAZIL TOURNAMENT: The U.S. Under-17s continued preparations this week for the upcoming Mundialito Joao Havelange from March 2–10 in Campos, Brazil. The Under-17s lost to a strong Columbus Crew team 4-0 on Wednesday, before rebounding to post a 4-0 win against Potomac SC on Sunday. Guillermo Gonzalez, Corey Ashe, Cameron Lewis and Chase Wileman scored for the U.S. in the win. In Brazil, the U.S. will face Brazil, Panama and Angola in “Group A” play. The tournament will feature the first four international matches the current Under-17s will play at the Under-17 level. The Under-17s are scheduled to close out the month of March by taking part in the Montaigue Tournament in Montaigue, France.
— AROUND THE SOCCER NATION —
U.S. OPEN CUP FORMAT SET FOR 2002 TOURNAMENT: The 2002 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will kick off this year in early June with first round action and will conclude with the championship match tentatively set for the final weekend of October. With a slight format revision in 2002, the single-elimination tournament will feature eight A-League teams from the United Soccer Leagues taking on the opening round survivors in the second round on June 26, while the eight Major League Soccer squads that qualify for the tournament will join the competition in the third round on July 17. The 2002 tournament’s first round is scheduled for completion by June 12 and will match seven D3 Pro League qualifiers against seven of the nine amateur teams from the Premier Development League (PDL) and the U.S. Amateur Soccer Association (USASA) who qualify for the tournament. The eighth first-round match will feature two amateur teams facing off and will be determined at the U.S. Open Cup Pairings Draw on June 5 in Chicago. The U.S Open Cup committee will announce the first-round tournament pairings after qualifying play concludes on June 2, where teams will be grouped through the third round of play on a geographical basis. Quarterfinal pairings will be bracketed before the start of the tournament. For the first two rounds of play, the home teams will be determined by competitive bids submitted prior to the U.S. Open Cup pairings in early June. The third round will feature seven of the eight MLS teams playing away, while the quarterfinal hosts will be determined by lottery. Dating back to 1914, the 89-year-old U.S. Open Cup is the oldest soccer cup competition in the United States and is among the oldest in the world.
AVAYA JOINS U.S. SOCCER FAMILY OF SPONSORS: Avaya, a leading global provider of voice and data networks to businesses and an official sponsor for the 2002 FIFA World Cup™, the FIFA Women's World Cup 2003 and the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ tournaments, announced that it is broadening its comprehensive support for soccer through a new sponsorship and technology agreement with U.S. Soccer. To mark the occasion, Don Peterson, chairman and CEO, Avaya, joined U.S. Soccer's Cobi Jones, Brandi Chastain and Dan Flynn at the New York Stock Exchange last Tuesday to ring the opening bell. Under the terms of the three-year agreement, Avaya will become a sponsor and “Official Provider of Voice and Data Communications” for U.S. Soccer.
2002 MLS ALL-STAR WEEKEND AWARDED TO RFK STADIUM IN WASHINGTON D.C.: Major League Soccer announced that their seventh Annual All-Star Weekend will be hosted by the nation's capital, Washington, D.C., RFK Stadium and D.C. United. The 2002 Pepsi MLS All-Star Game will be televised live oin ABC from RFK Stadium on August 3, at 3:30 p.m. ET. RFK Stadium, the site of two MLS Cup Championship matches, will host its first MLS All-Star Game as the event returns to the East Coast for the first time since 1997.
U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT
PEAK PERFORMER: Brad Friedel was named “Man of the Match” on Sunday after helping Blackburn top Tottenham 2-1 in the Worthington Cup final. Friedel made a number of big saves, including a point-blank header in the 88th minute, to preserve the win. The win gave Blackburn’s their first Cup championship in 74 years.
MARQUEE MATCH-UP: The U.S. Men’s National Team will face Honduras on Saturday, March 2 at Safeco Field in Seattle. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. PT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN, and can also be followed on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
SOCCER SHOCKER: With a 2-0 win this weekend, Tony Sanneh and FC Nurnberg have now reeled off four wins in their last five matches, after winning only three times in their first 18 league matches. Nurnberg have climbed out of the relegation zone and currently sit in 13th place in the Bundesliga.
“I wouldn't swap him for any other keeper in the Premiership,”
- Graeme Souness, Blackburn Rovers head coach, on Brad Friedel, following the Worthington Cup final