Volume IV, Issue 8
Table of Contents
1) ARMCHAIR MIDFIELDER [A Look Back: â€™96 & â€™00 Olympics]
A monthly column about the State of U.S. Soccer that takes a hard look at everything from the performance of the U.S. National Teams to pro soccer in the good â€˜ole U-S-of-A . If youâ€™re looking for a viewpoint that you wonâ€™t see in a generic, nuts-and-bolts U.S. Soccer press release, youâ€™ve come to the right place.
This is itâ€”the last chance for the 91ers / the Fab Five / Mia and the Gang, whatever you want to call these living legends. After grabbing gold in â€™96, the U.S. was dealt a blow to their dynasty in 2000, settling for silver. This time around they hope to get back to the top of the medal stand. Anything else will be a letdown. Sure, the U.S. would graciously accept bronze, but this isnâ€™t like a McDonaldâ€™s Happy Meal--you donâ€™t want to collect all three prizes. To see how the U.S. performance in Athens is stacking up, we reminisce about our great runs in the first two Olympic Womenâ€™s Football Tournaments.
Coming off a failed title defense and a third place finish at Sweden 1995, the pressure, although not nearly as overwhelming as what players carried on their backs in the summer of â€™99, was on the U.S. women. In the Golden Era of the 90s, failing to win two consecutive world championships was not an option. When the USAâ€™s mantra of the decade is as audacious as â€œWin Forever,â€ the team is expected to do just that: win, win, win.
â€œBEHIND CLOSED DOORSâ€
A section that will let you get to know the real personalities of your favorite Menâ€™s, Womenâ€™s and Youth National Team players through various funny and unique first-person accounts. In this issue, youâ€™ll find:
2) IN 3â€™s (w/ WNT midfielder Julie Foudy)
Whatâ€™s it going to be? Door number one, door number two, or door number THREE?!? Okay, so this section has less to do with â€œLetâ€™s Make A Dealâ€ and more to do with the Multiple Choice section of an SAT test. â€œIn 3â€™sâ€ peeks inside the head of a select National Team player as they pick one of three choices for 20-some questions about personal tastes and pop culture.
Most of you know the basics about Julie Foudy: captain and head jokester of the U.S. Womenâ€™s National Team, member of the 200-cap club, and politically aware former President of the Womenâ€™s Sports Foundation. But what else makes Jules tick? Read on and find out.
Favorite big city in the U.S.: Chicago, LA or NYC?
"NYC, baby. It's satisfies all my addictions in one place. Great restaurants, electric atmosphere, a place to run in a beautiful park, the theatre and world class shopping."
Favorite placed you've lived: Palo Alto, San Diego or Manhattan Beach?
"Tough one, but Manhattan Beach. Although I love San Diego, the actual beach of Manhattan sets it apart. It's big, white and sandy with a ton of volleyball nets already up and great surf, so it is really swim-friendly. It's also got a cute little downtown. It has a community feel, and I lived 100 yards from the beach. And I had great neighbors. How do you beat that?"
Messiest roommate at the Manhattan Beach pad: Brandi, Lill or Mia?
3) GEAR GALORE (WNT Custom Jerseys)
In a new piece for 2004, we engage in some shameless self-promotion by spotlighting a different U.S. Soccer product each month, from the newest, state-of-the-art Nike apparel to all kinds of other exclusive U.S. Menâ€™s & Womenâ€™s merch.
August is all about Athens and the U.S. Womenâ€™s National Team is already on its way to play for a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics. But if youâ€™re not one of the lucky few supporting them in person in Greece, nowâ€™s your chance to get all the latest WNT gear to wear when you watch the team play live from your living room. For the first time ever, all of the womenâ€™s offerings are together in one collection on ussoccerstore.com.
The hottest new items on the Web site are the official Nike Womenâ€™s National Team jerseys (either red or white) with the last name and number of some of your favorite players, including veterans Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain and Briana Scurry, as well as young stars like Abby Wambach, Shannon Boxx and Cat Reddick.
4) â€œQUERIES & ANECDOTESâ€ (w/ MNT Manager Bruce Arena)
Off-the-wall Questions and Answers, Queries and Anecdotes from U.S. Menâ€™s National Team Manager Bruce Arena.
With the U.S. Menâ€™s National Team revving up for the next stretch of the Road to Germany 2006, we sat down for a phoner with the de facto dean of American soccer. But instead of grilling him about the semi-final round of qualifying, we picked his brain with 15 questions about everything from the state of MLS, to the state of his golf game, to the state of the union.
Center Circle: We'll start off with some softies. You looked like you were having fun coaching the MLS World Stars against the MLS USA '94 squad before the All-Star Game a few weeks ago. What was it like coaching all of those legends, and in a sense, against the U.S. Men's National Team?
Bruce Arena: â€œWell, that was just a fun exercise, to welcome back players from the league. In all fairness, that game was not played in that much of a serious manner. It was just a friendly game, an enjoyable game that was really dedicated to those players and to thank them. It wasnâ€™t something that Iâ€™d put at the top of my coaching memories in the sport, however, it was certainly an honor to have around guys that played for me such as Etcheverry or guys like Valderrama, Campos and other great players.â€
CC: With MLS missing some of the legendary playmakers like Valderrama, Etcheverry, Cienfuegos and Preki that helped make the league what it is, do you think MLS is suffering at all from a lack of creativity and/or attacking standpoint in 2004?
5) â€œMARK THAT CALENDARâ€
WNT vs. Japan â€“ Friday, August 20 @ 11 a.m. ET
[LIVE on MSNBC, Telemundo and ussoccer.comâ€™s MatchTracker]
A stern reminder about an upcoming U.S. Soccer-related event, whether you plan to check it out live and in person, on the â€œtellyâ€ or that wacky world wide web.
Itâ€™s a case of â€œgood news, bad newsâ€ in Greece for the U.S. Womenâ€™s National Team. What do you want to hear first? The good news? Good choice.
The good news is that the U.S. Women continued their unbeaten streak in the opening round of Olympic competition while giving up just one goal in three games, defeating Greece 3-0 on Aug. 11, edging Brazil 2-0 on Aug. 14 and drawing 1-1 with Australia on Aug. 17. Need more good news? Well, Abby and Mia continue to spark the U.S. offense, with each player scoring in both of the opening round wins. And the defense looks solid, with Joy Fawcett shutting down even the quickest of opponents and owning our third with Ms. Perfect, Briana Scurry.
Fans can follow the match live on MSNBC and Telemundo at 11 a.m. ET or on ussoccer.comâ€™s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
6) â€œDESERTED ISLAND DISCSâ€ (w/ U-19 WNT midfielder Angie Woznuk)
Chances are that U.S. Youth National Team star Angie Woznuk will never end up on a deserted island. But if she did, she wouldnâ€™t be there for long, especially with her 82 first cousins and the rest of her massive extended family forming the search party. The 19-year-old from El Cajon, Calif., who is known as â€œWozillaâ€ to teammates, is one of the top scorers for both the U.S. Under-19 Womenâ€™s National Team and the University of Portland. But this Fall, the 5-5 midfielder will be taking a break from nutmegging opponents in college soccer in help the U.S. defend their world title in Thailand from November 10-27. Below are Angieâ€™s favorite five albums if and when that deserted island thing ever happens.
Maroon 5, "Songs About Jane" (Octone Records, 2002):
â€œI love listening to this CD when I have a lot of spare time. It has a great mixture of slow and upbeat songs. It also makes me think of â€¦
7) CAN YOU HAIKU? (MNT Semifinal Qualifying)
Our brand new "Can You Haiku?" piece was so popular in the July issue of that we're taking the "if it ain't broke..." approach and offered another forum for you to express your views and zen-like thoughts about a given topic through some simple and beautiful haiku poetry.
As you might know from last month, the popular Japanese form is traditionally made up of three lines of separate thoughts that together tell about the same simple subject matter, with the number of syllables restricted to: 5 in the first line, 7 in the second line and 5 in the third line.
With the U.S. Men having opened the semifinal round of FIFA 2006 World Cup Qualifying against Jamaica on August 18, they are the topic of this month's "Can You Haiku?" Here are the top responses, some of which dealt directly with the USAâ€™s semifinal opener and some of which dealt with qualifying as whole:
McBride rules up front
Landon owns the midfield
Yanks are Deutschland bound.
--Jacob Krall / 20 / Portland, Ore.
8) â€œYOU DONâ€™T KNOW JACK (MARSHALL)â€ (U.S. Menâ€™s Semifinal Qualifying Trivia)
Think you know your soccer trivia? Weâ€™ll be the judge of that. Pop quiz: who the heck is Jack Marshall? Even the trivia buffs in the U.S. Soccer Communications Department would be hard-pressed to tell you that one Jack Marshall received his one and only cap way back in 1926. Okay, that was pretty much impossible. They get easier. We give you four questions at varying difficulty levels, from 1 (easiest) to 4 (hardest).
It hardly seems like itâ€™s been four years since the last go-round of World Cup qualifying, but I guess time flies when youâ€™re busy solidifying your stature as one of the top 10 teams in the world. But the semifinal round hasnâ€™t always been a breeze for the U.S., so letâ€™s not just assume weâ€™re on the way to Germany just yet. In the meantime, hereâ€™s some trivia about past semifinal rounds of qualifying:
Q1: Which U.S. goalkeeper has recorded five shutouts in seven matches during the semifinal round of World Cup Qualifying?
Q2: Which CONCACAF rival is the only team to ever have beaten the U.S. in a semifinal round World Cup qualifier?
Q3: Who scored the final U.S. goal in the 1996 semifinal round to earn a 2-2 road draw versus Guatemala:
b. Frankie Hejduk
c. Roy Lassiter
d. Thomas Dooley
Q4: Who are the six players that have scored more than one goal for the U.S. in the semifinal round of qualifying?