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Soccer Wire: March 31, 2008


U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM TO FACE ARGENTINA ON JUNE 8;
MNT EARNS 3-0 WIN AGAINST POLAND IN KRAKOW;
U.S. WNT SET TO KICK OFF 2008 CONCACAF WOMEN’S
OLYMPIC QUALIFYING IN CIUDAD JUAREZ, MEXICO, ON APRIL 4

MNT TO FACE NO. 1 RANKED ARGENTINA ON JUNE 8: The U.S. Men’s National Team will face Argentina at Giants Stadium on June 8 to cap off a blockbuster trio of friendlies before kicking off 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying. The match against the world’s No. 1 ranked team follows a two-game tour in Europe where the U.S. will take on England on May 28 in London and Spain on June 4 in Santander. The match against Argentina will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised live on ESPN Classic and Galavision. Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. Ticket information will be announced shortly. The U.S. begins the quest to qualify for their sixth-consecutive World Cup finals when they take on Barbados on June 15 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The second leg of the home-and-away series will be played either June 21 or 22 in Barbados. Prior to the USA’s first World Cup qualifier, the U.S. will have faced six teams that at one time have been ranked in the top 15 in the world since 2007 – Argentina, Brazil, England, Mexico, Sweden and Spain. The match against England on May 28 will take place at the 90,000-seat Wembley Stadium and will kick off at 8 p.m. local (3 p.m. ET), live on ESPN Classic and Univision. The U.S. will then move to continental Europe to take on fourth-ranked Spain on June 4 at the Estadio El Sardinero in Santander.

BOCANEGRA, ONYEWU AND LEWIS SCORE IN 3-0 WIN AGAINST POLAND: Goals by a pair of defenders and a swerving free kick from Eddie Lewis paced the U.S. to a convincing 3-0 win against Poland in Krakow. With the win, the U.S. improved their lifetime record against Poland to an even 7-7-2. Landon Donovan provided both assists on the first half goals from Carlos Bocanegra and Oguchi Onyewu as the U.S. remained unbeaten in 2008, posting a 2-0-1 record. The victory marked the first time the U.S. MNT has won consecutive games on European soil and first time they have won three consecutive road games. The U.S. defeated Switzerland, 1-0, in Basel on Oct. 17, 2007, in their last match in Europe, and then a month later defeated South Africa in Johannesburg. The three-goal margin of victory was also the largest for the U.S. in Europe since a 3-0 victory against Austria in Vienna in 1998. After coming off the field in Krakow, the U.S. learned their opponent for the second round of 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying, as Barbados defeated Dominica 1-0 to win the first-round series 2-1 on aggregate. The U.S. hosts their first qualifier on June 15 at The Home Depot Center, with the second leg to be played either June 21 or 22 in Barbados.

SUNDHAGE NAMES 20-PLAYER OLYMPIC QUALIFYING ROSTER: U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Pia Sundhage has chosen the 20-player roster to travel to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, for 2008 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying as the USA attempts to earn one of two berths to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. All 10 games of the qualifying competition will be held at the Estadio Olímpico Benito Juarez. The U.S. is in Group A and will open the tournament on April 4 vs. Jamaica at 7:30 p.m. PT before facing Mexico on April 6 at 12:30 p.m. PT. The top two teams from Group A will advance to the semifinals, where they will cross over to face the top two teams from Group B, which features Canada, Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago. The winners of the April 9 semifinals will qualify for the 2008 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in Beijing. Sundhage is allowed to suit up 18 players for each match, but can rotate her active roster from game to game.

2008 U.S. WNT CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.), Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.);
DEFENDERS (6): Rachel Buehler (Del Mar, Calif.), Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.), Stephanie Cox (Elk Grove, Calif.), Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.), Cat Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala.);
MIDFIELDERS (7): Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Tobin Heath (Basking Ridge, N.J.), Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.), Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis.), Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Kacey White (Arlington, Texas);
FORWARDS (5): Lauren Cheney (Indianapolis, Ind.), Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawaii), Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), Amy Rodriguez (Lake Forest, Calif.), Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.).

U.S. WNT Olympic Qualifying Schedule
Date         Match-Up                                Kickoff
April 4       USA vs. Jamaica                  7:30 p.m. PT
April 6       USA vs. Mexico                     1:30 p.m. MT
April 9       Semifinals                             5 p.m. MT / 7:30 p.m. MT
April 12     Final/Third-place Game     7:30 p.m. MT / 5 p.m. MT

Note: In Mexico, Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. local time on the first Sunday in April, which would be April 5, meaning the matches on April 2 and 4 are the same as Pacific Time while the matches on April 6, 9 and 12 will be played on Mountain Time.

WNT TO FACE AUSTRALIA ON APRIL 27 & MAY 3: The U.S. Women’s National Team will play their first two domestic matches of 2008 against Australia, taking on the Matildas on April 27 in Cary, N.C., and on May 3 in Birmingham, Ala. The two games are the first in the United States for new U.S. WNT head coach Pia Sundhage. The U.S. faces Australia first at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., kicking off at 7 p.m. ET before meeting the Matildas again at 5 p.m. ET (4 p.m. local) at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. The second match will be televised live from Legion Field on Fox Soccer Channel on Saturday. Fans can follow both matches online with ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. For the match in Birmingham, tickets starting at $18 are now on sale through ussoccer.com, by calling 205-715-6000, and at all Birmingham-area Ticketmaster ticket centers (including Publix and FYE stores). For the game in Cary, tickets starting at $18 are on sale to the general public through ussoccer.com, by phone at 919-834-4000, and at all Raleigh-Durham area Ticketmaster ticket centers (including Macy’s and FYE stores). Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form for either game at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290. The matches come less than two weeks after the U.S. concludes CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and will hopefully be using the matches as preparation for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.

2008 U.S. WNT Post-Qualifying Schedule
Date        Opponent      Location                                                     Kickoff
April 27   Australia        WakeMed Soccer Park (Cary, N.C.)      7 p.m. ET
May 3      Australia         Legion Field (Birmingham, Ala.)           4 p.m. CT (FSC)

– YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

UNIVERSITY OF PORTLAND TO HOST U.S. U-23 WNT ON APRIL 18: The U.S. U-23 Women's National Team will face off against the University of Portland women's soccer team on April 18 at 7 p.m. PT at the Clive Charles Soccer Complex. Tickets for the event are now on sale at all Ticketmaster outlets, online at ticketmaster.com or by phone at (503) 224-4400. Fans may also purchase tickets, beginning at $8 for adults and $6 for children, at the Pilots Box Office, which is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. PT. Group packages are also available.

U.S. UNDER-20 WOMEN HEAD TO TRAINING CAMP AT THE HDC: U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team head coach Tony DiCicco will hold a seven-day training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., from April 5-12 as the team continues preparation for CONCACAF Qualifying for the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. DiCicco has called in 34 players for this camp, which will be used to evaluate numerous new players before he begins to narrow down the player pool in preparation for qualifying. The U.S. U-20s will play four matches during the camp as DiCicco splits his squad for a pair of matches on April 8 and April 12. On April 8, the USA will take on the W-League Pali Blues at 11 a.m. followed by a match against Loyola Marymount University at 1 p.m. On April 12, the U-20s will square off against two college teams, playing Long Beach State at 11 a.m. and UCLA at 1 p.m. The dates and venue for U-20 CONCACAF qualification have yet to be confirmed, but the tournament will likely occur in June. The 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup will feature 16 teams. Ten countries have qualified thus far:

Asia: China, Japan, North Korea
Africa: TBD (two berths)
Europe: England, France, Germany, Norway
CONCACAF: TBD (three berths)
Oceania: TBD (one berth)
South America: Brazil, Argentina
Host: Chile

U.S. U-20 WNTeam Roster
GOALKEEPERS (4): Kristin Arnold (Texas A & M), Amanda Barasha (Wake Forest), Chantel Jones (Virginia), Natalie Kulla (Marquette);
DEFENDERS (10): Ashley Bowyer (Ohio State), Kaley Fountain (Wake Forest), Liz Harkin (ASU), Meghan Klingenberg (UNC), Kelly Lynch (Virginia Tech), Brittney Macdonald (Miami), Blakely Mattern (South Carolina), Nikki Moore (Central Florida), Ella Stephan (Florida State), Lauren Wilmoth (UCLA);
MIDFIELDERS (10): Gina Demaio (Rutgers), Gina DiMartino (Boston College), Tanya Emerson (Tennessee), Melissa Hayes (Penn State), Christine Nairn (South Central Freedom), Lizzy Nichols (Harvard), Katie Sheeleigh (Harvard), Rachel Shipley (Texas A & M), Katie Vogel (Clemson), Kylie Wright (UCLA);
FORWARDS (10): Kiersten Dallstream (Washington State), Kristina Larsen (UCLA), Sydney Leroux (Sereno FC), Alyssa Mautz (Texas A & M), Tiffany McCarty (Freestate Shooters), Jessica McDonald (Phoenix College), Alex Morgan (California), Casey Nogueira (UNC), Brittney Steinbruch (Miami), Nikki Washington (UNC).

U.S. U-20 WNT Schedule
Date        Match-Up                              Time           Venue
April 8     USA U-20 vs. Pali Blues    11 a.m.       Carson, Calif.
April 8     USA U-20 vs. LMU               1 p.m.         Carson, Calif.
April 12   USA U-20 vs. LBSU            11 a.m.       Carson, Calif.
April 12   USA U-20 vs. UCLA            1 p.m.          Carson, Calif.

2008 CONCACAF WOMEN'S U-17 CHAMPIONSHIP TO TAKE PLACE IN TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: The 2008 CONCACAF Women's Under-17 Championship will be held July 17-21 at Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet and Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya, Trinidad. The eight-team tournament will include the U.S. U-17 Women's National Team, along with Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Jamaica and Puerto Rico, as well as host Trinidad & Tobago. The draw to determine groups for the first round of the tournament will be announced at a later date. The tournament will serve as qualifying for the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in New Zealand, which will take place from Oct. 28-Nov. 16, 2008.

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

2008 CONCACAF BEACH SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP FIXTURES SET: The 2008 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship will take place April 17-19 at the Unidad Deportiva Municipal Agustín Flores Contreras in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Along with the United States, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Mexico will compete for two spots at the 2008 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Marseille, France, on July 17-27.

U.S. 2008 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Schedule
Date        Opponent        Time
April 17   Costa Rica      5:15 p.m. CT
April 18   El Salvador      5:15 p.m. CT
April 19   Mexico              6:30 p.m. CT

NIGERIA BOOKS A SPOT AT THE 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES: With their convincing 3-0 win over South Africa on March 26, Nigeria booked the 16th and final spot in this summer’s Men’s Olympic Football Tournament in Beijing. Two goals from Olympic Marseille’s Taye Taiwo and one from Everton’s Victor Anichebe led Nigeria to a first-place finish in their qualifying group. Nigeria will join the Ivory Coast and Cameroon as African representatives in Beijing. The U.S. qualified on March 20, by virtue of their 3-0 win over Canada in the semifinal of CONCACAF Qualifying, joining Honduras as the region’s two representatives. With all 16 teams now set, the draw for the Olympic tournament will take place on April 20 in Beijing.

AFC: Australia, Japan, Korea Republic
CAF: Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Nigeria
CONCACAF: Honduras, United States
CONMEBOL: Argentina, Brazil  
OFC: New Zealand
UEFA: Belgium, Italy, Netherlands, Serbia
HOST: China

U.S. SOCCER SPRING COACHING SCHOOL SET: U.S. Soccer's National Coaching School Spring dates have been set for March 29-April 6. The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. will host both an “A” Audit and a “B” License course. The “B” License course is currently sold out. Space is limited for the “A” Audit course. More information is available in the Coaches Section of ussoccer.com.

U.S. SOCCER’S “C” LICENSE COURSE EARNS RAVE REVIEWS: U.S. Soccer’s Spanish “C” License Course was completed this past week in Miami, Fla., garnering plenty of enthusiasm from coaches. A total of 50 coaches from 19 countries were led by National Staff Coaches Juan Carlos Michia, Roberto Lopez and Rene Miramontes. “The response we received was terrific,” said Michia. “This was a great opportunity for us to introduce our coaching philosophies to new coaches.”

ACUVUE BRAND CONTACT WORKING WITH WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM: As the Official Vision Care provider of U.S. Soccer, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care and ACUVUE Brand Contact Lenses recently provided the Women’s National Team with state-of-the-art vision testing, assessment and education. The personalized assessments are designed to correct the athletes’ vision. Players and coaches alike found the vision testing to be so valuable that plans are currently in place to test additional National Teams. In a special program designed for U.S. Soccer fans, ACUVUE has created a web-site allowing fans the opportunity to secure a complimentary pair of corrective contact lenses. By completing a brief form fans will receive a certificate which can be redeemed for a free pair of ACUVUE Brand Contact Lenses. In addition, fans can enter to win a trip to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. To take advantage of these exclusive offers click here: https://www.jnjvision.com/hosoccer/start.do?promoId=153&product=DNK&rc=Q28&srcid=web.

*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: The Colorado Rapids got off to a flying start to their season this Saturday, obliterating the L.A. Galaxy, 4-0, in front of a raucous crowd at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Rapids star Cristian Gomez was ebullient in the center of the field for his new team, and Fernando Clavijo's side was deservedly victorious in the opening game of their 2008 campaign. It will be a quick turnaround for the Galaxy, who face expansion side San Jose Earthquakes on ESPN2’s Thursday night's MLS game at 10:30 p.m. ET.

SOCCER SHOCKER: After making every effort to score 1,000 goals in his career, winning a World Cup with Brazil and playing on various clubs from Barcelona to Miami FC, former Brazilian Romario is finally hanging up his boots. The 42-year-old announced that he will not continue to play professionally after his contract with Vasco da Gama expired on March 30, although he may still participate in farewell matches.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: The quest to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing kicks off on Friday, April 4, for the U.S. Women’s National Team, who takes on Jamaica at 7:30 p.m. PT. Click here to see the WNT roster for the tournament, as well as a full tournament schedule.

QUOTABLE: “I always wanted to end as I began, without anyone noticing. I said that when it was least expected I would stop. But it could happen that I could still do one or two farewell games ... who knows? I'm in this situation because I want to be. I've taken the advantage to stay with my children. That's what makes me happy.”
-- Brazilian striker Romario, announcing his retirement this past weekend as his contract with Brazilian club Vasco da Gama expired.

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