ED JOHNSON WINS GOLDEN BOOT AT U-20 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WITH FOUR GOALS: With Brazil topping Spain 1-0 in the final of the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship last week, U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team forward Ed Johnson officially won the Golden Boot, awarded to the leading goal scorer of the tournament. Johnson notched four goals in five games, and he was an instrumental part of the USA’s remarkable run to the quarterfinals to secure their second-best finish ever in a World Youth Championship. Johnson finished tied atop the scoring list with Argentina’s Fernando Cavenaghi and Brazil’s Dudu with four goals apiece, but took home the Golden Boot as the first tiebreaker for players even on goals is assists (Johnson had one, while the two others had zero). It marks the first time that a U.S. men’s player has won the Golden Boot at any FIFA World Championship. The only other male player to finish as one of the top three scorers in a FIFA World Championship was Taylor Twellman, who was awarded the Bronze Boot for his four goals at the 1999 World Youth Championship in Nigeria. Johnson also joined former Spain U-20 star Javier Saviola (2001) with three penalties scored in the tournament, tops in FIFA World Youth Championship history.
U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Accomplishments at the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship
* First time the U.S. has ever won their group at a FIFA World Youth Championship
* Second time ever advancing to the quarterfinals of a World Youth Championship and first since the tournament increased to 24 teams in ’97
* The team’s three victories in five games matched the most wins by a U.S. team in any FIFA Men’s World Championship.
* The team’s 5th Place finish was the second best for the U.S. (behind the 4th Place finish in Saudi Arabia ’89) and just its third top ten finish ever (U.S. finished 8th in Australia ’93)
* Increased streak of advancing out of group play to six straight appearances (’89, ’93, ’97, ’99, ’01, ’03)
* Scored nine goals, tying the U.S. U-17 MNT in New Zealand ’99 with the most goals ever by a U.S. team in any FIFA Men’s World Championship.
* The three goals scored against Paraguay were the second most the U.S. has scored in an opening match of a World Youth Championship in nine attempts, only bettered by a 6-0 thrashing of Turkey in 1993.
* Posted a 1.20 Goals Against Average, the second lowest ever by a U.S. team at a FIFA World Youth Championship and the lowest by a team that advanced out of group play
CONVEY, CRONIN NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM FOR U.A.E. 2003: U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team standouts Bobby Convey and Steve Cronin were named to the 20-player FIFA World Youth Championship All-Star Team, as selected by the FIFA Technical Study Group and announced today. Both players were essential to the USA’s run to the quarterfinals, before eventually falling to Argentina 2-1 in overtime. Convey was the best all-around player on the field for the U.S., controlling the midfield and creating most of the attacks. He lead the team with two assists and was second on the team in goals with two, including a brilliant upper-ninety strike against Paraguay. Cronin led the U.S. defense, registering two shutouts in five games. His best outing was in the quarterfinals against Argentina, where he almost willed the U.S. into the semifinals with spectacular saves throughout the match.
ARENA TO ANNOUNCE JAN. 18 ROSTER ON ussoccer.com TOMORROW AT NOON (ET): U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bruce Arena will announce his January training camp roster online at ussoccer.com tomorrow at Noon (ET). After a two-week camp, the roster will be pared down to 18 for the team’s first match at The Home Depot Center as they face 13th ranked Denmark on Sunday, Jan. 18 in Carson, Calif. Kickoff for the match is set for 12:30 p.m. PT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN. Fans can also follow the match live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The U.S. and Denmark have met three times in their history, with the United States still in search of their first victory after posting a 0-1-2 record. The teams last faced off nearly seven years ago, Denmark winning 4-1 in the final match of U.S. Cup ’97 in Pasadena, Calif. Despite its size, Denmark has a history of being one of the stronger and most consistent sides in Europe. Having qualified for their third consecutive World Cup finals, the Danes impressed by reaching the Round of 16 in the 2002 World Cup, emerging from group play with victories against defending champions France and Uruguay. Tickets for the Jan. 18 match are on sale at all Los Angeles area Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone [L.A. 213-480-3232; Orange County 714-740-2000; San Diego 619-220-8497], or online at ussoccer.com. Tickets are priced at $50 for Midfield, $35 for Sideline, $27 for Corners, and $20 for Endlines. Information on group discounts is available by calling 312-528-1290.
MNT, U-23 MNT CAMPS FINISH WITH PAIR OF SCRIMMAGES: The U.S. Men's National Team completed a week-long training camp last week, closing out their debut visit to the National Training Center in Carson, Calif., with a 0-0 draw against the Under-23 MNT on Dec. 18. In a scrimmage two days earlier, the U-23 defeated the full MNT 2-0 on goals from forward Nate Jaqua (Chicago Fire) and midfielder Brian Carroll (D.C. United). Eighteen players went through the paces of a casual but intense week of MNT training, leaving U.S. Manager Bruce Arena satisfied with the results. "We had a very positive week. It was a good chance to get to see some new faces up close and personal," said Arena. "The players put forth an outstanding effort, and I'm sure we will be seeing many of them again as we continue to build a team to compete in World Cup qualifying starting in June." The MNT and the U-23s will both resume training on Jan. 4 in Carson, with the Men having an eye towards their first match of the new year against Denmark on Jan. 18 at The Home Depot Center and the U-23s preparing for the final round of Olympic Qualifying on Feb. 2-12 in Guadalajara, Mexico.
U.S. MEN COULD FACE EL SALVADOR, JAMAICA, PANAMA IN W.C.Q. SEMI-FINAL ROUND: At the FIFA Preliminary Draw for the 2006 World Cup in Frankfurt, Germany, on Dec. 5, the U.S. Men's National Team learned that it will open its quest to qualify for a fifth consecutive World Cup on June 12/13 in Group 1 with a home match versus the winner of an opening-round series between the small nations of Guyana and Grenada. The U.S. will play the away leg of their preliminary round series the following weekend, June 19/20. The U.S. Men have never played Guyana or Grenada the full team's 87-year history. The U.S. also learned their three potential opponents in one of the three Semifinal Round groups, where they could face El Salvador, Jamaica, and Panama should each country advance out of their early-round mini-groups. El Salvador awaits the winner of Bermuda-Montserrat in Group 2, Jamaica faces the winner of Haiti and Turks & Caicos Islands in Group 3, while Panama meets the winner of the British Virgin Islands and St. Lucia in Group 4. As qualifiers for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the USA, Mexico and Costa Rica cannot face one another until the third and final stage of qualifying.
U.S. U-23 MNT TO FACE PANAMA, CANADA & HONDURAS IN MEXICO IN FEBRUARY: The U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team learned its schedule for the final round of CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying, which will take place from February 2-12, 2004, in Guadalajara, Mexico. The USA will play all three Group A matches at Estadio Tres de Marzo, facing Panama first on Tuesday, Feb. 3, followed by matches against Canada on Thursday, Feb. 5 and Honduras on Sunday, Feb. 7. Kickoff times have yet to be determined for any of the final round matches, but all U.S. games can be followed by fans live via ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The tournament opens on Monday, Feb. 2 with Group B action featuring Costa Rica, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and the host nation at Estadio Jalisco. The top two teams from each group will meet in the single-elimination semifinals on Tuesday, Feb. 10 at Estadio Jalisco, with the winner of Group A meeting the second-place team from Group B, and the winner of Group B meeting the second-place team from Group A. The two semi-final winners will earn automatic berths to Athens 2004 and meet in the final on Thursday, Feb. 12.
GROUP A (All matches at Estadio Tres de Marzo)
Date Match-up Kickoff (local)
Feb. 3 Canada vs. Honduras TBD
Panama vs. USA TBD
Feb. 5 Honduras vs. Panama TBD
Canada vs. USA TBD
Feb. 7 Canada vs. Panama TBD
Honduras vs. USA TBD
GROUP B (All matches at Estadio Jalisco)
Date Match-up Kickoff (local)
Feb. 2 Costa Rica vs. Jamaica TBD
T&T vs. Mexico TBD
Feb. 4 Costa Rica vs. T&T TBD
Jamaica vs. Mexico TBD
Feb. 6 T&T vs. Jamaica TBD
Costa Rica vs. Mexico TBD
SINGLE ELIMINATION (All matches at Estadio Jalisco)
Date Match-up Kickoff (local)
Feb. 10 Semi #1 (A1 vs. B2) TBD
Semi #2 (A2 vs. B1) TBD
Final / Third Place
Date Match-up Kickoff (local)
Feb. 12 Semi Losers TBD
Semi Winners TBD
TEAMS SET FOR CONCACAF WOMEN'S OLYMPIC QUALIFYING IN COSTA RICA IN 2004: Mexico earned the last berth into the Final Round of 2004 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualification, after defeating the host Honduras 6-0 in the preliminary triangular Series D at the Estadio Tibercio Carias Andino in Tegucigalpa on Dec. 14. The Final Round of CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualification is set for February 25-March 7, 2004 in San José, Costa Rica, and will feature two groups of four teams with Canada, Jamaica, Guatemala and the host in Group A, while Group B is composed of Haiti, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago and the USA. The top two teams in each group advance to the semifinals. The two semifinal winners will earn the CONCACAF’s automatic berths to Athens.
Final Round – CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying (Women)
Group A: Canada, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Jamaica
Group B: Haiti, Trinidad & Tobago, USA, Mexico
U.S. U-19s HEAD TO CARSON FOR WEEK-LONG CAMP TO KICK OFF 2004: U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team head coach Tracey Leone will kick off what promises to be an exciting 2004 with a training camp from Saturday (Dec. 27) through Jan. 2 at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Leone will bring in a roster of 26 as the team begins to focus on the CONCACAF U-19 Women’s Qualifying Tournament that will be held in Ottawa and Montreal, Canada, from May 28-June 6, 2004. The top two finishers at that tournament qualify for the second FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship to be held in Thailand from Nov. 10-27, 2004. Of the 26 players, 12 are college freshman, 11 are high school seniors, two are high school juniors and one is a high school sophomore in forward Alexa Orand (Orange, Calif.). Leone has called in four veterans from the 2002 U-19 World Championship Team that are still age-eligible for the squad in forwards Kerri Hanks and Angela Woznuk, defender Rachel Buehler and goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris.
U.S. U-19 WNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (4): Ashlyn Harris (Satellite Beach, Fla.), Val Henderson (Orinda, Calif.), Ashley Phillips (West Peabody, Mass.), Julie Ryder (Santa Clara); DEFENDERS (9): Rachel Buehler (Stanford), Jen Buczkowski (Notre Dame), Shannon Foley (Virginia), Nicole Krzysik (Clifton, N.J.), Stephanie Logterman (Austin, Texas), Stephanie Lopez (Elk Grove, Calif.), Jessica Maxwell (UNC), Becky Sauerbrunn (Virginia), India Trotter (Florida State); MIDFIELDERS (4): Elyse Nikonchuck (Missouri), Ashlee Pistorius (Bloomington, Ind.), Lorraine Quinn (Farmingdale, N.Y.), Jennifer Redmond (Morristown, N.J.); FORWARDS (9): Cydne Currie (Irving, Texas), Bristyn Davis (UCLA), Sheree Gray (Toms River, N.J.), Kerri Hanks (Allen, Texas), Kia McNeil (Avon, Conn.), Alexa Orand (Orange, Calif.), Megan Rapinoe (Redding, Calif.), Julia Schnugg (Florida State), Angela Woznuk (Portland).
U.S. UNDER-17 ‘88s MNT TO COMPETE IN DISNEY SOCCER SHOWCASE: The U.S. Under-17 ‘88s Men’s National Team will come together in Orlando after their Christmas break to take part in the Disney Soccer Showcase from Dec. 26-30 at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex. The U.S. will compete in the Super Group, compiled with teams from the U.S., Africa, Germany and Finland. The U-17s will open the tournament on Friday (Dec. 26) against Ajax Capetown (Africa) at 7 p.m. before facing a pair of Regional teams, going up against Region IV on Saturday (Dec. 27) and Region III on Sunday (Dec. 28). On Dec. 29, the U.S. will face the Finland U-17s, and then finish up the showcase against Region I on Dec. 30. Ellinger has brought a squad of 20 players, all of which will be participating in the U.S. Soccer Full-Time Residency Program this spring in Bradenton, Fla.
U.S. U-17 ‘88s MNT Schedule – Disney Soccer Showcase
Dec. 26 Ajax Capetown (Africa)
Dec. 27 Region IV
Dec. 28 Region III
Dec. 29 Finland U-17
Dec. 30 Region I
U.S. U-17 ‘88s Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Evan Newton (Virginia Beach, Va.), Bryant Rueckne (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.); DEFENDERS (5): Richard Edgar (Mechanicsville, Md.), Eric Lichaj (Downer’s Grove, Ill.), Ofori Sarkodie (Huber Heights, Ohio), Jeff Scannella (Alpharetta, Ga.), Taylor Waspi (Deer Park, Ill.); MIDFIELDERS (8): Kevin Alston (Silver Spring, Md.), Tony Ampaipitakwong (Carrollton, Texas), Michael Dalpra (Bronxville, N.Y.), Michael Farfan (San Diego, Calif.), Cameron Jordan (Ft. Wayne, Ind.), Kyle Nakazawa (Palos Verdes East, Calif.), Jonathan Villanueva (Dallas, Texas), Blake Wagner (Tampa, Fla.); FORWARDS (5): Gabriel Farfan (San Diego, Calif.), Jeremy Hall (Tampa, Fla.), Quavas Kirk (Aurora, Ill.), Michael Stevens (Woodridge, Ill.), Ryan Soroka (Langhorne, Pa.).
2003 “BEST OF U.S. SOCCER” AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED: U.S. Soccer announced last week the 2003 winners of the prestigious and increasingly popular “Best of U.S. Soccer” awards series. These second annual year-end awards were introduced across the week of Nov. 3-7 after U.S. head coaches Bruce Arena and April Heinrichs helped pick the seven finalists for each of the unique honors. The voting was done entirely by fans, who responded in great numbers by logging on to ussoccer.com from Nov. 10-Dec. 9 with the chance to vote once a day for one or all of the 11 categories and win special prizes from Philips Electronics. One year after the Columbus Crew led the inaugural series with a trio of awards (Best Soccer Stadium, Best Game Promotion and Best U.S. Goal for Brian McBride), the city of Chicago picked up a pair of honors as the only multiple winner.
Best U.S. Soccer Story: Tim Howard's Signing, Performance with Manchester United
Best Soccer Bar: Ginger’s Ale House (Chicago, Ill.)
Best Soccer Store: Gotshalk’s (Boston, Mass.)
Best U.S. Crowd: May 8 @ Reliant Stadium -- 69,582
Best Soccer Stadium: The Home Depot Center (Carson, Calif.)
Best Soccer Fans: Chicago
Best Soccer Promotion: U.S. MNT Retro jerseys
Best Game Performance (Player): Abby Wambach vs. Norway – Oct. 1
Best Game Performance (Team): U.S. WNT 3, Sweden 1 – Sept. 21
Best U.S. Goal (Youth National Team): Freddy Adu vs. Poland – June 4
Best U.S. Goal (Full National Team): Kristine Lilly vs. Sweden – Sept. 21
YALLOP NAMED HEAD COACH OF CANADIAN MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM: The Canadian Soccer Association last week named former Canadian international defender Frank Yallop as head coach of the Men’s World Cup Team, effective January 1, 2004 through to the end of 2006. The contract also holds an option for an extension to 2010. All other terms of the contract are confidential. The team has been without a head coach since Holger Osieck resigned on Sept. 2. Colin Miller, another former Canadian international and a teammate of Yallop’s, acted as interim head coach for the recent friendlies against Finland, Czech Republic and the Republic of Ireland. On November 23, Yallop led the San Jose Earthquakes to their second MLS Championship in his three-year tenure as head coach with a 4-2 win over the Chicago Fire in the MLS Cup.
USL ANNOUNCES 2004 ALIGNMENT FOR A-LEAGUE, PRO SELECT LEAGUE: United Soccer Leagues announced last week the official alignments for the A-League and Pro Soccer League for the 2004 season. The 16-team A-League will remain with a two-conference format, while eliminating the division format within. The Eastern Conference will be comprised of nine clubs, while the Western will include seven. Two expansion clubs highlight the ‘04 alignment, with Edmonton set to begin play as a member of the West and Puerto Rico a member of the East. The 12-team Pro Soccer League, which will return to a divisional format in 2004, is highlighted by the expansion Harrisburg City Islanders and the addition of former A-League clubs Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Charlotte Eagles. Teams moving from the A-League and PSL to the Premier Development League in 2004 are El Paso, Indiana, Carolina, New Jersey and Reading.
USL ANNOUNCES 2004 W-LEAGUE SCHEDULE: United Soccer Leagues released the W-League schedule for the 2004 season, the league’s 10th Anniversary season. The 259-game season is set to start play May 8 with five matches, including one of the league’s inaugural clubs as the Long Island Lady Riders travel to Rhode Island to face the expansion Lady Stingrays in the opening game of the W-League season. Opening night will also feature two other expansion clubs playing their first games as the Richmond Kickers Destiny travel to take on the Carolina Dynamo Women and the Detroit Jaguars play host to the Cincinnati Ladyhawks.