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U.S. Soccer Wire: Dec. 21, 2009


U.S. MNT SET FOR TWO INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLIES IN 2010;
2009 BEST OF U.S. SOCCER AWARDS WINNERS AND U.S. SOCCER ATHLETES OF THE YEAR ANNOUNCED

U.S. TO FACE HONDURAS AND NETHERLANDS IN INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLIES AHEAD OF 2010 FIFA WORLD CUP IN SOUTH AFRICA:  The U.S. Men's National Team will continue preparation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in January with a match against Honduras in Carson, Calif. The friendly will conclude the team’s annual January training camp at The Home Depot Center with the match against CONCACAF foe and fellow World Cup finalist to be played on Jan. 23 at 6 p.m. PT. The game will be broadcast in English on Fox Soccer Channel and in Spanish on Galavision. The showdown with the Dutch, scheduled for March 3, will allow the U.S. to face one of the top teams in the world on the only international fixture date in 2010 prior to the start of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Kickoff at the Amsterdam ArenA is set for 8:30 p.m. local time (2:30 p.m. ET), and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Galavision. Fans can also follow both matches on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.

U.S. Men’s National Team 2010 Schedule

ussoccer.com’s MNT Coverage – Dec 15 – Dec. 21

U.S. SOCCER ANNOUNCES 2009 ATHLETES OF THE YEAR: For their excellence at the highest levels of the sport, U.S. Soccer named U.S. Men’s National Team forward Landon Donovan as the 2009 Male Athlete of the Year and U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper Hope Solo as the 2009 Female Athlete of the Year. Under-17 MNT midfielder Luis Gil and WNT and U-23 WNT midfielder Tobin Heath won the Young Male and Young Female Awards, respectively. The U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year award is the highest honor awarded to soccer players in the United States. The Male Athlete of the Year honor is the third for Donovan, who previously won back-to-back awards in 2003 and 2004. The 2009 prize ties the USA's all-time leading scorer with former Men's National Team goalkeeper Kasey Keller, who won the award in 1997, 1999 and 2005. Solo became the first goalkeeper to win Female Athlete of the Year. The U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year awards have a longer history than any major award in American soccer – more than 20 years. They join the FIFA Players of the Year as the only two awards to honor both the top male and the top female in the sport.

Male Athlete of the Year: Landon Donovan
Female Athlete of the Year:
Hope Solo
Young Male Athlete of the Year:
Luis Gil
Young Female Athlete of the Year:
Tobin Heath

2009 BEST OF U.S. SOCCER WINNERS ANNOUNCED AT USSOCCER.COM: U.S. Soccer has announced the winners of the 2009 Best of U.S. Soccer Awards following the conclusion of nearly three weeks of fan voting on ussoccer.com. Fans can view videos on ussoccer.com, where the winners were revealed. The eighth annual installment of the Best of U.S. Soccer Awards was decided entirely by fans, who cast their ballots from Nov. 23 to Dec. 13 on ussoccer.com.

2009 Best of U.S. Soccer Award Winners

Best Clutch Moment: U.S. Defense vs. Spain
Best Photo:
Spain Slips
Best Soccer Blog: Soccer By Ives
Best ussoccer.com Video:
Behind the Scenes, Oct. 14
Best Assist:
Landon Donovan vs. Mexico, Aug. 12
Best Fan Photo:
Stars and Stripes Forever
Best Performance – Team:
MNT vs. Spain, June 24
Best Soccer Specialty Store:
Soccer Fanatic, San Diego, Calif.
Best
Academy Story: Bill Hamid Goes Pro
Best Goal:
Landon Donovan vs. Brazil, June 28
Best Performance – Player:
Tim Howard vs. Spain, June, 24
Best Soccer Bar:
Fado Irish Pub, Seattle 

USA BID COMMITTEE BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETS IN NEW YORK AT MLS HEADQUARTERS: The USA Bid Committee to bring the FIFA World Cup™ to the United States in 2018 or 2022 hosted members of its board of directors on Dec. 15 for a meeting at Major League Soccer headquarters in New York City. U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati and USA Bid Committee Executive Director David Downs presided over the meeting to discuss the progress of the campaign and develop plans for the final year leading into the decision in December 2010 by FIFA on the host countries for the two World Cups at stake. 

USA STILL #1 IN FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD RANKINGS: The U.S. Women’s National Team held onto the top spot in the latest FIFA Women’s World Rankings released on Dec. 18, extending its lead over second-place Germany based on the 1-0 victory during a friendly in Augsburg, Germany, at the end of October. Brazil, Sweden and North Korea fill out the top-five, respectively. There were 93 matches taken into account in the latest ranking, just over half of which were part of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying campaign, which is well under way in Europe in particular. The next FIFA rankings will be released in March of 2010 after the annual Algarve Cup in Portugal. Five teams from the top ten will be competing in the tournament, including the USA and Germany. 

– U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

U-20 MNT RECONVENES FOR 36-PLAYER TRAINING CAMP IN CHULA VISTA: The U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team will conclude its first training camp of the new two-year cycle on Dec. 23 in Chula Vista, Calif. Head coach Thomas Rongen has been training with 36 players from professional clubs, colleges and youth clubs at the U.S. Olympic Training Center since Dec. 16. Included on the roster are FIFA U-20 World Cup veterans Gale Agbossoumonde and Dillon Powers. Joining them are 17 players who represented the United States at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in October. The camp is the first for Rongen that is made up exclusively of players born in 1991 or later, making them age-eligible for the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

U-20 Men’s National Team Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (3): Earl Edwards (Nomads SC; San Diego, Calif.), Justin Luthy (Boston College; Dublin, Ohio), Spencer Richey (Crossfire Premier; Seattle, Wash.)
DEFENDERS (12): Gale Agbossoumonde (Miami FC; Syracuse, N.Y.), Paolo Del Piccolo (Louisville; Lakewood, Colo.), Moises Hernandez (FC Dallas Juniors; Dallas), Zachary Herold (West Pines United; Port St. Lucie, Fla.), Perry Kitchen (Chicago Magic; Indianapolis, Ind.), Tyler Polak (CSA Legacy; Lincoln, Neb.), Kofi Sarkodie (Akron; Huber Heights, Ohio), Zarek Valentin (Akron; Lancaster, Pa.), Jared Watts (North Meck SC; Statesville, N.C.), Ethan White (Maryland; Kensington, Md.), Cesar Zamora (Chivas USA; Sylmar, Calif.), Eriq Zavaleta (FC Pride; Westfield, Ind.)
MIDFIELDERS (13): Jose Altamirano (San Diego State; San Diego), Cristian Castaneda (Hertha Berlin; Lutz, Fla.), Marlon Duran (Latino Americana; Duncanville, Texas), Luis Gil (Pateadores; Garden Grove, Calif.), Sebastian Lletget (West Ham United; San Francisco), Andrew Lubahn (Wake Forest; Erie, Pa.), Carlos Martinez (Wilmington Jrs.; San Pedro, Calif.), Colin Murphy (Boston College; Guilderland, N.Y.), Amobi Okugo (UCLA; Sacramento, Calif.), Nicholas Palodichuk (Washington Premier FC; Battleground, Wash.), Fabrice Picault (Cagliari Calcio; Miami), Dillon Powers (Notre Dame; Plano, Texas), Ben Speas (Akron; Stow, Ohio)
FORWARDS (8): Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls; Barnegat, N.J.), Will Bates (Virginia; Chester, Va.), Tristan Bowen (Los Angeles Galaxy; Van Nuys, Calif.), Victor Chavez (Real So Cal; Fontana, Calif.), Ryan Finley (Duke; Lumberton, N.J.), Stefan Jerome (West Pines United; Davie, Fla.), Jack McInerney (Cobb SC; Alpharetta, Ga.), Dominick Sarle (BW Gottschee; Huntington, N.Y.)

ussoccer.com’s U-20 MNT Coverage – Dec 15 – Dec. 21

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

JOSH BLUE INVOLVED IN COMEDY CENTRAL'S STAND-UP SHOWDOWN 2010: U.S. Paralympic Soccer National Team player Josh Blue is involved in Comedy Central's Stand-Up Showdown 2010. Fans can head to Comedy Central's website to cast a vote for Josh as he goes up against 19 other comedians in what is being billed as the "most extreme battle in comedy." Fans can vote once per minute throughout the competition. Tune in to Comedy Central in Jan. for a marathon of specials from the Top 20 comics, with the final countdown airing on Sunday, Jan. 31. Cast your vote for Josh at the Comedy Central website.

LAST MONTH FOR 2010 WERNER FRICKER BUILDER AWARD NOMINATIONS: Nominations are now being accepted for the 2010 U.S. Soccer Werner Fricker Builder Award, which is presented annually to an individual or individuals who have worked tirelessly in furthering the interest of the sport of soccer, without regard to personal recognition or advancement. The award was created in 2002 and is the greatest recognition bestowed by U.S. Soccer on its membership. The award is designed to honor those who have created or fostered programs that will outlast their own active involvement in the sport and that establish a lasting legacy in the history and structure of soccer in the United States. Interested persons can nominate individuals for the annual Werner Fricker Builder Award by downloading the form at ussoccer.com and mailing it to U.S. Soccer, c/o the Werner Fricker Builder Award Committee, 1801 S. Prairie Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616 or emailing it to AGM@ussoccer.org. Applications must be postmarked or sent by January 1, 2010 (download application).

U.S. SOCCER NATIONAL GOALKEEPING LICENSE COURSE ANNOUNCED: U.S. Soccer’s Coaching Department will conduct its National Goalkeeping License course Jan. 24-31, 2010, in Carson, Calif. at The Home Depot Center.

COACHESNET OFFERS INTERNATIONAL TRIPS IN 2010: U.S. Soccer’s CoachesNet is offering educational trips to both Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Madrid, Spain, in 2010. The announcement comes six months after the inaugural and successful coaching education trip that took place in Buenos Aires. Last week, CoachesNet Insider sat down with Estudiantes and Argentina veteran Juan Sebastián Verón to chat about his career and what coaches can learn from their visit to Estudiantes.

USA BID COMMITTEE GIVES FANS THE CHANCE TO “SUPPORT YOUR CITY”: The USA Bid Committee has added a “Support Your City” section to goUSAbid.com, the online home for the United States’ bid to host the FIFA World Cup™ in 2018 or 2022. The new “Support Your City” section of the Web site features city-specific pages for each of the 27 cities currently being considered as potential host cities to be included in the U.S. bid that will be submitted to FIFA in May 2010. The new pages provide valuable city-specific information and photos while giving fans another opportunity to put their support behind the candidate city of their choice by signing the online petition at goUSAbid.com.

SELECTION OF 18 PLAYERS FOR US CLUB SOCCER ID2 INTERNATIONAL TRIP UNDERWAY: The selection of 18 boys’ players for the id2 international trip is underway as the 2009 id2 Regional Training Camp in Phoenix has concluded after four days of high-level training and off-the-field sessions for boys born in 1996-97. A team of the best 18 boys’ players from this fall’s id2 Regional Training Camps will take an international trip to the Netherlands and Germany, Feb. 5-14, 2010,  where they will experience the day-to-day culture of some of the world’s most well-known professional clubs while also improving themselves via high-level training and game competition. The selection process is currently underway, and the trip comes at no cost to players, as all expenses and gear are provided by US Club Soccer and Nike. 

*** CENTER CIRCLE SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Damarcus Beasley surged to life with Scottish Premier League club Rangers this past week as he scored a goal and notched an assist in a 3-0 win against Dundee on Tuesday. He then repeated the feat against Motherwell as Rangers waltzed to a 6-1 victory. The winger has now started four straight games for the Glasgow club.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: Boxing Day weekend in England will see a full slate of matches played in the English Premier League. Numerous U.S. Men’s National Team members will be in action over the post-holiday period with Sunday’s matchup between Arsenal and Aston Villa highlighting the weekend schedule. The match will see if Villa’s tandem of U.S. goalkeepers can leapfrog over Arsenal into third place with a victory at the Emirates Stadium.

SOCCER SHOCKER: A stoppage time goal scored by newly crowned FIFA Player of the Year Leo Messi secured the FIFA Club World Cup for FC Barcelona on Sunday in Abu Dabi. Incredibly, the title represents the sixth trophy garnered by the Catalans this year after also securing La Liga, UEFA Champions League, Copa del Rey, Spanish Super Cup and European Super Cup.

QUOTABLE: “I really appreciate the fans and everyone who voted for me, and it’s very cool to be included among the players who have been named Young Female Athlete of the Year. I’ve played with most of them and they are all great players and great role models for the young players coming up, so hopefully I can one day I can fill that role as well. It was a crazy year, but a great year, ending with a special NCAA title and I’m really looking forward to what 2010 will bring.” –U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Tobin Heath on being named winner of the 2009 U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year

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