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U.S. Soccer Wire - December 11, 2006


Bob Bradley Named U.S. MNT Interim Head Coach, U-23 MNT Head Coach;
2006 Nike Friendlies Conclude in Bradenton, Fla.

BOB BRADLEY NAMED INTERIM HEAD COACH OF U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM: U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati has named Bob Bradley as interim head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team and head coach of the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team. Bradley will take control of the team immediately and begin preparing for the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup beginning June 6 and Copa America beginning June 26. The year begins in early January with a training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., with the first international match of the year scheduled for January 20, 2007, against Denmark (tickets) at The Home Depot Center live on ESPN2 at 1:50 p.m. PT. With 124 career victories, Bradley is the winningest coach in the history of MLS, winning one MLS Cup and two U.S. Open Cup titles with the Chicago Fire, including The Double in 1998 during the club’s inaugural season. During his 12-year MLS career as a head or an assistant coach, Bradley’s team’s qualified for the playoffs every year. Bradley will serve as the 34th coach for the U.S. Men’s National Team, which began play in 1916. Bradley is the second head coach of the U.S. MNT to begin his professional coaching career in Major League Soccer. As head coach of the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team, Bradley will be responsible for preparing the U.S. team for Olympic Qualifying for the 2008 Beijing games.

NIKE FRIENDLIES WRAP UP IN BRADENTON, FLA.: The 2006 Nike Friendlies came to a close on Sunday afternoon, concluding the sixth edition of the annual youth tournament. The four-day event saw more than 50 club teams, including youth national teams from the United States and Brazil, and Italian side Juventus’ youth squad, compete in over 80 games. Played on the IMG Academies campus, the Nike Friendlies offer an environment that stresses high-level competition without emphasizing results and standings. During the event, Studio 90, the popular web show which debuted during the 2006 FIFA World Cup, returned to offer highlights and extensive behind the scenes coverage of the Friendlies. Fans can also find scores, photo galleries and all_access videos on ussoccer.com’s 2006 Nike Friendlies page.

FANS CAN VOTE NOW FOR THE “BEST OF U.S. SOCCER” AWARDS: U.S. Soccer has announced the finalists for the 2006 “Best of U.S. Soccer” Awards and fans can vote now for their favorites at ussoccer.com. The fifth annual series, presented by Soccer America, the No. 1 soccer magazine in the United States, allows fans the opportunity to make their selections for the best in soccer in the United States. Fans can vote once a day from now until Wednesday, Dec. 20, through a sharp multimedia voter interface on ussoccer.com. The 2006 “Best of U.S. Soccer” awards will be decided entirely by online fan votes with the winners being announced the week of December 18. As with last year, fans across the country were called on to nominate finalists for the Best Bar, Best Store and Best all_access video awards and the most popular choices became finalists. Fans also sent in their own photographs for the newest category, Best Fan Photo from the World Cup, and the top 10 nominees were chosen. This year, the “Best of” Awards include two Best Goal categories. The annual Best Goal, presented by Sierra Mist, returns, while a special addition for 2006 is the Best Kristine Lilly Goal. The U.S. Women’s National Team captain simply scored too many sensational goals, necessitating the creation of a whole new category just for her. VOTE NOW!

2006 “Best of U.S. Soccer” Awards
Categories

Best Bar
Best Store
Best Goal presented by Sierra Mist
Best Kristine Lilly Goal
Best Performance (Player)
Best Performance (Team)
Best all_access video
Best Action Photo
Best U.S. Fan Photo from the World Cup
Best Look/Style
Best Atmosphere

Launch the voting interface | Complete list of nominees

VOTE NOW FOR 2006 U.S. SOCCER ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AWARDS: The finalists for each of the four prestigious U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year Awards – Male, Female, Young Male and Young Female – have been announced by the sport’s governing body in the United States. Fans can vote now for the high profile annual U.S. Soccer awards through a multimedia voter interface once a day through Wednesday, Dec. 20. The U.S. Soccer Male and Female Athletes of the Year Awards are the oldest and most prestigious awards of their kind, dating back to 1984 for the men and 1985 for the women, while the Young Male and Young Female awards were added in 1998. The finalists for each award were nominated on the basis of: a) competing and excelling at the highest level (both at the national team and professional level) during the calendar year; b) exhibiting decorum on and off the field that reflects well on U.S. Soccer; and c) contributing toward the growth, development, credibility and popularization of soccer in the USA. Online votes for the annual award will be tallied and equivalent to 50 percent of the total votes. As in years past, the other 50 percent will be represented by 100 votes compiled from members of the national media and U.S. Soccer representatives (from national team coaches to the National Board of Directors). VOTE NOW!

U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year Candidates
Abby Wambach, Forward
Kristine Lilly, Forward
Cat Whitehill, Defender
Hope Solo, Goalkeeper
Leslie Osborne, Midfielder

U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year Candidates
Clint Dempsey, Midfielder
Bobby Convey, Midfielder
Brian McBride, Forward
Kasey Keller, Goalkeeper
Oguchi Onyewu, Defender

Youth Female Athlete of the Year Candidates
Danesha Adams, Forward
Val Henderson, Goalkeeper
Stephanie Lopez, Defender
Amanda Poach, Midfielder
Amy Rodriguez, Forward

U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year Candidates
Josmer Altidore, Forward
Quavas Kirk, Midfielder
Johann Smith, Forward
Nathan Sturgis, Defender
Preston Zimmerman, Forward

Launch the voting interface | Complete list of nominees

U.S. DEFENDER AMY LePEILBET HAS KNEE SURGERY: U.S. defender Amy LePeilbet underwent an ACL reconstruction surgery on her left knee last week and will be out at least six months. The hard-nosed defender has played 23 times for the USA including 13 matches in 2006, nine of them starts. The former Arizona State All-American is currently beginning her rehabilitation and should be back on the field in time to compete for a spot on the U.S. team at the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup, being held in China next year from Sept. 10-30.

U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM TO OPEN 2007 DOMESTIC SCHEDULE IN BOSTON: The U.S. Women’s National Team will play its first domestic match of 2007 during the run up to the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup on Saturday, April 14, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The U.S. team will play the first match of a doubleheader that also features the home opener of the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer against expansion club Toronto FC. The opponent, kickoff time and TV network for the U.S. women’s game are all TBA, but the Americans do know they will be playing their first match in the Boston area since the historic 1-0 win against Norway on October 1, 2003, during the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinals. Abby Wambach scored the USA’s loan goal on a header in front of more than 20,000 fans.

U.S. MNT TO KICK OFF 2007 AGAINST DENMARK: The U.S. Men’s National Team will play its first match of 2007 against Denmark on Saturday, Jan. 20, at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., at 1:50 p.m. PT. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and tape delayed at 9 p.m. PT (12 a.m. ET) on Galavision. Fans can also follow the game live via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. Tickets starting at $18 are now on sale at ussoccer.com, all Southern California Ticketmaster outlets (including Macy’s, Wherehouse Music and Ritmo Latino), The Home Depot Center ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), and by phone at 213-480-3232. Groups of 15 or more can purchase tickets by calling U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290 or obtaining a group order form at ussoccer.com. The U.S. and Denmark have met four times in their history, with the United States still in search of their first victory after posting a 0-1-3 record. The teams’ last meeting on Jan. 18, 2004, marked the first-ever visit by the U.S. MNT to The Home Depot Center. Despite out-shooting Denmark 16-4, the U.S. only collected a 1-1 draw after a pair of penalties on either side of halftime delivered each side their only goal of the match. The USA-Denmark clash will serve as the launching point for what promises to be a challenging schedule in 2007, as the USA seeks to defend its Gold Cup title when they join 11 other teams in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, which will take place from June 6-24 in several cities across the United States. The following week, the U.S. will compete in the 2007 Copa America, the regional championship of South America. The 12-team tournament will run from June 26-July 15 in nine cities in Venezuela.

"MOOCH MYERNICK MEMORIAL FUND" AUCTION ENDS FRIDAY: The annual U.S. Soccer Foundation Holiday Auction is underway this year and available now at ussoccerfoundation.org/auction. This year's items include an autographed 2006 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Jersey, an autographed Dwayne DeRosario jersey, an autographed Manchester United Team jersey and an autographed Kaka jersey from the Brazilian National Team. Along with dozens of other items, the auction runs through Friday, Dec. 15. A hundred percent of every dollar contributed to the 2006 Holiday Auction will go to the "Mooch Myernick Memorial Fund" and will be distributed through grants by the Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Soccer Federation, to soccer clubs and organizations in urban areas to help increase the number of children playing the sport in metropolitan communities nationwide. The auction will also include authentic gear signed by members of the U.S. Men's and Women’s National Teams.

– YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

RONGEN NAMES 26-PLAYER ROSTER FOR U-20 MNT FLORIDA CAMP: United States Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Thomas Rongen named the 26 players that will participate in the team’s upcoming training camp from Dec. 12-23 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The 12-day camp marks the last time the Under-20s will be together before Rongen names his final 20-player roster for the 2007 CONCACAF Final Round Qualifying Tournament, which will take place from Jan. 17-21 in Panama City, Panama. The U.S. is in Group A of the 2007 CONCACAF Final Round Qualifying Tournament with Guatemala, Haiti and the host Panama (draw recap). The top two teams in the group will qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada, which will take place from June 30-July 22 across six cities – Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, Burnaby and Victoria. The U.S. will be attempting to qualify for their sixth straight FIFA World Cup (formerly FIFA World Youth Championship).

U.S. Under 20 Men’s National Team Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brian Perk (UCLA), Steve Sandbo (SMU), Chris Seitz (University of Maryland)
DEFENDERS (11): Tony Beltran (UCLA), Matt Besler (Notre Dame), Kyle Davies (Ballistic United), Amaechi Igwe (Santa Clara University), Quavas Kirk (L.A. Galaxy), Ofori Sarkodi (Indiana University), Nathan Sturgis (L.A. Galaxy), Julian Valentin (Wake Forest), Blake Wagner (FC Dallas), Anthony Wallace (University of South Florida), Tim Ward (Columbus Crew)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Freddy Adu (D.C. United), Bryan Arguez (West Kendal Optimists), Alejandro Bedoya (Fairleigh Dickinson University), Jeremy Hall (University of Maryland), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Danny Szetela (Columbus Crew), Jonathan Villanueva (University of Virginia)
FORWARD (5): Andre Akpan (Harvard), Josmer Altidore (N.Y. Red Bulls), Mike Grella (Duke), Rodrigo Hildalgo (University of South Florida), Sal Zizzo (UCLA)

U.S. U-18 MNT PLAY TWICE AT NIKE FRIENDLIES: The U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team participated in the 2006 Nike Friendlies, playing two matches during the four-day event. On Friday (Dec. 8), the U.S. U-18 men played to a scoreless draw with the U.S. U-17 '90 squad. The team had a day off on Saturday (Dec. 9) before facing the Brazil U-17 squad on Sunday. Despite a solid effort, the U.S. fell, 3-0, to the impressive Brazilian side. (Nike Friendlies)

U.S. U-18 MNT Results
Date        Opponent                   Result      U.S. Goal Scorer
Dec. 8     U.S. U-17 '90 MNT    0-0 T          --
Dec. 10   Brazil U-17 MNT        0-3 L          --

PARKHILL REPLACES HENNIGER ON U-17 WNT ROSTER FOR ARGENTINA: U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team goalkeeper Bianca Henninger suffered a serious knee injury during the USA’s first training session in Argentina on a tour that will run from Dec. 8-18 in Buenos Aires, and has been replaced by Catherine Parkhill. The 5-foot-7 Parkhill hails from Apple Valley, Minn., where she plays club with the PSA Panthers.

U.S. U-17 MNT HAS STRONG SHOWING AT NIKE FRIENDLIES: The Under-17 Men's National Team fielded two squads at the sixth annual Nike Friendlies, kicking off the event with the U-17 '91s earning a hard-fought 3-1 victory vs. U-17 Arsenal. The USA jumped out to an early lead, scoring a pair of goals in the first quarter of an hour. The opener came through Eddy Gonzalez in the ninth minute before Bryan Dominguez doubled the lead in the 13th minute. Arsenal pulled within one just after halftime, but Nick Millington restored the two-goal cushion and provided the game's final margin in the 59th minute. The older group, the U-17 '90s, opened up with a match against the Brazil U-17 squad. The U.S. pulled even just five minutes from the final whistle when Jesse Paredes finished from close range, capping an impressive build-up from fellow midfielder Brendan King. The match ended, 2-2, setting up a mouth-watering rematch on Saturday afternoon. On Friday, the U-17 '91s played to a scoreless draw against the U.S. U-18 MNT, while the U-17 '90s battled to a 1-1 tied with the U-17 Concored Fire. The U.S. enjoyed a brief lead when Eddie Gonzalez scored the opening goal in the 66th minute, but Concorde fought back with an equalizer just three minutes later. Saturday's featured matchup saw another 2-2 draw between the U.S. and Brazil. The U.S. came from behind with a 65th minute goal from Ellis McLoughlin. The Friendlies concluded on Sunday (Dec. 10) with a the U-17 '91s tying Scott Gallagher, 1-1, with a Will Bruin goal. (Nike Friendlies)

U.S. U-17 MNT Results
Date      Team          Opponent                     Result      U.S. Goal Scorer(s)
Dec. 7   U-17 '90     Brazil                              2-2 T        Abdusalam Ibrahim, Jesse Paredes
Dec. 7   U-17 '91     U-17 Arsenal                3-1 W      Eddy Gonzalez, Bryan Dominguez, Nick Millington
Dec. 8   U-17 '90     U-18 MNT                      0-0 T        --
Dec. 8   U-17 '91     U-17 Concorde Fire     1-1 T      Eddy Gonzalez
Dec. 9   U-17 '90     Brazil                                2-2 T     Brek Shea, Ellis McLoughlin
Dec. 10 U-17 '91     U-17 Scott Gallagher   1-1 T      Will Bruin

U.S. U-15 BNT TAKES ON JUVENTUS AT NIKE FRIENDLIES: With 36 players called in for the Nike Friendlies, U.S. U-15 Boys National Team head coach Jim Barlow was able to split his squad into two teams, Blue and White, ensuring more game action for his young players. Competing "up" a level with the U-16s, both sides responded well to the challenge. The Blue team posted a 2-0 shutout win vs. PDA on the opening day of the Friendlies with first-half goals from Andrew Craven and Perry Kitchen. In the U-15's second match on Thursday (Dec. 7), the White team got an equalizer in the 80th minute from Josh Sylva to draw, 2-2, vs. Italian club Juventus. Charles Renken converted a penalty kick in the 61st minute, knocking it off the right post. The teams couldn't keep their momentum going, however, and on Friday (Dec. 9), the White team lost, 2-1, to FC Delco. U-15 Blue got their crack at Italian side Juventus, looking to build on the White team’s 2-2 draw a day earlier. The U.S. found themselves trailing, 2-0, at halftime but pulled a goal back shortly after halftime when substitute Andrew Craven struck in the 51st minute. The USA’s comeback bid was dealt a fatal blow when Juventus restored their two-goal lead in the 59th minute. The Blue team couldn’t break through the rest of the way, falling 3-1, in the early afternoon. Both teams took the field on the final day of the Friendlies, with the White team falling, 3-0, to U-16 Real So Cal while the Blue team lost, 3-0, to the U-16 Arsenal squad. (Nike Friendlies)

U.S. U-15 BNT Results
Date      Team              Opponent             Result     U.S. Goal Scorer(s)
Dec. 7   U-15 White    Juventus                 2-2 T     Charles Renken, Josh Sylva
Dec. 7   U-15 Blue      U-16 PDA               2-0 W    Andrew Craven, Perry Kitchen
Dec. 8   U-15 White    U-16 FC DELCO  1-2 L      Charles Renken
Dec. 8   U-15 Blue      Juventus                 1-3 L     Andrew Craven
Dec. 10  U-15 White   U-16 Real So Cal 0-3 L      --
Dec. 10  U-15 Blue     U-16 Arsenal         0-3 L      --

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

WASHINGTON FREEDOM SC, SAN DIEGO SUNWAVES JOIN W-LEAGUE: United Soccer Leagues announced that the W-League will boast two new teams for 2007, with the addition of the Washington Freedom Soccer Club and the San Diego Sunwaves. Washington Freedom SC, which evolved from the Washington Freedom of the WUSA, played with the W-League in 2006 as an associate member. The matches did not count towards W-League standings and the team was not eligible to participate in the post-season. The team did capture the USL Super-20 League inaugural championship last season, ending with a 9-1-0 regular season record. The Freedom will play home games at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown. In California, the Sunwaves will play at Torero Stadium on the campus of the University of San Diego. They will join the Western Conference while also developing a reserve squad and youth program. A schedule will be released in January.

*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER(S): U.S. defender Oguchi Onyewu scored for Standard de Liege in a shootout with Brugge that ended 4-4. Standard has only lost once since the beginning of October with five league wins and two draws (and a cup win as well). Onyewu has one match remaining on Dec. 16 until his side returns from winter break on Jan. 13 with a league cup match.

MARQUEE MATCHUP(S): Upstart Palermo, who earned promotion to Serie A in 2004/2005, has a chance to leapfrog Roma into second place in on Sunday (2:30 p.m. ET). Roma, led by Francesco Totti, recently advance to the Champions League knockout phase, while Palermo needs a midweek win vs. Celta Vigo to advance out of Group H in the UEFA Cup. The match is slated to air in the U.S. on GolTV.

SOCCER SHOCKER: Portsmouth's Matthew Taylor scored what could be one of the most sensational goals in the EPL this season as he left U.S. international Tim Howard to only watch as the ball sailed over his head on a 45-yard, left footed volley from midfield on Saturday at Fratton Park. Portsmouth won the match 2-0.

QUOTABLE: “I will be very driven to lead our team the right way. I am confident in my work. ... I also feel that there are things, having been in this country and having coached so many of our players over the years, having been part of MLS and part of our youth programs, that I have advantages that others don’t have. I want to make sure that those things count, that in the next six months they show in the play of the team and then we see where that takes us.”
-- U.S. MNT interim head coach Bob Bradley on his appointment.

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