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Notes from the National Training Center - Jan. 13, 2004


With nine national teams holding training camps this January at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., ussoccer.com will be providing you with updates on the progress of each team’s camp with "Notes from the National Training Center." The NTC got busy once again as the Women's National Team joined the Men's National Team and the Under-23 MNT at the NTC on Monday (Jan. 12), conducting their first training session of 2004.  Below are today's notes.

Men's National Team Notes

POOL DAY: Shedding their boots for sandals, the MNT underwent hydrotherapy this morning instead of a regular training session.  Under the supervision of Fitness Coach Pierre Barrieu, the pool workout lasted 40 minutes, during which the players were measured for weight and body fat percentage.  Having slowed down to once-a-day sessions in advance of Sunday's match, the team will have the remainder of the day off, with a scrimmage against the U-23 MNT scheduled for 11 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday).

SWITCHING CAMPS:  The U.S. Under-23 trio of DaMarcus Beasley, Bobby Convey and Landon Donovan will change gears this afternoon, joining training for the senior team in preparation for the upcoming match against Denmark on Jan. 18 at the Home Depot Center (live on ESPN at 3:30 p.m. ET).  The three will suit up for the full MNT in the final scrimmage against the U-23's tomorrow morning.  The Olympic hopefuls have been training with the U-23's since Jan. 4, and will re-join the side in Guadalajara after competing in the Denmark game.  

IT'S OFFICIAL:
U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra put pen to paper on a three-year contract with Fulham of the English Premier League, clearing the way for the 24-year old to be in uniform when the sixth-place Cottagers clash with Newcastle on Jan. 19.  Manager Chris Coleman said to the Fulham website: "'I have seen Carlos play and I could see that he has great potential. He reads the game well and is very skillful and strong which are the prime attributes of a defender. He has a great track record at the International level, so I have no doubt that he will acclimate to the Premiership fairly quickly. I am looking forward to him joining us."  The 24-year Chicago Fire veteran had his finest year of his career with the MNT in 2003, earning Chevrolet Man of the Match honors three times as he became the first U.S. defender since 1994 to score four goals in one year. He is a finalist for the 2003 Chevrolet Athlete of the Year award to be announced Thursday in Los Angeles.  

STATUS REPORT: Kansas City Wizards defender Carey Talley suffered a left-ankle sprain in the MNT's scrimmage vs. the Under-23 MNT Monday afternoon. Diagnosed as between a Grade 2 and Grade 3 sprain after x-rays proved negative, Talley will have an MRI today to further evaluate the injury.  D.C. United midfielder Ben Olsen underwent an MRI late last evening to evaluate tendinitis in his right knee. Results of the test will be determined later today. Robbie Russell resumed training yesterday after an Achilles injury sidelined the right-sided defender for four days, playing the final 30 minutes of the scrimmage.

ARENA CHAT LIVE TOMORROW ON ussoccer.com:
U.S. Men's National Team Manager Bruce Arena will answer questions from fans and media during ussoccer.com's first online chat of 2004 tomorrow at 12 p.m. ET.  Fans can log in to find out Arena's thoughts on the upcoming match against Denmark, his plans for the coming year, and the beginning of the qualifying road to World Cup 2006.  To log onto to the chat, visit www.ussoccerfan.com, where existing members can simply sign in and new members must register on the site before they are able to ask questions during the chat.


Women's National Team Notes


U.S. WOMEN OPEN 2004 ON CHILLY NIGHT IN CARSON, CALIF.: The U.S. Women’s National Team opened its 2004 season yesterday with high-energy evening practice on a chilly night at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.  With 26 of the 27 players arriving that morning or afternoon (forward Cindy Parlow arrives today), a rejuvenated and healthy U.S. team, coming of a somewhat unprecedented 10-week break after two post-Women’s World Cup matches, was in high spirits and ready for its Olympic run.  The 27 players in camp are vying for spots on the 20-player Four Nations Tournament team that will travel to China on Jan. 23, as well as for a spot on the 18-player roster that will enter CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying in Costa Rica from Feb. 25-March 5. It will be the first-ever trip for the U.S. women to Central America. The USA found out its schedule for Olympic qualifying yesterday and will play two of its three first round games in the capital of San Jose and one in Heredia.  The top two finishers in the tournament – i.e. the semifinal winners – earn berths to the Olympics in Greece.  Following is the USA’s game schedule for January and February, beginning with a cracker of a match to open the Four Nations against 2003 Women’s World Cup runner-up Sweden.
Four Nations Tournament-Jan. 30-Feb 3/CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying-Feb. 25-March 5
Date            Opponent                    City
Jan. 30        Sweden                        Shenzhen, China
Feb. 1          China                           Shenzhen, China
Feb. 3         Canada                         Shenzhen, China
Feb. 25       Trinidad & Tobago    San Jose, Costa Rica       
Feb. 27       Haiti                              Heredia, Costa Rica
Feb. 29       Mexico                         San Jose, Costa Rica
March 3     Semifinal                      San Jose, Costa Rica*
March 5     Final or Third Place    Heredia, Costa Rica*

*Pending qualification for knockout round.



MITTS PUTS TV GIG ON HOLD FOR OLYMPIC RUN
: After the WUSA suspended operations, like many players, former Philadelphia Charge star Heather Mitts was ready to jump back into the “real world,” perhaps working in a field that didn’t involve chasing down speed burners like Mia Hamm and Tiffany Milbrett and banging bodies with Germany’s Birgit Prinz and Canada’s Christine Latham. After playing to solid reviews as a studio commentator on ABC and ESPN’s coverage of the 2003 Women’s World Cup, Mitts was approached by Philadelphia’s WCAU Channel 10, the NBC affiliate in the “City of Brotherly Love” and landed a job as a co-host of “The 10 Show.” Little did she know that she would soon become the story.
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TWO U.S. WNT DEBUTANTES SHARE THEIR THOUGHTS AFTER OPENING DAY:
Two players participated in their first-ever training session with the full U.S. Women’s National Team yesterday – defender Amy LePeilbet and goalkeeper Kristin Luckenbill.  LePeilbet, a senior at Arizona State who finished her eligibility last fall, and Luckenbill, a three-year WUSA veteran, have different levels of experience, as well as different positions, but both shared their thoughts on their first practice.
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Under-23 MNT Notes

U.S. MEN DEFEAT U-23s ON LATE RAZOV GOAL: The U.S. Men's National Team picked up its second win over the U-23s yesterday (Monday, Jan. 12) with a 1-0 win in a 60-minute exhibition at The Home Depot Center. U.S. MNT forward Ante Razov, who accounted for four of the team's seven total shots and was effective throughout the match, finally broke through in the 57th minute, running on to an excellent pass over the top of the U-23 back four by playmaker Richard Mulrooney and sending it past goalkeeper Doug Warren at the near post. U-23 defender Kelly Gray, who played all 60 minutes at holding midfielder, went on to play the second half of the second match (see game recap below) as a central back for the full MNT. The U.S. MNT defeated the U-23s 3-1 on Saturday (Jan. 10) in the first for four scrimmages. The two teams will meet a final time tomorrow (Jan. 14) at 11 a.m. at the H.D.C.
U-23 Lineup (Game 1): Doug Warren; Ricky Lewis, Jose Burciaga, David Stokes, Scot Thompson; Kelly Gray, Brad Davis (Brian Carroll), Kyle Martino, Eddie Gaven; Conor Casey, David Testo.

U-23s TIE U.S. MEN 1-1 ON BUDDLE EQUALIZER: The U.S. Under-23s came back from a 1-0 deficit to earn a 1-1 draw in the second scrimmage of Monday afternoon (Jan. 12) at the H.D.C. The U-23s started out well, with forward Edson Buddle and midfielder Bobby Convey, playing on the right flank instead of his usual central position, providing dangerous scoring chances in the early action of the first half. Buddle uncorked a left-footed rocket toward the upper left corner that U.S. MNT goalkeeper had to make a fantastic save on to push it over the crossbar. Thornton made another great save on a shot from Convey minutes later, barely pushing a shot off the post and out over the endline. On the resulting corner kick, Convey found Buddle in the middle of the box, but the Columbus Crew forward's header struck the crossbar and bounced in front of the goal line before it was booted upfield. Speedy forward Jeff Cunningham gave the full MNT a 1-0 lead, knocking home a rebound of his own close-range shot past U-23 goalkeeper D.J. Countess. In the second half, the U-23s struck back when midfielder DaMarcus Beasley served a great ball to Buddle, who headed it past second-half sub Kevin Hartman for the equalizer in the 36th minute.
U-23 Lineup (Game 2): D.J. Countess; Chris Wingert, Chad Marshall, Nat Borchers, Logan Pause; Kyle Beckerman, DaMarcus Beasley, Bobby Convey (Brian Carroll), Landon Donovan; Edson Buddle, Alecko Eskandarian.

COACHES CATCH FIRST LEBRON'S FIRST VISIT TO L.A. AT STAPLES CENTER: The coaching staff -- head coach Glenn Myernick, assistant coaches Thomas Rongen and Ralph Perez and goalkeeper coach Tim Mulqueen -- took advantage of some great connections with the Anshcutz Entertainment Group and found themselves with some of the hottest tickets in town to watch rookie LeBron James in his first visit to the Staples Center to take on Kobe Bryant and the L.A. Lakers last night (Jan. 12). Although Shaq and Karl Malone were out injured, there was still plenty of hype for the match-up between the future of the NBA (James) and the present (Bryant). Unfortunately for Bryant, he injured his shoulder in a loose ball collision late in the first period and was forced to miss most of the rest of the match, leaving the game in the hands of veteran guard Gary Payton, who led the Lakers to an 89-79 win.

MOTORISTS ALONG AVALON BLVD. STRUCK BY ERRANT BECKERMAN SHOT:
Hopefully, this headline is untrue, but we'll never know. What we do know is that toward the end of today's late morning practice, midfielder Kyle Beckerman unleashed perhaps one of the worst shots in the brief history of Field 3, which is closest to busy Avalon Blvd, the main street that the H.D.C. is located. Trying to strike the ball with a lot of power, Beckerman one-timed a shot high over the net behind the goal, where it caromed off the huge Home Depot Center archway that welcomes visitors to the complex and bounced down a slight incline toward the traffic of Avalon. The final location of the Nike Geo Merlin ball was not discovered, but Tim Mulqueen had the team rolling, saying "Somebody at the KFC drive-thru just got an $80 ball with their fried chicken basket."

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