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U.S. Soccer Wire: U.S. WNT Has Six Points in Olympic Group Play


U.S. SITS ATOP GROUP G, QUALIFIES FOR OLYMPIC QUARTERFINALS: The U.S. Women’s National Team’s path through Greece in search of an Athens 2004 Gold Medal in the Olympic Women’s Football Tournament began with a pair of shutout wins last week, downing the host nation 3-0 on Aug. 11 and Brazil 2-0 on Aug. 14 to lead Group G with a full six points. The USA will wrap up the first round against Australia tomorrow (Aug. 17) at 11 a.m. ET from Thessaloniki live on MSNBC. With the two wins, the U.S. needs just a draw to ensure the top spot in Group G and have the luxury of staying in Thessaloniki for their quarterfinal game, which will be against the best third-place team from Group E or F on Friday (Aug. 20) at 11 a.m. live on MSNBC and Telemundo.  The U.S. and Australia last met less than a month ago, with the U.S. rebounding from an early goal to post a 3-1 win on July 21 in Blaine, Minn. With the win, the U.S. holds an all-time record of 15-0-0 against the Matildas and a goal differential of 58-9. In the opening win versus Greece, the U.S. battled through a bunker defense on goals from Shannon Boxx, Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach.  Hamm and Wambach provided the offense in the win over Brazil as well, with Hamm converting a penalty kick (after Wambach suffered a foul in the box) in the 58th minute and Wambach scoring on a great cutback in the 78th minute after the U.S. was outplayed in the first half.  Should the U.S. advance to the semifinals on Aug. 23, the match will also be broadcast live on MSNBC and Telemundo, while the gold medal match on Aug. 26 will be featured live on NBC and Telemundo on Aug. 26.
Standings – Group G
Teams            GP   W     L     T     Pts  GF GA  GD
USA                2     2      0     0      6     5     0   +5
Australia          2     1      1      0     3     1     1     0
Brazil               2     1      1      0     3     1     2    -1
Greece            2      0      2     0     0     0     4    -4
WNT Results  – 2004 Olympics
Date             Opponent              Result         U.S. Goal Scorers
Aug. 11        Greece                  3-0 W        Boxx, Hamm, Wambach
Aug. 14        Brazil                     2-0 W        Hamm, Wambach
WNT Schedule – 2004 Olympics
Date             Opponent                      Venue                     Kickoff (ET)           TV
Aug. 17        Australia                        Thessaloniki            11 a.m.                   MSNBC
Aug. 20        Quarterfinal                   TBD                        11 a.m.                   MSNBC / Telemundo
Aug. 23        Semifinal                       Heraklion / Patra      11 a.m. / 2 p.m.      MSNBC / Telemundo
Aug. 26        Bronze Medal Game     Athens                     11 a.m.                   MSNBC / Telemundo
Aug. 26        Gold Medal Game        Athens                      2 p.m.                    NBC / Telemundo

REGGAE BOYZ STAND AS FIRST TEST FOR U.S. MEN IN SEMIFINAL QUALIFYING ROUND: The U.S. opens the six-game, four-team Group A series of the semifinal round of FIFA World Cup 2006 qualifying with a road match on Wednesday (August 18) against Jamaica at National Stadium in Kingston live on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. ET.  The U.S. is 8-0-5 all-time versus the Reggae Boyz, but has never managed a win in any qualifier in Jamaica, with all three previous meetings in qualifying at “The Office” in Kingston resulting in 0-0 draws. The U.S. has recorded eight shutouts against the Reggae Boyz, their best mark against any country except Mexico.
MNT FIFA World Cup Qualifying Schedule – Semifinal Round
Date             Opponent                      Venue; City                                                        Kickoff (local)  TV
Aug. 18        Jamaica                         National Stadium; Kingston, Jamaica                   7 p.m. ET         ESPN2 (live)
Sept. 4         El Salvador                    Gillette Stadium; Foxboro, Mass.                        4 p.m. ET         Fox Sports World (live) / Telemundo (live)
Sept. 8         Panama                         Estadio Rommel Fernández; Panama City            8 p.m. CT        Fox Sports World (live) / Telemundo (11:30pm ET/PT)
Oct. 9          El Salvador                    Estadio Cuscatlan; San Salvador, El Salvador      7:30 p.m. MT  TBD
Oct. 13        Panama                         RFK Stadium; Washington, D.C.                         7:30 p.m. ET    ESPN2 (10 p.m. ET) / Telemundo (11:30pm ET/PT)
Nov. 17       Jamaica                         Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio                           8 p.m. ET         ESPN (9:30 p.m. ET) / Telemundo (11:30pm ET/PT)

FANTASY PICK 'EM GAME “CORNER PICKS” DEBUTS AT ussoccer.com:  “Corner Picks,” a fantasy pick ‘em game that allows you to test your prognostication skills against fans from around the world, is available for the first time ever at ussoccer.com. Fans can log on to ussoccer.com and make their picks in advance of the U.S. Men’s National Team match in Jamaica on Wednesday (live on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. ET), which will enable them to immediately start earning points toward winning a Philips FlatTV, a VIP experience for two at a U.S. MNT match in 2006 and other great prizes from U.S. Soccer and Philips. The new interactive prediction game at ussoccer.com will be available before every U.S. Men’s National Team World Cup qualifying game. As a sample of the questions you will find during this first game of Corner Picks, you can try and predict who will score the first goal of the game for the U.S. and what the result of the game against Jamaica might be. Participating fans will have numerous chances to win great prizes from both U.S. Soccer and Philips, with Corner Picks winners being declared after each of the U.S. Men’s National Team’s remaining FIFA World Cup qualifying games. In addition, prizes will be awarded to the contestant with the highest overall score in the semifinal round and the final round (should the U.S. advance that far).

TICKETS ON SALE TOMORROW FOR OCT. 13 QUALIFIER VS. PANAMA IN D.C.: Tickets for the U.S. Men’s National Team’s second home qualifier versus Panama on October 13 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., go on sale Tuesday (Aug. 17) at 10 a.m. ET. Advance tickets, which range in price levels from $30 to $75, are available at ussoccer.com, through all Washington-Baltimore Ticketmaster outlets (including Hecht’s stores), and by phone (Washington 202-397-7328; Baltimore 410-547-7328; Northern Virginia 703-573-7328; out of state 1-800-551-7328).  Group discounts are available through D.C. United at 202-587-5000. Tickets for the U.S. Men's National Team's first home qualifier against El Salvador on Sept. 4 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., are still on sale at all Ticketmaster outlets throughout New England (including all Filene's stores), and by calling 617-931-2000 (Boston), 413-733-2500 (Western Mass.), 207-775-3331 (Maine), 603-868-7300 (New Hampshire) or 401-331-2211 (Rhode Island). Substantial group discounts are available by calling 877-GET-REVS (877-438-7387) for more information. Tickets for the match, which kicks off at 4 p.m. ET and will be followed by the New England Revolution taking on the San Jose Earthquakes in MLS action, range from $35 to $125.

-- GROUP A WORLD CUP QUALIFYING UPDATE --

Complete Group A Schedule
Date         Match-Up                         Venue; City                                                            Kickoff (local)
Aug. 18    Jamaica vs. USA               National Stadium; Kingston, Jamaica                       7 p.m. ET
Aug. 18    El Salvador vs. Panama     Cuscatlan Stadium; San Salvador, El Salvador         9:30 p.m. ET

Sept. 4     USA vs. El Salvador         Foxboro Stadium; Foxboro, Mass.                          4 p.m. ET
Sept. 4     Jamaica vs. Panama          National Stadium; Kingston, Jamaica                        8 p.m. ET

Sept. 8     Panama vs. USA              Fernandez Stadium; Panama City, Panama               9 p.m. ET
Sept. 8     El Salvador vs. Jamaica    Cuscatlan Stadium; San Salvador, El Salvador          9:30 p.m. ET

Oct. 9      El Salvador vs. USA         Cuscatlan Stadium; San Salvador, El Salvador         7:30 p.m. MT
Oct. 9/10 Panama vs. Jamaica          Fernandez Stadium; Panama City, Panama               TBD

Oct. 13    USA vs. Panama              RFK Stadium; Washington, D.C.                             7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 13    Jamaica vs. El Salvador    National Stadium; Kingston, Jamaica                        TBD

Nov. 17   USA vs. Jamaica              Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio                               8 p.m. ET
Nov. 17   Panama vs. El Salvador    Fernandez Stadium; Panama City, Panama               TBD

– U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –

U-19s SPLIT VICTORIES WITH CHINA DURING TOUR LAST WEEK: The U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team split two games with the Chinese U-19s during their two-week trip to Shanghai, China, last week. The U.S. fell 1-0 in the first match on Aug. 10 after China converted a penalty kick, but two days later displayed their high-powered offense in the second match with a 4-1 victory. Both matches were broken up into three 30-minute periods. In the second match, Megan Rapinoe got the U.S. on the board early in the 11th minute as she finished a pass from Alexi Orand. The U.S. got their next goal in the 39th minute when Yael Averbuch served in a corner kick for Megan Schnur, who knocked it home. The U.S. got its final two goals in the third period, one unassisted from Sheree Grey in the 64th minute before Megan Holmes set up Jennifer Redmond in the 72nd minute. The trip was an important preparation tour as it provided the squad with some vital experience in Asia before the team heads to Thailand in November for the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship. China also qualified for the World Championship and were drawn into Group B with the African champion, Brazil and the Italy. The USA was drawn into Group C and will face South Korea, Spain and Russia.
U-19 WNT Results
Date              Opponent            Result         U.S. Goal Scorers
Aug. 10         China U-19s        0-1 L          ---
Aug. 12         China U-19s        4-1 W        Rapinoe, Schnur, Gray, Redmond

U-17 ’88 MNT FINISHES SECOND IN COPA TELEFONICA TOURNAMENT IN PERU: The U.S. Under-17 ’88 Men’s National Team went 1-1-1 to finish second in the Copa Telefonica Tournament in Peru last week. The U.S. opened the four-team tournament against the host on Aug. 10, coming away with a 2-1 victory behind goals from Preston Zimmerman and Quavas Kirk in the first half of play. Ryan Soroka started the attack on the USA’s first goal in the 16th minute, slotting the ball out wide to Kirk as he streaked down the right flank. The lanky midfielder ran the ball down and provided a cross in to the near post for Zimmerman, who one-timed a half-volley. The U.S. doubled their lead in the 38th minute when Soroka was tripped up in the box and Kirk stepped up to the penalty spot to take a two-goal lead. With a strong wind in their face in the second half, the U.S. was able to fend off Peru’s attack and hold on for the victory. In their second match, the U.S. ran into a tough Colombian side that didn’t allow a goal during the entire tournament, falling to the eventual tournament champions 2-0. In their final match on Saturday, the U-17s came back from an early goal by Ecuador in the fourth minute when Zimmerman finished a service from Ofori Sarkodie in the 75th minute. A minute later, U.S. goalkeeper Bryant Rueckner came up with a penalty kick save to secure a 1-1 draw.
U-17 '88 MNT Results
Date             Opponent             Result         U.S. Goal Scorers
Aug. 10        Peru                     2-1 W        Zimmerman, Kirk
Aug. 12        Colombia             0-2 L          ---
Aug. 14        Ecuador               1-1 T          Zimmerman

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

PARALYMPIC TEAM HEADS TO FINAL CAMP BEFORE TRIP TO GREECE: The U.S. Paralympic Soccer Team will hold its last training camp prior to the Paralympic Games from August 17-22 at Moorpark College in Moorpark, Calif. After this camp, the team will gather in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 8 to go through team processing before departing for Athens on the U.S. Paralympic charter flight with the rest of the U.S. Paralympic Delegation on Sept. 10. The U.S. was drawn into Group B along with Brazil, Russia and the Netherlands. The team will open the Paralympic Games on Sept. 19 and continue group play on Sept. 21 and 23. The semifinals will be played on Sept. 25 and the medal games are set for Sept. 27. These matches will be played at the field hockey stadium in the Helliniko Olympic Sports Complex. . Head coach Jay Hoffman will bring in the full 12-man roster for these final preparations.
Paralympic Team Roster
GOALKEEPER (1): Keith Johnson (Anchorage, Alaska); DEFENDERS (3): Jon McCullough (Washington, D.C.), John Theobald (Syracuse, N.Y.), Chris Wolf (Gainesville, Fla.); MIDFIELDERS (5): Josh McKinney (Princeton, W.Va.), Tom Latsch (Cleveland, Ohio), Mike Peters (Seattle, Wash.), Jason Slemons (Eagle River, Alaska), David Woosnam (Roswell, Ga.); FORWARDS (3): Derek Arneaud (East Stroudsberg, Pa.), Josh Blue (Denver, Colo.), Eli Wolff (Boston, Mass.).

TWO REFEREES REPRESENTING U.S. AT 2004 OLYMPICS: FIFA announced in May that Seitz and Chris Strickland from the United States were chosen, along with eight others from the CONCACAF region, at the 2004 Summer Games. Seitz is one of two female referees from CONCACAF, and Strickland is one of the region’s three assistant referees for the men’s tournament. Seitz worked her first game on Aug. 11 as the referee in the shocking 8-0 victory for Germany over China, a game that is already being called the most shocking result in the nine-year history of women’s Olympic soccer. Seitz became a member of the FIFA International Panel of Referees in 1999. Since then, she has participated in two Women’s World Cups, in 1999 and 2003, and the 2004 CONCACAF Women’s U-19 World Championship in Canada. Strickland is one of five male referees from CONCACAF going to the tournament. He joined the FIFA International Panel of Assistant Referees in 2002. Most recently, Strickland was an assistant referee at the World Cup qualifying match between Haiti and Jamaica on June 12. Upon his return from Greece, he will also be an assistant at a World Cup qualifying match between Guatemala and Costa Rica on Sept. 5.

U.S. SOCCER FOUNDATION UNVEILS NEW GRANT APPLICATION PROCESS: The U.S. Soccer Foundation, the development and philanthropic arm of soccer in the USA, has unveiled a new application process for soccer clubs, organizations and municipalities interested in applying for grant funds to support planned or existing soccer projects. Using a new, two-page letter of inquiry (LOI) process, interested parties will now be able to submit a snapshot of their project to the Foundation through ussoccerfoundation.org. All applicants for the FY 2005 grant cycle are required to submit an LOI as a first step in the application process.  The new LOI form provides for an abbreviated, initial review of a program or project in a screening process that is highly competitive. Unlike the full grant application, there is no fee associated with the submission of an LOI. Since August 1, interested applicants have been able to access, complete and submit the LOI online to the Foundation via ussoccerfoundation.org. The LOI stage will be available online until October 15. Applicants can expect the LOI review to be completed and notification given within four weeks from the date of submission. To learn more about the rules and deadlines, please visit www.ussoccerfoundation.org for more information.

PRO SOCCER LEAGUE PLAYOFFS BEGIN THIS WEEKEND: The post-season of the USL’s Pro Soccer League begin this week as the two-leg aggregate goal series for the Atlantic and Southern Divisions start on Friday (Aug. 20). It's a Pennsylvania showdown between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh in the Atlantic and a North Carolina showdown between defending champion Wilmington and Charlotte in the Southern. The two series will wrap up Saturday (Aug. 21) in Pittsburgh and Charlotte, respectively. The Western Division will also be decided Friday when San Diego visits Utah. New Hampshire earned a bye to next week's semifinals as the lone team advancing to the postseason from the Northern Division.
PSL Playoff Schedule
Date         Match-up                           Kickoff (local)
Aug. 20    Charlotte @ Wilmington     7:30 p.m. ET
Aug. 20    Pittsburgh @ Harrisburg     7:35 p.m. ET
Aug. 20    San Diego @ Utah             7:30 p.m. MT
Aug. 21    Wilmington @ Charlotte     7:30 p.m. ET
Aug. 21    Harrisburg @ Pittsburgh     7:30 p.m. ET

*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMERS: The dynamic duo of Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm continue to steer the success of the U.S. Women’s National Team. With goals in both of the team’s first two matches, they are tied for second in the tournament in scoring with two goals each behind Germany’s Birgit Prinz, who scored all four of her goals in Germany’s shocking 8-0 thrashing of China on Aug. 11. Wambach now has a whopping 16 goals and seven assists in 2004 to lead the team in scoring, with Hamm in second with nine goals and 12 assists.

MARQUEE MATCH-UP:  The U.S. Men’s National Team will be looking to get three points in Jamaica for the first time ever in World Cup Qualifying when the two teams meet on Wednesday (Aug. 18) at “The Office” at 7 p.m. ET.  Arena & Co. will also be looking to improve on the 0-1-1 record that they began the last semi-final round with back in the summer of 2000.  Fans can catch the match live on ESPN2 and on ussoccer.com’s Match Tracker, presented by Philips Electronics.

SOCCER SHOCKER: With past champions like Cameroon (2000) and Nigeria (1996) not even in the competition, and the 16-team field missing world powers like Brazil, Spain and yes, the U.S., we knew that the Olympic Men’s Soccer tournament was going to be wide open. But who knew Iraq would qualify for the quarterfinals with such ease and that after two games, a strong Mexico side would still be looking for its first goal and first win heading into its final group match.

QUOTABLE:  "Ninety percent of the time we spend off the field and with the Greek community, the volunteers, the people surrounding our team, the people at the hotel, the shop owners we have met, have all been nothing but marvelous and hospitable to us.  That’s been wonderful.  We had heard about the anti-American thoughts, but the Greeks have been unbelievably supportive.  On the field, I think they are cheering for other teams, but one of the common denominators in every culture is that they cheer for the underdog."
          --U.S. WNT head coach April Heinrichs, on the team’s reception in Greece

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