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US Soccer

USA Earns Hard Fought 1-1 Away Draw vs. Colombia in 2016 Olympic Qualifying Playoff 1st Leg

BARRANQUILLA, Colombia  (March 25, 2016) – The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team fought to a well-earned 1-1 draw away to Colombia in the 2016 Olympic Qualifying Playoff 1st Leg thanks to an early Luis Gil goal and a determined defensive effort under scorching heat and humidity at Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez.

Gil scored his third goal of this Olympic Qualifying cycle in just the fifth minute, finishing off a cross from Mario Rodriguez to stake the USA to an early lead. Colombia struck back from the penalty spot in the second half, but could not breach the U.S. defense from the run of play despite ample possession and stoppage time at the end of each half.

The Olympic Qualifying Playoff series between the USA and Colombia now shifts back to the United States for the 2nd Leg. The series will be decided by aggregate goals scored across the two-games.

The 2016 Olympic Qualifying Playoff 2nd Leg between the USA and Colombia will be played at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas on Tuesday, March 29 (8:30 p.m. CT; ESPN2) [TICKETS]. It is part of a U.S. Soccer double-header on ESPN2 that begins earlier that day when the senior U.S. Men’s National Team takes on Guatemala at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus Ohio (7 p.m. ET; ESPN2, UniMas, UDN).

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Luis Gil (Mario Rodriguez), 5th minute: On a flowing counterattack, Mario Rodriguez beat his defender to the endline and cut the ball back toward the penalty spot for the trailing Luis Gil, who was unmarked. Gil picked out the lower left-hand corner of Colombia goalkeeper Christian Bonila’s goal with a one-time shot through the legs of a closing defender. USA 1, COL 0 (SEE GOAL)

COL – Juan Fernando Quintero (penalty kick), 68th minute: USA right back Kellyn Acosta brought down Colombia’s Rafael Santos Borre in the U.S. box as the forward broke in on goal. On the resulting penalty kick, Quintero sent a low shot to the right of U.S. substitute goalkeeper Cody Cropper, who guessed correctly but was just unable to get a hand to the shot. USA 1, COL 1 (SEE GOAL) FINAL

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Ethan Horvath, 37th minute –
Colombia played a long, cross-field ball over top of the U.S. defense, aiming for Andreas Renteria. Horvath was wise to the move and dashed off his line to head the ball clear as Renteria clattered into him. The hit shook Horvath up but he played on for a handful of minutes before being substituted for Cody Cropper before halftime.

Next on the Schedule: The USA resumes it 2016 Olympic Qualifying Playoff at home against Colombia. The 2nd Leg kicks off on Tuesday, March 29 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas (8:30 p.m. CT; ESPN 2). The match is part of a U.S. Soccer double-header on ESPN2 that begins earlier in the day with the U.S. Men’s National Team taking on Guatemala in World Cup Qualifying at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio (7 p.m. ET; ESPN2, UniMas, UDN).
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Additional Notes:

  • The team with the most goals after the two games will advance. If the teams are tied on goals after the two matches, the team with the most away goals will advance. If the away goals are equal at the conclusion of the second match, two 15-minute extra time periods will be played at the end of the 2nd Leg. If no goals are scored in extra time, the winner will be determined by penalty kicks. If both teams score the same number of goals in the extra-time period, the visiting team is declared winner on the basis of away goals counting double.
  • Kellyn Acosta made his first start with the U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team.
  • Tim Parker made his first appearance for the USA since playing for the U-18 Men’s National Team in 2011.
  • Both Acosta and Emerson Hyndman started in the USA’s 1-0 win Round of 16 win against Colombia at last summer’s FIFA U-20 World Cup.
  • Wil Trapp continued as captain of the U.S. U-23 side after guiding the team through the 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship in the same capacity.
  • Four players scored for the U.S. during the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying championship: Jordan Morris and Luis Gil (two goals each), Matt Miazga and Hyndman (one each).
  • Four players in the starting XI were not on the Olympic Qualifying Championship roster: Acosta, Parker, Eric Miller and Mario Rodriguez.
  • The United States has competed in the Men’s Olympic finals 13 times, including five straight tournaments from 1984 to 2000. In addition, the U.S. qualified for – but did not compete in – the 1980 Moscow Games following a boycott by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
  • The U.S. hopes to return to the Olympics for the first time since the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, where it posted a 1-1-1 record but did not advance past the group stage. The USA’s best showing in the Olympics came during the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, when the team defeated Japan in the quarterfinals and finished fourth in the event.

- U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team Match Report –

Match: U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team vs. Colombia
Date: March 25, 2016
Competition: 2016 Olympic Qualifying - Playoff
Venue: Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez; Barranquilla, Colombia
Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET
Attendance: TBD
Weather: 88 degrees, sunny

Scoring Summary:           1              2              F
USA                                       1              0              1
COL                                        0              1              1

USA – Luis Gil (Mario Rodriguez)                                               5th minute
COL – Juan Fernando Quintero (penalty kick)                      68

Lineups:
USA: 1-Ethan Horvath (12-Cody Cropper, 45); 7-Kellyn Acosta, 3-Matt Miazga, 4-Tim Parker, 20-Eric Miller; 6-Will Trapp (capt.), 13-Matt Polster, 8-Emerson Hyndman, 10-Luis Gil (14-Fatai Alashe, 66); 18-Mario Rodriguez (17-Jerome Kiesewetter, 72), 9-Jordan Morris
Subs: 2-Tyler Miller, 5-Walker Zimmerman, 11-Paul Arriola, 15-Desevio Payne, 16-Julian Green, 19-Khiry Shelton
Not available: Shane O’Neill, Dillon Serna, Brandon Vincent
Head Coach: Andres Herzog

COL: 1-Cristian Bonila; 13-Helibelton Palacios, 3-Yerry Mina, 5-Davinson Sanchez, 16-Cristian Borja; 14-Wilmar Barrios, 6-Jose Leudo (11-Jarlan Barrera, 33), 18-Andres Felipe Roa (15-Juan Pablo Nieto, 73), 10-Juan Fernando Quintero; 7-Andres Renteria (19-Rafael Santos Borre, 62), 9-Harold Preciado
Subs: 4-Deiver Machado, 8-Yony Gonzalez, 12-Luis Hurtado, 17-Roger Martinez, 20-Alvaro Montero
Head coach: Carlos Restrepo

Stats Summary: USA / COL
Shots:  5 /18
Shots on goal:  1/ 6
Saves: 4 / 0
Corner Kicks: 2 / 8
Fouls: 11 / 13
Offside: 2 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Matt Miazga (caution)                      52nd minute
USA – Kellyn Acosta (caution)                    67
COL – Rafael Santos Borre (caution)        67
USA – Cody Cropper (caution)                   83
COL – Cristian Borja                                         90+1

Officials:
Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Orkun Aktas (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Mehmet Staman (TUR)
Fourth Official: Huseyin Gocek (TUR)

ussoccer.com Man of the Match: TBD

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U-23 MNT Mar 25, 2016

- U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team Match Report –

Match: U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team vs. Colombia
Date: March 25, 2016
Competition: 2016 Olympic Qualifying - Playoff
Venue: Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez; Barranquilla, Colombia
Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET
Attendance: TBD
Weather: 88 degrees, sunny

Scoring Summary:           1              2              F
USA                                       1              0              1
COL                                        0              1              1

USA – Luis Gil (Mario Rodriguez)                                               5th minute
COL – Juan Fernando Quintero (penalty kick)                      68

Lineups:
USA: 1-Ethan Horvath (12-Cody Cropper, 45); 7-Kellyn Acosta, 3-Matt Miazga, 4-Tim Parker, 20-Eric Miller; 6-Will Trapp (capt.), 13-Matt Polster, 8-Emerson Hyndman, 10-Luis Gil (14-Fatai Alashe, 66); 18-Mario Rodriguez (17-Jerome Kiesewetter, 72), 9-Jordan Morris
Subs: 2-Tyler Miller, 5-Walker Zimmerman, 11-Paul Arriola, 15-Desevio Payne, 16-Julian Green, 19-Khiry Shelton
Not available: Shane O’Neill, Dillon Serna, Brandon Vincent
Head Coach: Andres Herzog

COL: 1-Cristian Bonila; 13-Helibelton Palacios, 3-Yerry Mina, 5-Davinson Sanchez, 16-Cristian Borja; 14-Wilmar Barrios, 6-Jose Leudo (11-Jarlan Barrera, 33), 18-Andres Felipe Roa (15-Juan Pablo Nieto, 73), 10-Juan Fernando Quintero; 7-Andres Renteria (19-Rafael Santos Borre, 62), 9-Harold Preciado
Subs: 4-Deiver Machado, 8-Yony Gonzalez, 12-Luis Hurtado, 17-Roger Martinez, 20-Alvaro Montero
Head coach: Carlos Restrepo

Stats Summary: USA / COL
Shots:  5 /18
Shots on goal:  1/ 6
Saves: 4 / 0
Corner Kicks: 2 / 8
Fouls: 11 / 13
Offside: 2 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Matt Miazga (caution)                      52nd minute
USA – Kellyn Acosta (caution)                    67
COL – Rafael Santos Borre (caution)        67
USA – Cody Cropper (caution)                   83
COL – Cristian Borja                                         90+1

Officials:
Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Orkun Aktas (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Mehmet Staman (TUR)
Fourth Official: Huseyin Gocek (TUR)

ussoccer.com Man of the Match: TBD

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US Soccer

Nineteen Players Called to U-15 Boys' National Team for 2019 Torneo delle Nazioni

CHICAGO (April 23, 2019)—The U.S. Under-15 Boys’ National Team will head to the 2019 Torneo delle Nazioni in Gradisca, Italy from April 23 to May 5. The tournament marks the first international games of the year for the U-15s, who are preparing for this summer’s 2019 Concacaf U-15 Boys’ Championship.

The USA will face India on April 28, Slovenia on April 29 and Mexico on April 30 in the tournament’s group stage. Steve Klein, Academy Director at U.S. Soccer Development Academy club PA Classics will serve as the U-15s’ head coach for the camp. The 19-player roster is made up of 18 players born in 2004 and one born in 2005.

U.S. U-15 BNT Roster by Position (Club; Hometown; Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (2): Damian Alguera (De Anza Force; San Jose, Calif.), Gabriel Slonina (Chicago Fire; Addison, Ill.)
DEFNDERS (6): John Carlos Cortez (New York Red Bulls; Ridgewood, N.J.), Brandan Craig (Philadelphia Union; Philadelphia, Pa.), Antonio Leone (Los Angeles Football Club; Long Beach, Calif.), Hans Leza (Houston Dynamo; Houston, Texas), Angel Martinez (Seattle Sounders FC; Everett, Wash.), Devan Tanton (UE Cornella/ESP; Barcelona, Spain)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Kenan Hot (New York Red Bulls; Lincroft, N.J.), Nicolas Perez Guillen (Deportivo Toluca FC/MEX; Guadalajara, Mexico), Allan Rodriguez (Chicago Fire; Elkhart, Ind.), Evan Rotundo (San Diego Surf; La Mesa, Calif.), Leonardo Torres (San Antonio FC; San Antonio, Texas), Aethan Yohannes (AZ Alkmaar/NED; Springfield, Va.)FORWARDS (5): Austin Brummett (Seattle Sounders FC; Seattle, Wash.), Osvaldo Cisneros (Sporting Kansas City; Omaha, Neb.), Cesar Cordova (Houston Dynamo; Humble, Texas), Luca Koleosho (CF Reus Deportiu/ESP; Trumbull, Conn.), Federico Oliva (Atletico Madrid/ESP; Madrid, Spain)

Following the group stage, the USA will play placement games. The rest of the tournament field is listed below:

Group A

Group B

Group C

Group D

Italy

Japan

Slovenia

Austria

England

Tukey

Mexico

Norway

Czech Republic

Russia

USA

Macedonia

Qatar

United Arab Emirates

India

Portugal

The USA has participated at the last two editions of the Torneo delle Nazioni. Last year, the U.S. U-16 BNT finished third overall after going undefeated in the group stage. Three of the 2003-born players at last year’s tournament – defender Mauricio Cuevas, midfielder Daniel Leyva and forward Tyler Freeman – were recently named to the U-17 MNT roster for the Concacaf U-17 Championship.

The core of the current U-17 MNT took home the Torneo delle Nazioni title in 2017, coming from behind to defeat England 2-1 in the tournament final with goals from Giovanni Reyna and Joseph Scally.

Roster Notes:

  • Players born on or after Jan. 1, 2004 are eligible for the 2019 Concacaf U-15 Boys’ Championship.
  • Fourteen players compete for 11 domestic-based clubs, with the most, two each, coming from the Chicago Fire, New York Red Bulls and Seattle Sounders FC. Five play for foreign-based clubs in Spain (three), Mexico and Netherlands.
  • Fourteen players (all U.S.-based players) are currently competing in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, while fifteen have spent at least one season in the Academy. Midfielder Aethan Yohannes played for D.C. United before moving to AZ Alkmaar.
  • The tournament will mark Federico Oliva’s first appearance with the U-15 BNT. He was called to the team’s year-opening camp in Carson, Calif., but had to withdraw due to injury.
  • Goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, defenders Brandon Craig and Antonio Leone as well as midfielders Kenan Hot and Evan Rotundo have appeared in all six events of the 2018-19 U-15 cycle.
  • Forward Austin Brummett made his professional debut for Tacoma Defiance on April 20 against Phoenix Rising FC, becoming the youngest player to ever play in the USL Championship.
  • Slonina signed a MLS Homegrown contract with the Fire in March, making him the youngest Homegrown signing in MLS history.
  • Midfielder Leonardo Torres inked a professional contract with San Antonio FC in February, becoming the youngest pro signing in USL Championship history.
  • The U-15 BNT went 1-2-0 in its first set of international games in May 2018 against Bosnia and Herzegovinia U-16 (L 1-3, L 1-2) and Serbia (W 5-0).
  • Eight players on this roster made their international debuts in that trio of games: Craig, Hot, Leone, Rotundo and Slonina as well as defender Devan Tanton, midfielder Allan Rodriguez and forward Austin Brummett. Rotundo scored two goals in the U-15s’ win over Serbia.

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U-15 BNT Apr 23, 2019
US Soccer

U-17 MNT Head Coach Raphael Wicky Names 20-Player Roster for 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship

CHICAGO (April 22, 2019) — U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Raphael Wicky has called a 20-player roster to represent the USA at the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship, set for May 1-16 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

This year’s tournament brings a new format, as 20 nations participate in the competition. The four semi-finalists will qualify for this fall’s 2019 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Brazil as representatives of Concacaf.

The USA was drawn into Group F and kicks off its tournament against Canada on Thursday, May 2 at 6 p.m. ET. The U.S. then faces Barbados on Saturday, May 4 at 4 p.m. ET and finishes group play against Guatemala on Monday, May 6 at 6 p.m. ET.

All three of the USA’s group stage games will be broadcast on Univision Deportes Network and the Concacaf GO app, available on iTunes, Google Play and online.

“I’m very excited about the team we’ve put together for this World Cup qualifying tournament,” Wicky said. “There’s a lot of very good quality in this group. We brought together a strong roster for the mini-camp earlier this month, and now we’ve added a few more pieces with a lot of good characteristics. The players have brought a great mentality and we’re excited and ready for a number of interesting games ahead.”

2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship Roster by Position (Club; Hometown; U-17 Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Damian Las (Chicago Fire; Norridge, Ill.; 13/0), 12-Chituru Odunze (Vancouver Whitecaps FC/CAN; Calgary, Alta.; 4/0)
DEFENDERS (7): 4-Axel Alejandre (FC United; Chicago, Ill.; 14/0), 3-Adam Armour (North Carolina FC; Cary, N.C.; 11/0), 13-Mauricio Cuevas (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.; 2/0), 14-Tayvon Gray (New York City FC; Bronx, N.Y.; 10/0), 5-Kobe Hernandez (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.; 14/1), 2-Joseph Scally (New York City FC; Lake Grove, N.Y.; 14/1), 15-John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls; Chatham, N.J.; 3/0)
MIDFIELDERS (5): 7-Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City; Greensboro, N.C.; 7/2), 20-Gilbert Fuentes (San Jose Earthquakes; Tracy, Calif.; 13/0), 8-Bryang Kayo (D.C. United; Poolesville, Md.; 0/0), 6-Daniel Leyva (Seattle Sounders FC; Las Vegas, Nev.; 0/0), 16-Adam Saldana (LA Galaxy; Panorama City, Calif.; 17/1)
FORWARDS (6): 18-Jack de Vries (Philadelphia Union; Wayne, Pa.; 0/0), 17-Tyler Freeman (Sporting Kansas City; Shawnee, Kan.; 3/1), 19-Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (Tacoma Defiance; Kent, Wash.; 14/5), 9-Ricardo Pepi (North Texas SC; McKinney, Texas; 6/1), 10-Giovanni Reyna (Unattached; Bedford, N.Y.; 8/1), 11-Griffin Yow (D.C. United; Clifton, Va.; 6/3)                                                                                     

The new Concacaf U-17 Championship format featured four qualifying groups and four main groups drawn directly into the tournament proper. The qualifying groups played in round-robin competition from March 16-25 and April 1-7 with the four group winners (Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe and Puerto Rico) advancing directly to the Round of 16. The top three finishers from each of the main groups will also advance to the Round of 16. From there, it’s a single-elimination bracket that will qualify four semifinalists to the U-17 World Cup as well as crown a confederation champion.

This year’s tournament marks the USA’s 18th appearance in the Concacaf U-17 Championship, which began in 1983. The USA last took home the title in 2011, its third championship (1983, 1992). The U.S. has qualified for a record 16 FIFA U-17 World Cups, tied with Brazil for the most in the tournament’s history. The U.S. has qualified for a record 16 FIFA U-17 World Cups, tied with Brazil for the most in the tournament’s history. Brazil will also participate in this year's competition, gaining entry as the host nation.

At the 2017 Concacaf Championship, the USA lost the title game to Mexico in heartbreaking fashion, falling in penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw. The team went on to reach the quarterfinals of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India, where it lost to eventual champion England.

Roster Notes:

  • Wicky has called in 16 players born in 2002 and four born in 2003 – defender Mauricio Cuevas, midfielder Daniel Leyva and forwards Tyler Freeman and Ricardo Pepi.
  • The USA’s 20-player roster comes from 14 clubs: 13 U.S.-based clubs and one based in Canada. The LA Galaxy have the most representatives with three, while two each come from D.C. United, New York City FC and Sporting Kansas City.
  • Every player has appeared in at least one U-17 MNT camp during the 2018-19 cycle.
  • Defender Axel Alejandre, goalkeeper Damian Las and midfielder Adam Saldana have appeared in all 12 training camps during the cycle.  
  • Forward Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez enters the tournament as the leading scorer for the U-17s this cycle with five goals.
  • Saldana is the roster’s most capped player at the U-17 level, appearing in all but three international games this cycle.
  • Eight players were part of the USA’s runner-up finish at the 2017 Concacaf U-15 Championship: Alejandre, midfielders Gianluca Busio and Gilbert Fuentes, Las, Ocampo-Chavez, forward Giovanni Reyna, Saldana and defender Joseph Scally.
  • Ten players have logged professional minutes in 2019. Six are signed to MLS Homegrown contracts.
  • Busio is on a hot streak with Sporting KC, scoring goals in three straight MLS games from March 30 to April 14. He’s the youngest player in league history to score in three consecutive regular season games.
  • Pepi followed up on his debut hat trick as a pro by scoring a game-winning penalty for North Texas SC in the final minutes of injury time against Forward Madison FC on April 13.
  • Forward Griffin Yow made his MLS debut on April 21 in the final minutes of D.C. United’s 2-0 loss to New York City FC.
  • Midfielder Bryang Kayo made his professional debut on April 13, coming on as a sub for Loudon United FC against Ottawa.
  • Seattle Sounders FC’s U-17 squad took home the prestigious GA Cup title last week in Frisco, Texas. Leyva earned tournament MVP honors, while Ocampo-Chavez won the Golden Boot with six goals in six games.

Academy Ties:

  • All 20 players have spent at least one season in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
  • Eighteen have logged minutes in the Development Academy this season.
  • Seven players earned Academy Best XI honors at the end of the 2017-18 season: defender Kobe Hernandez and Saldana in the West Conference, Alejandre and Las in the Central, plus Reyna, Scally and Yow in the East.
  • Reyna also took home U-16/17 East Conference Player of the Year honors in 2017-18.
  • Four players won Academy national championships last season: Reyna and Scally with New York City FC U-18/19, while Leyva and Ocampo-Chavez took home the U-16/17 title with Seattle Sounders FC.

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U-17 MNT Apr 22, 2019
US Soccer

2019 U.S. Open Cup Second Round Pairings and Host Scenarios Released

CHICAGO (April 19, 2019) – The Second Round pairings and host scenarios, including confirmed dates and kickoff times, have been set for the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, U.S. Soccer's National Championship. On May 14 & 15, 25 professional teams from the USL Championship (Division II) will enter the tournament, with 19 of these clubs playing against winners from the First Round of games Read more
U.S. Open Cup Apr 19, 2019

Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium to Host USA-Venezuela on June 9

CHICAGO (April 18, 2019) – Making its first visit to Cincinnati, the U.S. Men’s National Team will face Venezuela on June 9 in its final preparation match for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup. Kickoff at Nippert Stadium is set for 2 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast on FOX and UniMás. Fans can also follow along via U.S. Soccer’s official Facebook, Twitter (@USMNT Read more
MNT Apr 18, 2019
US Soccer

U.S. Soccer and Major League Soccer Partner with Headspace in Multi-Year Deal

CHICAGO (April 18, 2019) –U.S. Soccer and Major League Soccer today announced a three-year partnership with Headspace, one of the world’s leading meditation and mindfulness apps.

Headspace will annually provide thousands of app subscriptions to ensure all U.S. Soccer and MLS athletes, coaches, and league and club staff have access to strengthen their mindfulness and meditation skills. This partnership illustrates U.S. Soccer and MLS’ commitment to being at the forefront of total wellness by providing athletes with the best mental skills training resources. The partnership also includes the National Women's Soccer League. Details of the partnership will be announced at a later date.

As part of the deal, Headspace will conduct in-person introductory training sessions with U.S. Soccer and MLS athletes and coaches, led by Headspace co-founder Andy Puddicombe, and the company’s Head of Sports and Fitness, Lindsay Shaffer. Training sessions will take place during U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Team training camps and at various MLS events.

“MLS is committed to leveraging cutting-edge technology to enhance the overall total wellness of our athletes, coaches and staff members,” said Dr. Margot Putukian, MLS Chief Medical Officer. “The Headspace app provides top-line meditation training and is a wonderful supplement to the preexisting health and wellness resources the league and our clubs already provide. We look forward to members of the soccer community utilizing the Headspace app to advance their mindfulness skills to help them achieve their goals both on and off the field.”

Headspace is also creating a personalized training program for each individual athlete on the U.S. Women’s National Team to support their preparation on the journey to this summer’s tournament in France. The U.S. Women’s National Team is the defending World Champion and is currently ranked No. 1 in the world.

“We are extremely excited to partner with Headspace, the world leader in mindfulness and meditation,” said James Bunce, U.S. Soccer Director of High Performance. “Not only will this partnership help all of our players’ performance on-the-field, but it will also have significant impact on their wellness off-the-field. While the importance of soccer’s physical components are well-known and well-trained, the power of mental conditioning in soccer has often been underutilized. Through this partnership with Headspace, we now have the expertise and technology to ensure that all of our players’ needs are being supported as they work towards their goals.

“We are also extremely excited to work closely with the Headspace development team and the U.S. Women’s National Team to individually support every player on the road to France. With this project, each player will be provided an individually-tailored mindfulness and meditation program to help make sure that no stone is left unturned in these players’ preparation for this summer’s tournament.”

U.S. Soccer’s partnership with Headspace further demonstrates the Federation’s commitment to making soccer the preeminent sport in the United States, using innovation, science and technology to provide the best possible training environment for its athletes. In addition to partnering with Headspace, U.S. Soccer created the High Performance Department and hired full-time staff dedicated to the Men’s and Women’s National Teams. The organization also partnered with StatSports for comprehensive physical data collection, and has implemented initiatives such as bio-banding to support long term player development.

“We know that mental preparation is as important as physical preparation for elite athletes,” said U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis, “We are excited that Headspace has partnered with U.S. Soccer to provide the players another tool to help them perform at their highest levels heading into, and through the tournament this summer.”

MLS, U.S. Soccer and Headspace will also explore scientific research opportunities around the benefits of meditation and mindfulness related to key aspects of performance. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to co-create mental training content specific to soccer with leading physical and mental performance experts.

“While athletes go to great lengths to physically train their bodies, the mind is often neglected. Mental training is the future of sport, and meditation and mindfulness are proven techniques to improve mental fitness. We are thrilled to provide Headspace as the mental training tool to some of the world’s greatest athletes, helping them to achieve their performance goals, support their overall health and happiness, and work with U.S. Soccer and the MLS to create a future of sport in which athletes focus as much on training their minds as they do their bodies,” said Lindsay Shaffer, Head of Sports and Fitness at Headspace.

MLS and U.S. Soccer athletes and coaching staff will have access to Headspace’s comprehensive library of meditation content, including “Headspace for Sport,” which is designed to strengthen their mindfulness and meditation skills through a variety of 10-session “packs,” including Motivation, Concentration, Training, Competition, Communication, Analysis and Recovery.

Meditation and mindfulness are scientifically proven to support key aspects of preparation, performance, and recovery. When it comes to performance, mindfulness helps athletes stay focused, free from distraction, and ensure they are in the optimal flow state. In recovery, mindfulness can be used to induce the relaxation response, lowering the heart rate, relaxing the muscles, and counteracting the harmful effects of stress on the body. This ensures athletes have the ability to recover that much quicker, and often has the added benefit of improving sleep quality. Meditation also increases the grey matter in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is responsible for focus, and decreases grey matter in the amygdala, the area of the brain responsible for stress and fear.

Mindfulness training is an additional resource to a person’s overall total wellness regimen. For assessment and management of psychological issues, treatment from a licensed healthcare professional is advised. For more information on the Headspace app, visit www.headspace.com.

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MNT WNT Apr 18, 2019
US Soccer

TRIVIA: U.S. MNT History vs. Venezuela

The U.S. Men's National Team will meet Venezuela in its final warmup for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup on Sunday, June 9 at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. Test your knowledge around the MNT's history against La Vinotinto with this 20-question Sporcle quiz!  DIRECTIONS: 1) Click "Play" below 2) Fill in as many answers as you can in the 10-minute time limit 3) Comment with your scores Read more
MNT Apr 18, 2019

BTC: 99ers Honored in Los Angeles

Twenty years ago, the Women’s National Team won the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup title in front of sold out crowd of 90,000+ at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The victory was a defining moment for not only women’s soccer, but for women’s sports in general and for soccer as a whole in the United States. On April 7, 2019, we brought the entire 1999 team together to honor them for their contributions to our game and lives. In this episode of Behind the Crest, we take a look as WNT players from past and present, celebrities, guests, and fans converge in Los Angeles to thank this incredible group of women. Read more
WNT Apr 16, 2019
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