UYSA members: Get ready for Soccerfest!
UYSA members: Get ready for Soccerfest! avatar

Are you ready for Soccerfest?

Come out for this fun event at the Utah Valley Convention Center, Saturday March 16, 2013 from 9am-3pm.

There will be prizes, family, friends and tons of fun soccer related activities for everyone to enjoy!  Also, you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to win a big screen TV!

Find out more by visiting the UYSA website: Click Here

Courtesy of UYSA

Courtesy of UYSA

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LSA ODP boys represent Region III in Costa Rica
LSA ODP boys represent Region III in Costa Rica avatar

Louisiana ODP boys represented Region III ODP teams in Costa Rica this past month!

Congratulations to Dayton Prejean (95 boys), Jacob Cunningham (96 boys), Colin Hanley (96 boys) and Justin Nhan (96 boys) on a job well done!

Check out this awesome video highlighting the trip. Pictures and details can be found n the LSA Facebook page: Click Here

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2013 Arkansas State Championships
2013 Arkansas State Championships avatar

Courtesy of ASSA

Courtesy of ASSA

Registration for the 2013 President’s Cup and AR State Championships are open now!

There will be two divisions: President’s Divsion and Champions Division. For the U13 and U14 age groups, winners from the President’s Division will advance to the Region III President’s Cup and winners from the Champions Division will advance to Southern Regionals. New this year: U9 and U10 Academy division is offered.


Check out more information below, to register please visit the ASSA website.

  • U9 & U10 Academy
  • U11 – U12 State Cup

◦                      Gold

◦                      Silver

◦                      Bronze

  • U13  - U14 State Cup

◦                      Champions Division

◦                      President’s Division

Date:  May 18 – 19, 2013

Location:  Burns Park, North Little Rock

Early Registration fee: $450  (deadline March 15, 2013).  To qualify for the early deadline payment must be received by the deadline.

Registration fee:  $475: March 16 – 31, 2013

Late Registration fee: $500 (April 1 – 15, 2013)  (increases to $525 after April 15)

Deadline to enter:  April 15, 2013

Bond: $1,000 for the U13 – U14 age groups (a club can elect to send in one check of $1,000 for all of their teams)  If a club does not provide a check each team must submit an individual bond check.



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What’s Next In The Hex?
What’s Next In The Hex? avatar

In little more than two weeks the United States men’s national team will host Costa Rica at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado. The good news is that the stadium quickly sold out, and that the crowd is expected to be largely for the home team, always a concern for the U.S. side.

Garcia scored a spectacular bicycle kick for Hondurus. (Getty Images)

Garcia scored a spectacular bicycle kick for Hondurus. (Getty Images)

But what about the bad news. Let’s start with the Americans place in the standings of the six team Concacaf World Cup qualifying group. As the only team in the Hex to lose their opening match, 2-1 at Honduras, the U.S. currently sit alone at the bottom, with zero points. Conversely, Honduras is on top with three points. The other two matches ended up in ties, with Mexico being held 0-0 at home by Jamaica, while Costa Rica came back from 0-2 down on the road to take a point from Panama, 2-2.

But that is just one round of games in a 10 round series, right? Right, but four days after the U.S. hosts the Ticos in Colorado, the Yanks visit the always-inhospitable Estadio Azteca to take on Mexico.

Mexico also struggle and only walked away with a draw against Jamaica(Getty Images)

Mexico also struggled and only walked away with a draw against Jamaica(Getty Images)

A positive spin would note that the U.S. beat El Tri in Azteca for the first time ever last August 15, 1-0 on a goal from Michael Orozco Fiscal. More realistically, that game was a friendly and Orozco-Fiscal has dropped off of the U.S. radar, despite continued problems at his center back position. But more on that later.

Now I don’t mean to come off as Chicken Little, running around claiming that the sky is falling, but; what if the U.S. don’t take the maximum three points from Costa Rica? After Mexico, the U.S. are off until June 7, in Jamaica. Remember that the Reggae Boyz upset the Yanks 2-1 last September in Kingston in the semifinal qualifying round, and that the U.S. only managed a 1-0 victory at Columbus in the return leg on September 11, despite a dominant first half.

Would zero points from the first four games of a 10 round tournament be cause for panic? How about one point? Home games versus Panama and Honduras follow the Jamaica game, so the U.S. would be well set up if they can garner, say a win against Costa Rica, and even a point at Azteca. A loss to Mexico wouldn’t be too harmful if Costa Rica have already been dispatched.

Dempsey will be hoping he can lead by example. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Dempsey will be hoping he is fit to lead his team. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

With that Costa Rica game looming as hugely important, let’s look at what has happened since the U.S. lost that road opener to Honduras on February 6. Right now Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey are sidelined with injuries. Dempsey has a calf strain, and Howard with back trouble. Howard has been Mr. Reliable for club and country, and this injury kept him out of action for Everton for the first time since September 2007, leaving him two games shy of Neville Southall’s Toffee’s record of 212 consecutive games.

Both are expected back in time for the upcoming national team games, but backs can be tricky, so Howard could be a problem. And then there is Dempsey. If the Tottenham man’s recovery goes wrong, U.S. fans may well be looking up to see if the sky is in its usual spot. That is how important Dempsey is right now to the otherwise anemic U.S. attack.

“Duece,” scored a beautiful goal against Honduras, and if he were to miss the upcoming game(s), where would the goals come from? Jozy Altidore just bested Dempsey’s U.S. record for goals by an American in Europe, but he simply seems incapable of scoring in a U.S. jersey since Klinsmann took over. Altidore led the Nats in scoring with five goals in 2009 WC qualifiers and he has scored 24 this season, including 17 in Eredivisie action. Herculez Gomez would be another potential source of goals if Dempsey were to miss out and he is in good form with a recent two goal game for Santos Laguna, his Mexican club.

But Clint is expected back soon, so the forwards should be ok. What about the rest of the team? Like Dempsey, Tim Howard is also expected back. Unlike Dempsey, his absence can be absorbed by the Yanks. Aston Villa number one Brad Guzan would be an able deputy, as his Man of the Match effort in a 1-0 loss to Manchester City at the weekend showed.

Bradley has showed great determination and leadership qualities in recent games(ISI Photos/John Todd)

Bradley has showed great determination and leadership qualities in recent games(ISI Photos/John Todd)

The midfield is healthy, although a coaching change at Roma has seen Michael Bradley scrapping for playing time, coming off the bench in recent games. Bradley’s importance to this team cannot be overemphasized and anything that disrupts his game is a cause for concern.

Since Honduras we have also heard from Landon Donovan, and we learned that he would not be making himself available for these next two matches. So, no help there for the midfield. Hoffenheim’s Danny Williams is another who has found regular starters minutes harder to come by these past few weeks, while Brek Shea is just getting his feet wet at Stoke, and the Stuart Holden watch reveals a player a long way from 100%.

And then there is the defense. A shambles for the most part in Honduras, can we expect better in Colorado? Fullbacks Fabian Johnson and Timmy Chandler were poor against Honduras, where veteran Steve Cherundolo’s cool head was missed. Cherundolo remains sidelined for Hannover, where he is the captain, and he will be hard pressed to make it back in time for the Costa Rica game.

Johnson was also mediocre at best in that opening loss, and his likely back-up Edgar Castillo, has just been ruled out with broken bones in his face. Castillo has been playing well for his Mexican league club Tijuana, and could have provided an option at the back, or as a wide midfielder for the coming qualifiers. But while both young fullbacks can reasonably be expected to bounce back, can the same be expected from the U.S. center back pairing?

The team not only missed the defensive experience of Bocanegra but also his leadership. (ISI Photos/Nick Turchiaro)

The team not only missed the defensive experience of Bocanegra but also his leadership. (ISI Photos/Nick Turchiaro)

In Honduras, Klinsmann made the move away  from captain Carlos Bocanegra to the younger Omar Gonzalez. It was a move that raised eyebrows, and a move that did not work. The experienced Boca was missed and his replacement was at least partly culpable on both Honduras goals.

Does that mean Bocanegra will be reinstated as a starter? Probably not. Since Honduras, Bocanegra has been unable to get his place back for Racing Santander, a team that is battling relegation from the Spanish Second Division. Geoff Cameron has also been having some problems at Stoke City. With Bocanegra’s ouster, Cameron has gone from the being the new guy in the group, to a new role as the leader of the U.S. back four. It did not work out in Honduras, where communication between Cameron and Tim Howard played a big part in the winning goal.

Cameron has not played a single minute at center back for the Potters this season, and in the weeks since the Honduras loss, he has lost his first choice status at right fullback. Cameron has been moved around the midfield and was eventually benched. Last weekend against West Ham, Stoke City coach Tony Pulis left Cameron on the sideline despite the absence of center back mainstay Robert Huth, raising the question of whether Pulis even sees the U.S. central defender as an option in that position.

So, is the sky falling, or can the U.S. rebound with a strong effort at home against Costa Rica? We’ll keep a close eye on the injury reports and the team sheets in the run up to Colorado. And maybe we’ll take an occasional glance up at the sky, just to see that it is in its rightful place.

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MSYSA to hold Administrator’s workshop
MSYSA to hold Administrator’s workshop avatar

MSYSA will hold a special Administrators workshop Sunday, April 14, 2013 at the Ann Arbor Marriot located in Ypsilanti, MI.

The workshop is free to all MSYSA members and is a great way to get informed and get your questions answered regarding soccer in Michigan. Check out the schedule below and for descriptions and register information lease visit the MSYSA website.

  • 9:00 AM l GotSoccer & Registration Roundtable l Presented by Joel Dragan, MSYSA Director of Member Services
  • 9:00 AM l How to Hold a Proper Disciplinary Hearing l Presented by Josh Sherman, MSYSA Director of Programs 
  • 9:00 AM l What is Olympic Development Program (ODP)? l Presented by Barb Sarkesian, MSYSA ODP Administrator  
  • 10:00 AM l Beginner Volunteer Coach Resources l Presented by Bryan Thorp, MSYSA Director of Coaching
  • 10:00 AM l Risk Management Round Table l Presented by Joel Dragan, MSYSA Director of Member Services
  • 1:00 AM l Insurance Benefits Roundtable l Presented by Josh Sherman, MSYSA Director of Programs
  • 1:00 AM l Tournament Director’s Roundtable l Presented by Sarah Shiguango, MSYSA Director of Events


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FL 97′ ODP boys make it to Championships
FL 97′ ODP boys make it to Championships avatar

Florida’s 1997 ODP boys made it all the way to the 2013 U.S. Youth Soccer ODP Championships held in Frisco, TX this past weekend, and though they lost to Cal South 2-1 in overtime, it was a neck to neck match. Congratulations to the boys for their hard work on this incredible journey!

You can find a link to the full story on the FYSA Facebook page: Click Here

Courtesy of FYSA

Courtesy of FYSA


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U.S. WNT Opens 20th Algarve Cup With A Win
U.S. WNT Opens 20th Algarve Cup With A Win avatar

The quest for a 9th Algarve Cup title for the U.S. WNT has begun, as they opened the tournament with a 3-0 win against Iceland today in Albufeira, Portugal.

Rachel Buehler captained her team and scored the winning goal. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Rachel Buehler captained her team and scored the winning goal. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

The first match saw goals from Rachel Buehler, Shannon Boxx and Abby Wambach. Buehler celebrated her 100th cap by putting the first U.S. goal up on the board. Wambach upped her goal record to 154 – only four away from Mia Hamm’s 158. Will she tackle that record in Portugal? Only time will tell, for though  the U.S. definitely played the better game, Iceland made them work for the win with a hefty defense that was clearly on point.

The first half wrapped up with no points on the board.  Though the U.S. dominated for the majority, scoring was made all but impossible. There were plenty of chances for them to score, especially for Alex Morgan, who had a big miss minutes before the end of the half. Wambach had a close head on goal in the 33rd minute, but the ball just did not want to go in.

The second half opened with Buehler’s beautiful header off a corner kick from Lauren Cheney. She blasted the ball past the Icelandic goalie  to put the U.S. up on the board 1-0 at the 48th minute.

“Usually we hit the corner kicks back post, but it came right to my head and I was ready and it was probably the best goal I’ve had,” Buehler told U.S. Soccer.

The U.S. began to smell a win, relentlessly pounding the Icelandic defense like a hammer until they crumbled. Boxx surged through at the 62rd minute, guiding a header from Christie Rampone into the back of the net to bump the score 2-0.

The end of the second half drew near, and the Icelandic defense continued to slowly wilt. Wambach saw her chance for glory and found the back of a wide open net off a cross from Morgan.  Morgan made several attempts to score throughout the game, but it just wasn’t her day.

Still, a 3-0 shut out was a treat for head coach Tom Sermanni.

“I’m happy with the clean sheet,” Sermanni said in a press conference. “It was of aims before we came into the game and the tournament. We wanted to make sure we didn’t give away any easy goals so it was good to come out of the game with no goals against.”

The game against Iceland marked the 150th U.S. WNT win in Algarve Cup history. It’s clear they are on a mission for a 2013 title! The next match is against China PR on March 8, more to follow….

Scoring Summary:    1 2 F
USA                             0 3 3
ISL                                0 0 0

USA – Rachel Buehler (Lauren Cheney)        48th minute
USA – Shannon Boxx (Christie Rampone)     62
USA – Abby Wambach (Alex Morgan)           74

USA : 21-Jill Loyden; 6-Crystal Dunn, 19-Rachel Buehler (capt.), 3-Christie Rampone, 5-Kelley O’Hara; 9-Heather O’Reilly, 7-Shannon Boxx, 10-Carli Lloyd (23-Christen Press, 64), 12-Lauren Cheney; 13-Alex Morgan, 20-Abby Wambach
Substitutions Not Used: 2-Sydney Leroux, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 8-Kristie Mewis, 11-Ali Krieger, 14-Whitney Engen, 15-Megan Rapinoe, 16-Yael Averbuch, 17-Tobin Heath, 18-Nicole Barnhart, 22-Lindsey Horan, 24-Ashlyn Harris
Head coach: Tom Sermanni

ISL: 1-Thóra Helgadóttir; 2-Sif Atladóttir, 5-Hallbera Gudný Gísladóttir, 13-Glódís Perla Viggósdóttir, 10-Dóra María Lárusdóttir, 6-Hólmfrídur Magnúsdóttir (22-Sandra María Jessen, 64), 7-Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir (capt.) (20-Gunnhildur Jónsdóttir, 83), 11-Katrín Ómarsdóttir (4-Edda Gardarsdóttir,73), 14-Dagný Brynjarsdóttir (15-Gudný Ódinsdóttir, 79), 9-Fanndís Fridriksdóttir (3-Rakel Hönnudóttir, 46), 18-Harpa Thorsteinsdóttir (23-Elín Metta Jensen, 73)
Substitutions Not Used: 8-Katrín Jónsdóttir, 12-Gudbjörg Gunnarsdóttir, 16-Birna Kristjánsdóttir, 17-Ólína Gudbjörg Vidarsdóttir, 19-Mist Edvardsdóttir, 21-Elísa Vidarsdóttir
Head coach: Sigurdur Eyjolfsson

Stats Summary: USA / ISL
Shots: 18 / 4
Shots on Goal: 8 / 1
Saves: 1 / 5
Corner Kicks: 7 / 3
Fouls: 12 / 16
Offside: 7 / 2


Team GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
USA 1 1 0 0 3 0 +3 3
CHN 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 1
SWE 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 1
ISL 1 0 1 0 0 3 -3 0


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2013 Algarve Cup – Kick-Off
2013 Algarve Cup – Kick-Off avatar

Wednesday marks the start of the 20th Algarve Cup in Portugal, and the U.S. WNT has been keeping busy since their arrival on Feb. 26 with intense practices and a closed-door scrimmage against Denmark.

For the U.S. women, the 2013 tournament isn’t about a fun vacation in sunny Portugal, what you can expect to see is some first class American fury out on the pitch. After winning back-to-back in 2010-2011, their loss to Japan in 2012 is a sting still felt, and It also doesn’t help that this was the only loss they had in their explosive 2012 season.

Tom Sermanni will hoping that his team will prove they are still the best(ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Tom Sermanni will hoping that his team will prove they are still the best(ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

To top it all off, new head coach Tom Sermanni is up on the stage with the soccer world watching. After two opening season victories against his native Scotland in February, its time to see if that streak will continue in Portugal against the big dogs.

Alex Morgan looked sharp and will be ready to continue where she left off.(ISI Photos/Craig Mitchelldyer)

Alex Morgan looked sharp and will be ready to continue where she left off.(ISI Photos/Craig Mitchelldyer)

A scrimmage against Denmark took place last weekend, consisting of three 30 minute periods. A 4-1 win by the U.S. proved they have been working hard and are ready for their first official match against Iceland on March 6th.

Favorite, Alex Morgan jump started the match scoring in the 4th minute off of an assist from Lauren Cheney.

Abby Wambach threw in one of her infamous headers at the 7th minute, but unfortunately, it was offside. Carli Lloyd, not one to miss out on a goal opportunity, followed up instantly scoring off a cross from Heather O’Reilly.

Morgan got her second goal at the 29th minute, tallying up three U.S. goals in 30 minutes- not too shabby.

The Danes fought back with a goal in the 45th minute off a free kick, but it was clear who owned the scrimmage. Sydney Leroux polished the plate with one more goal off a header from rising star, Christen Press, who recently received her first cap in the the opening match against Scotland.

It looks like heart and soul are going into this year’s tournament, as all 20 players on the U.S. Roster will compete.  The Algarve has been a proving ground for past players to earn their first caps and though they have been powerful in the past, 2012 was proof of how unexpected this tournament can be- it’s a battle of the creme of the crop- it’s anyone’s game.

20th Annual Algarve Cup 
The Algarve, Portugal

Group A
Germany, Norway, Japan, Denmark

Group B
USA, Sweden, Iceland, China PR

Group C
Portugal, Hungary, Wales, Mexico

U.S. Women’s National Team 2013 Algarve Cup Roster by Position

GOALKEEPERS (3): Nicole Barnhart (FC Kansas City), Ashlyn Harris (Duisburg), Jill Loyden (Sky Blue FC)

DEFENDERS (7): Rachel Buehler (Portland Thorns FC), Crystal Dunn (UNC), Whitney Engen (Liverpool FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Yael Averbuch (Göteborg FC), Shannon Boxx (Chicago Red Stars), Lauren Cheney (FC Kansas City), Tobin Heath (Paris Saint-German), Carli Lloyd (Western NY Flash), Kristie Mewis (FC Kansas City), Heather O’Reilly (Boston Breakers), Megan Rapinoe (Olympique Lyonnais)

FORWARDS (5): Lindsey Horan (Paris Saint-German), Sydney Leroux (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), Christen Press (Tyresö FF), Abby Wambach (Western NY Flash)

Year U.S. Finish 
1994 2nd
, 1995 4th, 1996 Did not participate, 
1997 Did not participate  
1998 3rd, 
1999 2nd, 
2000 1st, 
2001 6th, 
2002 5th, 
2003 1st
, 2004 1st, 
2005 1st, 
2006 2nd, 
2007 1st, 
2008 1st
, 2009 2nd, 
2010 1st, 
2011 1st
, 2012 3rd



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U-18 U.S. WNT player killed in car accident
U-18 U.S. WNT player killed in car accident avatar

xsmall_Price, RachelA tragic car accident on the evening of Mar. 1, claimed the lives of two teenagers in St. Cloud, FL, one of which was standout soccer player Rachel Price, whose admiration, determination and passion for the sport will never be forgotten.

These are traits 18-year-old Price is well known for by family and friends, especially when it comes to overcoming obstacles to accomplish dreams.

Her high school soccer career was one of promise for the future. Price received the Class 5A and 6A Player of the Year and Florida Today All-Space Coast Player of the Year in 2011. She also played with the U18 National team and is recognized as the youngest player to travel on the Tampa Bay Hellenic W-league and WPSL.

But, senior year brought Price’s world to a screeching halt when she was diagnosed with the disease lupus. This resulted in the termination of her hard earned Div 1 soccer scholarship to a top ranked school. As she prepared to graduate, her plans had to change and she chose to attend Div 2 Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL, where she was studying Marine Biology.

The ambitious Price brushed the daunting news off like dirt on her cleats and refused to let her dreams be dashed. She completed her first successful season with the Eckerd Tritons, tallying up three goals and one assist in four games played.

“Words cannot describe the loss of Rachel Price to Eckerd College,” Eckerd Head Coach Danielle Fotopoulos said in a statement on the school website. “She was a strong, confident woman and a friend. She was successful in anything she put her mind to. It was an honor to get to be her coach and she taught us all, as a team, to put everything on the line. Rachel fought for her life to play soccer and now not even being with us, continues to bless us. May God bless her family and help them find peace.”

But most importantly, she faced her fears with optimism and continued to shine as an example to others of how dreams are never impossible to reach if you persevere. And though this precious life was taken so suddenly and unexpectedly, the amazing legacy Price leaves behind will forever leave a lasting impression on those who knew her and on the soccer world as a whole.

“Rachel will be missed by her family, her extended family and her friends,”grandfather Donnie Price told reporters. “Rachel was a beautiful person and she brought smiles to everyone around her.”

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U.S. U-23 WNT Win Four Nations Tournament
U.S. U-23 WNT Win Four Nations Tournament avatar

The U.S. U23 Women’s National Team is victorious across the board, finishing their campaign at the Final Four Nations Tournament in La Manga, Spain with 2-1 victory over the England Lions this morning.

U-20 Standout Julie Johnston helped lead the U-23's to victory over England. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

U-20 Standout Julie Johnston helped lead the U-23′s to victory over England. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Santa Clara defender Julie Johnston gave the U.S. their first goal with a 38th minute header from the corner. This only stoked the competitive fire, and the Lions took possession, with Birmingham City’s defender Kerys Harrop equalizing just four minutes later.

Overtime looked imminent, but future Washington Spirit forward Stephanie Ochs shattered that notion, scoring the winner with five minutes remaining.

The U-23 girls can breathe easy and celebrate a successful trip to Spain. They defeated Norway 3-1 and Sweden  6-0 in their other two matches of the tournament.


USA – Julie Johnston 38th minute
ENG – Kerys Harrop 42
USA – Stephanie Ochs 85


Table Total                                                           Goals
Team P W D L F-A A Points
USA 3 3 0 0 11-2 9 9
England 3 2 0 1 4-2 2 6
Sweden 3 1 0 2 1-8 -7 3
Norway 3 0 0 3 1-5 -4 0



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U.S. U-20′s Fall In Overtime
U.S. U-20′s Fall In Overtime avatar

Mexico topped the U.S. 3-1 in a thrilling Concacaf U20 Final (March 3, 2013), that saw the home side score one goal in each of the two overtime periods to claim

Mexico's Jesus Corona opened the scoring for the home side. (Getty Images)

Mexico’s Jesus Corona opened the scoring for the home side. (Getty Images)

the title. A full house of more than 49,000 that crowded into Cuauhtemoc Stadium in Puebla, Mexico were treated to a well played match between two countries that had already qualified for the U20 World Cup this summer in Turkey.

The Americans started well, earning a corner just 20 seconds from kickoff. U.S. center back Shane O’Neill headed high, but it was game on. Then Mexico struck for the games first goal through the dangerous Jesus Corona. Corona used his quickness to beat two U.S. defenders, before firing past American keeper Cody Cropper. Cropper was reportedly headed back to his English club Southampton, but his teammates were happy he stuck around when he robbed Corona of a second goal, less than four minutes after his opener.

The U.S. responded well, coming right back at the home team. A period of U.S. pressure earned a penalty for a handball and the excellent Benji Joya buried it for 10th minute equalizer. End to end action gave the big crowd plenty to cheer about, and Cropper and Mexico keeper Richard Sanchez both came up big to keep the score at 1-1 heading into the break.

Benji Joy celebrating the USA's equalizer. (ISI Photos//OSVALDO AGUILAR)

Benji Joya celebrating the USA’s equalizer. (ISI Photos//OSVALDO AGUILAR)

The fast pace continued on the re-start, with the ever dangerous Corona shooting high moments into the second half. The U.S. performance was their best of the tournament, with the talented Mexican team bringing out the best in Tab Ramos’ side.

The quality of refereeing has been very poor throughout this tournament and the U.S. fell victim to that lack of quality in the 60th minute, when a blatant penalty against Mario Rodriguez was somehow overlooked.

Each team had chances to win the game in regulation with Cropper coming up big to deny Jorge Escoboza in the 74th minute, while Sanchez appeared to get a foot to a Rodriguez header off of a fine Joya cross.

Ramos had yet to use his bench, despite the 7,000 foot altitude that combined with this busy tournament schedule, must have had his players feeling tired. His Mexican counterpart used his allotted three subs, but Ramos was limited in options. With three players sent back to their clubs and at least two more players, including the influential Daniel Cuevas out injured, Ramos went deep into the second overtime before bringing in striker Brandon Allen.

O'neill's reckless challenge could see him miss out on a World Cup spot as his straight red card will mean he misses the first 3 games. (ISI Photos)

O’neill’s reckless challenge (112th minute) could see him miss out on a World Cup spot as his straight red card will mean he misses the first 3 games. (ISI Photos)

Mexican sub Jose Gomez scored a spectacular volley off of a corner kick 99 minutes in, leaving the tired Yanks a hill to climb. Fellow sub Espericueta lashed home a penalty at the 113 minute mark, effectively ending the contest and setting the misleading final score.

El Salvador defeated Cuba 1-0 in the third place game, although both countries, along with Mexico and the United States, are heading to the U20 World Cup to be played from June 21- July 13 in Turkey.

The performance of the American team in this tournament will be a boon to a U.S. youth program that was under pressure after some poor recent results. Ramos will also emerge with his reputation enhanced, having coaxed his team to play some stylish and effective soccer. Players like Joya, Villarreal, Daniel Cuevas, Luis Gil and keeper Cody Cropper gave noteworthy performances, raising expectations in the process.


With these games having been televised back home, the American soccer fan base will be keeping a close watch on these young players as they head back to their clubs and colleges. Brazil and Argentina both failed to qualify for the U20 World Cup and the feeling is that anything can happen this summer in Turkey.

MEX – Jesus Corona (Marco Bueno) 4th minute
USA – Benji Joya (penalty kick) 10
MEX – Julio Gomez (Jorge Espericueta) 99
MEX – Jorge Espericueta (penalty kick) 113

USA: 1-Cody Cropper; 16-Dillon Serna, 5-Shane O’Neill, 14-Javan Torre (19-Brandon Allen, 107), 3-Juan Pablo Ocegueda; 15-Mikey Lopez, 6-Wil Trapp; 9-Mario Rodriguez, 8-Benji Joya (capt.), 17-Danny Garcia; 7-Jose Villarreal
Substitutions Not Used: 2-Boyd Okwuonu, 12-Kendall McIntosh, 20-Daniel Cuevas, 22-Zack Steffen
Head coach: Tab Ramos

MEX: 1-Richard Sanchez; 2-Francisco Flores, 3-Hedgardo Marin (14-Abel Fuentes, 59), 4-Antonio Briseño (capt.), 5-Bernardo Hernandez, 6-Armando Zamorano (7-Jorge Espericueta, 46), 9-Marco Bueno, 10-Jesus Corona, 15-Jose Van Rankin, 18-Uvaldo Luna (8-Julio Gomez, 75), 20-Jesus Escoboza
Substitutions Not Used: 11-Emmanuel Hernandez, 12-Manuel Lajud, 13-Jose Abella, 16-Carlos Treviño, 17-Carlos Fierro, 19-Luis Madrigal
Head coach: Sergio Almaguer

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U-23 WNT Trounce Sweden
U-23 WNT Trounce Sweden avatar

The U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team thrashed Sweden, 6-0, in their second game of the Four Nations Tournament in La Manga, Spain on Saturday, March 2, as 5 different players got on the score sheet.

NWSL first pick got on the scoresheet (ISI Photos/Thomas Eisenhuth)

Former UCLA forward Zakiya Bywaters got on the scoresheet (ISI Photos/Thomas Eisenhuth)

The USA shot out of the block in the 1st minute to take the lead 1-0 with a goal from Santa Clara forward Morgan Marlborough. It wasn’t until the 19th minute that the U.S. got their second, through a goal from Marlborough’s college teammate, defender Julie Johnston. Marlborough made it 3 for the Americans in the 26th minute, and the NWSL first draft pick Zakiya Bywaters got on the board just before the half, to give her team a comfortable lead.

The second half was much more of a tepid affair and Sweden were able to gain some possesion, this led to the introduction of several U.S. players. It seemed to pay off instantly, and in the 72nd minute UCLA’s midfielder Samantha Mewis put the game out of reach by making it 5. Substitute Colleen Williams completed the rout to take the USA’s goal tally to 6.

The USA will play England next on March 4 in the decisive game of the tournament.

USA – Morgan Marlborough (Samantha Mewis) 2nd minute
USA – Julie Johnston (Vanessa DiBernardo) 20
USA – Morgan Marlborough (Julie Johnston) 24
USA – Zakiya Bywaters (Stephanie Ochs) 43
USA – Samantha Mewis (Stephanie Ochs) 71
USA – Colleen Williams (Havana Solaun) 80

USA: 18-Abby Smith; 3-Camille Levin (capt.), 8-Julie Johnston (2-Natasha Anasi, 65), 5-Toni Pressley, 4-Kassey Kallman, 13-Vanessa DiBernardo (14-Morgan Brian, 46), 15-Samantha Mewis, 16-Sarah Killion (19-Jenna Richmond, 46), 10-Morgan Marlborough (17-Tiffany McCarty, 46), 11-Zakiya Bywaters (7-Havana Solaun, 65), 12-Stephanie Ochs (9-Colleen Williams, 73)

Subs Not Used: 1-Jami Kranich

Head Coach: Randy Waldrum


SWE: 12-Emelie Almesjö; 13-Catrine Johansson (14-Sanna Svensson, 46), 2-Hanna Glas, 4-Mia Carlsson (capt.), 16-Elin Borg, 19-Malin Diaz Pettersson (17-Thèrese Boström, 83), 6-Petra Andersson (3-Lisa Klinga, 46), 8-Julia Lyckberg, 18-Kristin Karlsson (9-Jenny Hjohlman, 58), 15-Fridolina Rolfö (10-Jennifer Egelryd, 46), 20- Pauline Hammarlund (7-Hanna Terry, 76)

Subs Not Used: 1-Jessica H ö glander

Head Coach: Calle Barrling

Stats Summary: USA / SWE
Shots: 16 / 3
Shots on Goal: 13 / 3
Saves: 3 / 7
Corner Kicks: 8 / 2
Fouls: 4 / 8
Offside: 4 / 0

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U-20 MNT Advance to Final
U-20 MNT Advance to Final avatar

The U.S. U20’s defeated Cuba 2-0, Friday night in Puebla, Mexico to set up a showdown with arch rivals Mexico in Sunday’s Concacaf Championship Final. Although both teams were already through to the U20 World Cup, U.S. coach Tab Ramos had made it clear that he wanted this team to get to the final. He also made it clear that he wanted Mexico, Ramos got what he asked for when Mexico topped El Salvador 2-0 later Friday night.

Daniel Cuevas got the second goal and has been consistent throughout. (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

Daniel Cuevas got the second goal and will pleased with his performance throughout the tournament. (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

Ramos’ team did their part, taking an early two goal lead and comfortably protecting that lead the rest the way. The crowd at Puebla’s Cuauhtemoc Stadium had barely settled into their seats when the U.S. had their first serious threat.

In the game’s third minute American attacker Daniel Garcia got behind the Cuban defense and was one v. one with the keeper. An indecisive Garcia wasted his chance and then went down under the keepers close attention. The referee made the call, no penalty, yellow card to Garcia for simulation. It looked like a good call from the official.

But the ref wouldn’t be able save the Cubans just five minutes later, when Mario Rodriguez beat the fragile Cuban backline. Benji Joya put a lovely ball over the top of that Cuban rearguard, and Rodriguez calmly took his chance.

The dangerous Daniel Cuevas doubled the U.S. advantage with a deflected strike in the 11th minute. Cuevas scored in what we are coming to see as typical Cuevas fashion. The Santos Laguna man loves to run at the defense and that was what he did to Cuba for his goal. With Cuevas running at a backpedaling defense, it was no surprise when he unleashed a powerful shot from the top of the box. Cuevas got some help from a deflection, but it was no more than he deserved.

The Americans came into this match severely weakened by the return of key players to their teams as well as some injury problems. With a World Cup place secured, midfield maestro Luis Gil headed back to his club, Real Salt Lake. Team captain Caleb Stanko and backup forward Jerome Kiesewetter headed back to their German clubs, and Ramos was left with only 14 field players when Jose Villarreal and Eric Miller picked up knocks.

The rest of the squad did well. Shane O’Neill marshalled the back line with a vocal assist from keeper Cody Cropper. Dillon Serna held up well at right fullback, despite having never played the position before. Will Trapp and Mikey Lopez were solid in the middle of the park, and Benji Joya showed his quality on that opening assist on Rodriguez’ goal. And of course Rodriguez and Cuevas got it all started for the U.S.

Now it is on to that matchup that Ramos wanted. The final against Mexico. The Mexican’s will be expected to win on their home turf, Ramos has injury concerns with Villarreal and Cuevas, and Cropper is scheduled to head back to Southampton before Sunday’s final.

In any case the, the objective has been achieved, and with the pressure off of both teams, Sunday’s final should be a good one.

USA: 1-Cody Cropper; 16-Dillon Serna, 5-Shane O’Neill, 14-Javan Torre, 3-Juan Pablo Ocegueda; 15-Mikey Lopez, 6-Wil Trapp; 9-Mario Rodriguez (19-Brandon Allen, 72), 8-Benji Joya (capt.), 17-Danny Garcia; 20-Daniel Cuevas (2-Boyd Okwuonu, 77)

Substitutions Not Used: 7-Jose Villarreal, 12-Kendall McIntosh, 22-Zack Steffen

Head coach: Tab Ramos

CUB: 1-Sandy Sanchez, 2-Andy Vaquero, 3-Enmanuel Labrada, 6-Yosel Piedra, 8-Jordan Santa Cruz, 9-Maykel Reyes, 10-Hector Morales (17-Pedro Anderson, 52), 14-Aricheell Hernandez, 15-Adrian Arturo Diz Pe (capt.) (4-Yolexis Collado, 62), 16-Daniel Luis Saez, 18-Abel Martinez

Substitutions Not Used: 5-Brian Rosales, 7-Randy Valier, 11-Dairon Perez, 12-Delvis Lumpuy, 13-Lazaro Mezquia, 19-David Urgelles, 20-Ricardo Suarez

Head coach: Raul Gonzalez



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Winning Start For The U.S. U23 WNT
Winning Start For The U.S. U23 WNT avatar

It was a great opening for the U23 Women’s National Team in a match against Norway, Feb. 28, crossing off the first of three games in their 2013 Four Nations Tournament in La Manga, Spain.

McCarty the former FSU standout opened the scoring for the U.S. (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

McCarty the former FSU standout opened the scoring for the U.S. (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

Goals from forward Tiffany McCarty, defender Toni Pressley and forward Stephanie Ochs cemented the 3-1 win, showing that the U.S. has come to La Manga to get down to business and they have got the talent, work ethic and National team experience to prove it.

Norway’s plan was to keep the U.S. from dominating possesion and limit their chances, but that proved daunting, as McCarty popped one in off of an assist from her future Washington Spirit teammate Stephanie Ochs in the 16th minute.

The U.S continued to dominate and after a scramble in the penalty area, Pressley currently plying her trade at Ryazan VDV in Russia, grabbed the ball and made a quick play that paid off big, upping the U.S. score 2-0 in the first half.

It wasn’t until Ochs scored the third goal which came off of a cross from Camille Levin who currently plays for Göteborg FC in Sweden, that Norway seemed to come alive. Taking control, they played with some momentum and in the end it paid off when Andrine Hegerberg got her team on the scoresheet with 28 minutes still left on the clock. It was just too little too late for the Scandinavians and the U.S. ended on a convincing win, outshooting their opponents 12 to 6.

Toni Pressley, another former FSU player got a goal and an assist in the game. (Getty Images)

Toni Pressley, another former FSU player got the final goal that cemented their win. (Getty Images)

Now, the U.S. are looking forward to March 2 with their second campaign match against Sweden.

The 20 player U.S. roster boasts talent and experience with top collegiate and young pro players. Head coach Randy Waldrum threw together a handful of players from the U.S. WNT training camp, the NWSL and the 2012 U20 World Cup team to produce a deadly concoction of which Norway got the first fatal taste.

First NWSL Draft pick Zakaiya Bywaters, 2012 U20 team captain Julie Johnston, and seasoned National team player Kristie Mewis returned from U.S. WNT training with Johnston and Mewis earning their first senior team caps Feb. 9 in their 2013 debut against Scotland.

Recent college grads, McCarty, Lindsi Lisonbee and Casey Short join the roster after playing with some of the top college soccer programs in the U.S.. They will also play in the NWSL starting in April.

Lets not leave out players that were part of the 2012 U20 World Cup winning team, including young standouts Morgan Brian, Vanessa DiBernado and Sara Killion. This center midfield medley knows how to score. DiBernardo scored in the quarterfinal against Korea DPR and Brian also left her mark against Nigeria in the semifinal.

Watch out Sweden, the U.S. U23 girls have arrived in La Manga.


USA – Tiffany McCarty (Stephanie Ochs) 16th minute
USA – Toni Pressley 33
USA – Stephanie Ochs 51
NOR – Andrine Hegerberg 62


USA: 1-Jami Kranich; 3-Camille Levin (capt.), 8-Julie Johnston, 5-Toni Pressley, 6-Casey Short (4-Kassey Kallman, 39), 13-Vanessa DiBernardo (19-Jenna Richmond, 69), 14-Morgan Brian (15-Samantha Mewis, 46), 16-Sarah Killion, 12-Stephanie Ochs, 17-Tiffany McCarty (9-Colleen Williams, 46, 7-Havana Solaun, 80)), 10-Morgan Marlborough

Subs Not Used: 18-Abby Smith, 11-Zakiya Bywaters

Head Coach: Randy Waldrum


NOR: 1-Guro Pettersen; 2-Cecilie Liane (13-Anja Sønstevold, 90), 3-Ina Gausdal, 4-Anne Stenstvedt, 5-Anette Tengesdal (15-Eirin Kleppa, 58), 9-Emilie Bosshard Haavi, 20-Melissa Bjånesøy, 6-Ingrid Moe Wold (capt.), 17-Ina Skaug (7-Andrea Haugstøyl, 46), 10-Andrine Hegerberg, 11-Hege Hansen

Subs Not Used: 12-Hilde Gunn Olsen, 18-Oda Fugelsnes, 19-Tina Algr øy

Head Coach: G ørild Kringen

Stats Summary: USA / NOR
Shots: 12 / 6
Shots on Goal: 8 / 6
Saves: 5 / 5
Corner Kicks: 7 / 1
Fouls: 6 / 2
Offside: 1 / 1


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