U.S. WNT Archives for January 2010

Rare Occurance

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It's rare that the U.S. WNT plays a team it has never faced before, but that's what will happen this evening when the USA takes on Guatemala in Group B action. You can watch live on CONCACAF.com via a free video web stream. (You have to sign up, though).

In fact, this will be the just USA's seventh meeting with a Central American country.

Wedding Crashers!

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The USA's picturesque hotel here in Cancun has been the site of several weddings during the team's stay and it seems that defender Ali Krieger and goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris have attended all of them...or at least checked them out. For Krieger, it's more a matter of vocation, as she has aspirations of being a wedding planner after she finishes playing soccer.

Día de los Muertos

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Even though the Day of the Dead is not celebrated until Nov. 2 in Mexico, tomorrow is Halloween in the United States, and as you can see, forward Lauren Cheney got a head start with this scary gent who sits in the lobby of the U.S. hotel. Tomorrow, the American players are planning on dressing up in costumes, but there will be no Trick or Treating (well, maybe for Kristine Lilly's two-year-old Sidney), but some players may wear costumes to dinner.

Wambach and Solo up for FIFA Women's World Player of the Year

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U.S. forward Abby Wambach and goalkeeper Hope Solo are two of 10 nominees for the 2010 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year. The nominations included seven players who were part of WPS teams this past season. In addition, for the first time FIFA will name a men's and women's coach of the year and U.

Meditative Coloring is Good for GKs

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We spied U.S. goalkeepers Jill Loyden and Nicole Barnhart opening up a book called "Meditative Coloring" so we decided to inquire as to what the heck was the deal with that. Seems the U.S. goalkeepers find some calmness and tranquility in the coloring and it's a great way to pass the down time here in Cancun during Women's World Cup qualifying.

There's U.S. Fans Everywhere

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As is proven by this pic. The U.S. players were treated to their own banner in the hotel lobby as they walked back from the pre-game meal. Pretty cool to get your pic taken with Abby Wambach and Kristine Lilly (and Lil's daughter Sidney). Go USA.


And We're Off...

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Air Rapinoe: This shot didn't go on frame, but oh man, if it had scored...

The 2010 CONCACAF Women's World Cup Qualifying is off and running and the Americans took control of Group B after the first match day with a 5-0 win over Haiti. The match featured tons of chances for the U.

Unique Moment

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It's not often a winning team would enter the opponent's locker room, especially after a World Cup qualifying match, but that's exactly what happened tonight in Cancún, Mexico after the USA's 5-0 win over Haiti.

The island nation is still recovering from the devastating earthquake of last January 12 that reduced much of the country to rubble and took an estimated 230,000 lives, injured more than 300,000 and left one million homeless.

Go Time

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The U.S. WNT wasn't able to train at Estadio Quintana Roo today (none of the Group B teams are getting stadium trainings to preserve the field which will host six first round matches), but the squad did move to its training site for the rest of the tournament, which happens to be on a sod farm, hence it's a pretty good pitch.

Nacho Mitzy

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For some reason, U.S. WNT defender Heather Mitts really likes jumping out from behind things and scaring her teammates. And we mean, she REALLY likes doing it. No one is safe. Not players, coaches, staff members, or sometimes by accident, hotel workers. And truth be told, what's not to like? It's tons of fun and works every time, and when you've got a lot of downtime on WNT trips, you have to do something to pass the time, right?

Small-Sided Day

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The U.S. team had practice at mid-day today and the session featured many mini-games of 4 v. 4 on both big goals with goalkeepers and on small goals. After a somewhat lackluster practice yesterday, the squad had a great training today, which is usually what happens when you put these players in competitive game situations.

Heather's Getting Hitched!

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Big news inside the U.S. WNT to start this event as midfielder Heather O'Reilly got engaged over the break. While in Chapel Hill for Mia Hamm's charity golf tournament, Heather's long-time boyfriend Dave Werry (they were college sweethearts!) popped the question.

Werry asked her to go on a jog through campus and as they entered the track around UNC's Fetzer Field, where O'Reilly starred for the soccer team and Werry played lacrosse, up on the scoreboard was this message:

HEATHER, WILL YOU MARRY ME?

Four Days Out

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The U.S. WNT continued its preparation today for the 2010 CONCACAF Women's World Cup Qualifying tournament on what was widely agreed by the players at the hotest day so far. The team is actually loving the heat, but it could cool down tomorrow as some rain is expected due to a possible tropical storm brushing past Cancun.

U.S. WNT at Chichen Itza

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On a day off for the U.S. WNT today, six of the more adventerous souls took a day trip to one of the Seven Wonders of the World...the ancient Mayan Ruins of Chichen Itza! As spectacular as it is in pictures, it was even more so in person. The team had an excellent guide (if you visit Chichen Itza, ask for Rey) who did a wonderful job at explaining the history, the culture, religion and science of the Mayans, whose ancient city is spread out over a vast area and dates back at least 1,000 years, if not more.

R&R

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Today was a day off for the U.S. WNT. The team will train on Sunday and Monday, have Tuesday off, and then hold its pre-game practice on Wednesday before opening the 2010 CONCACAF Women's World Cup Qualifying Tournament on Thursday against Haiti. Fans can follow that match on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker or watch via a free web stream on CONCACAF.

Classic O'Reilly

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The U.S. WNT practiced today at the stadium for the third division squad of the Mexican First Division team Atlante. It was a bit antiquated, but definitely had some character and the field was in good shape. The U.S. team had a great practice, perhaps its best in a while, under some hot, hot sun.

Con Sangre Mexicana

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U.S. defender Stephanie Cox, formerly Stephanie Lopez, has got a little bit of media attention early in the trip. That's due to the fact that she is the first player of Hispanic descent to make an impact on the U.S. Women's National Team. Cox's grandfather was born in Mexico, a fact that made prominent in one newspaper today: "Stephanie, a defender with Mexican blood.

U.S. WNT Training...

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...IS NO PLACE FOR THE TIMID.

As witnessed by what Carli Lloyd did to Yael Averbuch's sock, and lower calf. Ouch!

Just FYI...Yael didn't miss a second of training. She's from Jersey, you know.


Fortunately, the WNT travels with lots of extra socks

Two-Hour Training

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The U.S. WNT had only one practice today so it was a solid two hours. The field was a bit bumpy, but the players attacked training with the usual gusto on a beautiful day in Cancun. Here are a few photos:


Shannon Boxx dribbles between Amy Rodriguez (L) and Lori Lindsey




The classic left midfielder Megan Rapinoe vs.

WNT Proving Popular in Mexico

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The U.S. WNT practices so far have been viewed by quite a few fans and attended by a solid number of media as well. While Mexicans love soccer, it's likely that they don't see much women's soccer in Cancun, and especially not played by elite female players. The fans watching have created somewhat of a festive atmosphere at training.

Abby in Bristol

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Abby Wambach was at the ESPN HQ last Monday. They didn't ask her if she thought this was a PK...

On the Monday before she joined the U.S. team in Dallas to fly to Cancun for Women's World Cup qualifying, star striker Abby Wambach was in Bristol, Conn., filming a This is SportsCenter commercial.

Straight to work...

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Megan Rapinoe and Lori Lindsey battle for a ball on the sideline

The first full day for the U.S. WNT in Cancun was a busy one, consisting of a morning on-field training and afternoon weights, meaning the players didn't get much chance to enjoy the scenery, although there were some brief dips in the ocean.

Bienvenidos

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Megan Rapinoe and Amy Rodriguez get an early start on the Mexican cuisine at the Dallas airport

Welcome to Mexico, U.S. Women's National Team. The players and staff flew into Dallas this morning from all different parts of the USA (and if your name is Ali Krieger, Germany too), to catch at 4:30 p.

Tickets Available for CONCACAF Women's World Cup Qualifying

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If you are going to be in Cancun, Mexico, from Oct. 28-Nov. 8, or just need to get away and can think of nothing more relaxing than taking in some CONCACAF Women's World Cup Qualifying matches, here is some information on tickets for all the games.

Tickets will be available on game day at the stadium box offices and the LOC is working on making them available at the box offices several days before the matches as well.

Kate Markgraf Retires

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Kate Markgraf, one of the most-capped players in the history of the U.S. Women's National team with 201 games played, has retired. A starter for the USA in the last six world championships, she played her last match for the U.S. National Team on July 17 against Sweden in East Hartford, Conn., and retires as one of the greatest defenders in U.

20 for Mexico

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U.S. WNT head coach Pia Sundhage has named the 20-player roster for the 2010 CONCACAF Women's World Cup Qualifying tournament in Mexico. A few surprises perhaps, but it's also stocked with experience. Sundhage seems to have put together a nice mix of veterans and young players as well as a balanced squad strong in both the attack and defense.

4 v 4 Champs

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In case you were wondering who won the team 4 v. 4 tournament on the last day of camp last Saturday, here is your answer. "But there are five players?" you say...Well, the teams had a sub, and they ran players in and out, a la indoor soccer. Also, U.S. goalkeeper coach Paul Rogers manned the nets for the champs.

Mine!

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The U.S. team had a fun warm-up today for afternoon practice which in part included a team handball-type game where the players had to advance the ball by throwing it and heading to teammates to get it near the goal, before trying to head the ball through two poles. Here's the catch: players weren't allowed to run, just walk.

Camp Almost Done

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The end of this 20-day training camp, plus two games against China, to prepare for the CONCACAF Women's World Cup Qualifying tournament is tomorrow. The last practice will consist of a 4v4 tournament on big goals with goalkeepers, which is always entertaining with the WNT. As you can see, despite the long and physical demanding camp, that came right on the heels of a long and demanding WPS season, the players are still smiling.

"Triathlon" at WNT Weight Training

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At the USA's weight training session this morning, fitness coach Dawn Scott decided to surprise the team with a competition. She divided the squad into threes for a triathlon of sorts, with one teammate running one mile on the treadmill, one teammate rowing one kilometer on the rowing machine and the last teammate riding one mile on the stationary bike.

Training Continues

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WNT players catch some Philly rays before departing for practice

There's no rest for the weary with Women's World Cup qualifying on the horizon as the day after a 1-1 tie with China, the U.S. team hit the training field once again. Well, there actually was rest for quite a few players, the ones who played 45 or more minutes in the match.

Here's the Irony: Abby Wambach Loves Hot Dogs

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If you were watching ESPN's SportsCenter or PTI today, you might have seen a clip of Abby Wambach hitting a guy in the stands with an errant shot during warm-ups for yesterday's match vs. China. The shot just got away from Abby, but she hit it pretty hard, and it flew into the stands and pegged the dude in the arm/back, causing his hot dog to flip out of his grasp and onto the ground.

Bravo, Alex

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Alex Shoots! Alex Scores!

It certainly was not the prettiest game in recent U.S. WNT history, but one of the highlights was the first full international goal for 21-year-old forward Alex Morgan, who came off the bench in the 71st minute and added an attacking spark to the cause, tying the game in the 83rd minute with a sophisticated and powerful finish.

Mia and Lilly at WNT Practice

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No, not that Mia and Lilly. The USA's special guests where just a bit younger. Allow us to explain. Along with his wife, top-notch ESPN cameramen John "Shoope" Chupein, who is based in Philadelphia, adopted two girls from China as babies and named them after Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly. Obviously (big) Mia wasn't at training yesterday, but the girls did get to meet (big) Lilly who was also a baby (relatively, she was 16) when she debuted for the USA in China against China in 1987.

Two Seats, 566 Caps

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World Class: Rampone and Lilly

We're pretty sure this picture sets a record for most caps in one row of a team bus. That's 566 caps worth of experience right there. We might even submit this picture to the Guinness Book of World Records. Think about the topics these two could discuss?

Sundhage's 18

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U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage has chosen the 18 players who will suit up to face China at PPL Park on Wednesday, Oct. 6, at 7 p.m. in a match televised live on ESPN2. And here they are:

GOALKEEPERS (2): Nicole Barnhart (FC Gold Pride), Jill Loyden (Chicago Red Stars)

DEFENDERS (5): Rachel Buehler (FC Gold Pride), Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers), Heather Mitts (Philadelphia Independence), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (Washington Freedom)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Yael Averbuch (Sky Blue FC), Shannon Boxx (FC Gold Pride), Kristine Lilly (Boston Breakers), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), Heather O'Reilly (Sky Blue FC), Megan Rapinoe (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsay Tarpley (Boston Breakers)

FORWARDS (4): Lauren Cheney (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (California), Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence), Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom)

Sundhage made three changes to the 18 that faced China on Oct.

PPL Park is Pretty Plush

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The U.S. WNT got its first look at PPL Park today and what a great soccer venue it is. If you've ever been in some of the small stadiums across Europe, this really has that feel, and that fact that more and more of these stadiums are being built in America is a foundation on which our professional game can certainly continue to grow.

Release the Goalkeepers

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Despite the bungee cords around their wrists, U.S. goalkeepers Ashlyn Harris and Nicole Barnhart (Jill Loyden had the training off) are not in trouble. Those are just devices used by U.S. goalkeeper coach Paul Rogers to help the GKs move their hands and elbows as a unit. The GKs were soon unshackled and allowed to play untethered in the 7v7 scrimmage.

If you are in Columbus or San Diego...

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...and you are looking to watch Wednesday night's U.S. WNT game vs. China with a few of your best buddies (and you are over 21), we suggest heading to Claddagh Irish Pub in Columbus or O'Brien's Pub in San Diego.Both have confirmed they are showing match and will be cheering loudly for Pia Sundhage's troops.

First Training in Philly

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AIR TARPLEY
The U.S. midfielder is back in U.S. WNT camp for the first time since she tore her ACL at the end of the first WPS season and as you can see, she's looking pretty good.

Just 15 players trained this morning as the rest got the morning off, which after a long training camp, is a nice treat for the legs and the mind.

Welcome to Philly

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This is the first time for these players in an airport. NOT.

The U.S. team left a warm Atlanta this afternoon (the team had a regen training in the morning) for a cooler Philadelphia on what was the longest short flight in a while. A bit of a delay at the outbound gate, some serious turbulence upon decent (was only about 10 seconds, but seemed like 5 minutes) and then some time spent on the tarmac in Philly before getting to the gate.

On to Philly....

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After the USA's 2-1 victory over China last night in Kennesaw, Ga., on goals from Megan Rapinoe and Heather O'Reilly, the team will travel this morning to Philadelphia to prepare for the second leg of this tw0-game series taking place on Oct. 6 at PPL Park. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 at 7 p.

Visit With a Legend

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Two U.S. legends reunite: Akers and Lilly

Yesterday afternoon, 15 U.S. players and head coach Pia Sundhage took a short trip (just 30 minutes from the team hotel) to the horse rescue farm of WNT legend Michelle Akers. The USA's all-time greatest player (just ask Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly), is still bringing her farm back into form after some terrible flooding last September (as chronicled on ESPN's E:60).

Sundhage Names 18

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U.S. WNT head coach Pia Sundhage as named the 18 players that will suit up against China tomorrow at the KSU Soccer Stadium. And here they are:

GOALKEEPERS (2): 18-Nicole Barnhart (FC Gold Pride), 24-Jill Loyden (Chicago Red Stars)

DEFENDERS (6): 26-Rachel Buehler (FC Gold Pride), 14-Stephanie Cox (Boston Breakers), 16-Ali Krieger (FFC Frankfurt), 6-Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers), 2-Heather Mitts (Philadelphia Independence), 3-Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC)


MIDFIELDERS (7): 4-Yael Averbuch (Sky Blue FC), 7-Shannon Boxx (FC Gold Pride), 13-Kristine Lilly (Boston Breakers), 11-Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia Independence), 10-Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), 9-Heather O'Reilly (Sky Blue FC), 15-Megan Rapinoe (Chicago Red Stars)


FORWARDS (3): 12-Lauren Cheney (Boston Breakers), 8-Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence), 20-Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom)

Training at KSU Soccer Stadium

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Yael Averbuch shoots low as Nicole Barnhart makes herself big on the point-blanker

After 11 days of kicking each other, the U.S. team will finally get an opponent tomorrow as they take on China at 6 p.m. ET at the beautiful Kennesaw State Soccer Stadium. The match will not be on TV, but fans can follow on ussoccer.

Camp Complete

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Lori Lindsey shares a laugh with Kristine Lilly and fitness coach Dawn Scott after the Philly Independence midfielder arrived in camp yesterday

With the arrival of Amy Rodriguez and Lori Lindsey yesterday, and WPS champs Rachel Buehler and Shannon Boxx today, the USA finally has all 30 players on the roster in camp.

Thumbs Up for Leroux

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U.S. forward Sydney Leroux, the youngest player in WNT camp at age 20, has done well during her first-ever call-up, but she might remember the experience for another reason. The other day at training, she broke her right thumb. How does a soccer player break her thumb, you ask? Well, a ball skipped hard off the wet turf and caught her thumb at just the wrong angle.