Jan. 15, 2003
CHICAGO - U.S. Women's National Team head coach April Heinrichs has named the 20 players who will travel to China tomorrow to participate in the Four Nations Tournament, running from Jan. 23-29 and featuring the top four women's teams in the world in the USA, Norway, Germany and China. All four have qualified for the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup being held Sept. 23-Oct. 11 in China.
In the three FIFA Women's World Cup Finals that have been contested, no other country besides these four teams have made an appearance in the ultimate game for women's international soccer. The USA has made two Finals ('91 and '99), Norway has appeared in two ('91 and '95), while Germany ('95) and China ('99) have been in one each.
The USA will open the competition on Jan. 23 vs. 2000 Olympic champion Norway in Yiwu at the Meihu Sports Center (5:30 p.m. local / 4:30 a.m. ET), then travel to Wuhan for a Jan. 26 match against Women's World Cup host China (3:35 p.m. local / 2:35 a.m. ET) at the Wuhan Sports Center Stadium before finishing the tournament on Jan. 29 against three-time reigning European champion Germany in Shanghai at Hongkou Football Stadium (1:55 p.m. local / 12:55 a.m. ET).
Wuhan will host eight 2003 Women's World Cup matches including two quarterfinal games, while the Hongkou Football Stadium, one of two Women's World Cup stadia in Shanghai, will host six matches, including a semifinal. The Final Draw will also be held in Wuhan on May 24, 2003.
Of the 18 players who faced Japan last Sunday during a 0-0 tie in San Diego, Calif., Heinrichs selected 16, with only goalkeeper Siri Mullinix and defender Cat Reddick not making the roster. Heinrichs added goalkeeper Briana Scurry and Reddick was ruled out of the trip due to a foot injury suffered in training. Heinrichs also added defenders Christie Pearce and Jenny Benson, and Hawkins, to complete the 20-player roster.
This will be the third appearance at the Four Nations Tournament in China for the U.S. women, who also participated in 1998 and last year. In 1998, the USA won the tournament, defeating Sweden 3-0, tying China 0-0 and beating Norway 3-0. In 2002, the USA let in just one goal in the tournament, but finished third after losing to Norway, 1-0, tying Germany 0-0 and defeating China, 2-0.
The U.S. women have played 23 matches inside China, going 12-4-7 in those games. Against China in China, the USA is 3-2-4. The USA is 5-2-3 against European teams in matches played on Chinese soil.
The tournament will feature quite a bit of traveling for the USA, which will play three matches in seven days in three different cities, located in three different provinces, all 13 times zones from the East coast of the United States. The competition will prove extremely valuable however, as it will give the Americans some insight in the stadiums, environments and culture they will encounter a little more than eight months from now when the Women's World Cup kicks off on Sept. 23 at the Shanghai Stadium.
Just half of the 2002 Four Nations roster played in the tournament last year: goalkeeper LaKeysia Beene, defenders Thori Bryan, Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett and Kate Sobrero, midfielders Lorrie Fair and Wagner, and forwards Shannon MacMillan, Cindy Parlow, and Tiffeny Milbrett. MacMillan and Milbrett scored the USA goals in the victory over China.