The Year in American Soccer, 1999

1999 Women’s World Cup | MLS | USL | A-League | D3Pro | PDL | W-League | WPSL | NPSL | WISL | Men’s National Team | Women’s National Team | Confederations Cup | 1999 Pan-American Games | U-17 World Cup | U-20 World Cup | U-17 World Cup | U. S. Open Cup | International Tours | The College Game | Awards & Cups

The final year of the twentieth century was a watershed in American Soccer. Possibly the most successful ever was the 1999 Women’s World Cup which surpassed even the expectations of its organizers to become an unqualified success and draw attention of the American public and press as never before. Americans like a major event, and they like a winner. This time they got both, and women’s soccer finally hit the big time. On other fronts, it was a full schedule of other significant tournaments, from the U-17 and U-20 World Cups to the Men’s and Women’s soccer competitions at the Pan-American Games. The Confederations Cup saw American participation for the first time. A major turn of fortunes was set into motion as Major League Soccer hired a new commissioner who immediately took to making some long needed changes with a clear eye towards effectively winning back the core soccer fans while promoting the game to the wider audience.

1999 Women’s World Cup

Years of preparation and continuing high hopes culminated in the 1999 Women’s World Cup, held in the United States for the first time. More importantly, the Cup was also promoted as a full scale major event, and the resulting crowds and television audiences not only proved the existence of a vast audience for women’s soccer, but greatly expanded that market by introducing the game to the general audience and making Hamm, Akers, Lilly and company household names to the entire nation. This occurred at a fortuitous time, as women’s soccer was finally starting to mark a period of exponential growth not only in the US, but in many nations across the world.

When the Cup was first going out for bid in 1996, FIFA had envisioned a fairly small low-key event, like the previous two cups. The United States Soccer Federation, seeing an unprecedented opportunity to promote the game in the USA, saw it differently. Only a full-scale event would properly reflect the enormous strides enjoyed in recent years. The USSF proposal called for games played across the nation in large stadiums, many used for World Cup ’94. The great success of the women’s soccer competition in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta resonated with FIFA who awarded the games to the US. Actually, by that time, the US was unopposed for the games, with Australia having pulled out of contention more than a year before after being awarded the 2000 Olympics. That success, coupled with the enormous financial success of the 1994 World Cup, held in the USA, convinced FIFA to relent and allow the competition to be staged on a large scale.

The organizing committee was headed by former Olympic swimmer Donna de Varona, but the real person in charge was Marla Messing, who had been a vice president of the 1994 World Cup organizing committee. She immediately put her experience to good use, signing a major television contract with ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 that guaranteed, like in the 1994 Cup, that all games would be televised, most of them live. Stadiums were selected in major cities: The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA; Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, CA; Soldier Field in Chicago, Foxboro Stadium near Boston, MA; Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NY, Jack Kent Cooke Stadium in Washington, DC, Civic Stadium in Portland, OR, Spartan Stadium in San Jose, CA. The first five had been used for World Cup games, and Portland had been the site of an enthusiastic sell out for one of the final Men’s 1998 World Cup qualifiers.

At the time of the award, only four real superpowers existed in women’s soccer. May other countries were just beginning their programs, or just starting to see existing programs really take off. The rapid strides in the game were evident over the years leading to the cup as several other nations rapidly became legitimate contenders, most notably Nigeria, Brazil and Mexico. These developments were especially gratifying in the Latin American countries where the traditional culture was heavily oriented towards the men’s game, and the women had encountered enormous obstacles and prejudices as they labored in cultures that saw soccer as a man’s sport.

Ticket sales were started quite early with heavy promotion and direct mail campaigns to all forms of soccer outlets. Friendlies and US Cup games were held as MLS doubleheaders, promotions were directed at youth soccer programs. With the memories of the 1996 Olympic success, people responded and sales were brisk. It was not questioned that this event would far exceed the previous two cups (China’s state-sponsored tournament averaged 19,000 fans per game, Sweden’s averaged less than 6,000). These games had already passed China’s sales six months before the tournament, and most tickets were expected to be game-day sales. The final tally was 658,167 fans for the 15 doubleheaders and two final games, for an average of 38,159 per game. This crowd average actually outdid that for the 1982 World Cup in Spain, although that event had no doubleheaders. Nevertheless this was a clear testament to how far the game had come in the land where with the most successful women’s team. This was a major victory not only for soccer, but for women’s sports in general, both in the USA and in the world. And it would be a hard act to follow for the countries that would hold the Cup in the future.

The tournament field was 16 teams, although it could be said that only about 12 countries really fielded world-class teams at this time. The USA, China, Norway and Germany were the favorites to win the title, and all had been major forces for years, making strong showings in the 1991 and 1995 Tournaments. China, in particular with Sun Wen, possibly the best scorer in the world, would be formidable, having won six consecutive Asian championships as well as the silver medal at the Olympics. Norway had beaten the US in the 1995 cup semis, and revenge would certainly be on the minds of the Americans should the two teams meet. Germany was defeated by the US in the 1991 Cup and finished 3rd in 1995, and brought an impressive roster of experienced veterans. Australia had finished last in the 1995 tournament, but the national federation had put extensive resources into developing the team, after being bolstered by the 2000 Olympics award. Brazil had made enormous strides in the past couple years, and expected to surpass their 1991 and 1995 performances when they failed to make it through group play. Canada would see their 2nd World Cup appearance after storming through CONCACAF qualifying. Denmark had finished 7th and 6th respectively at the previous Cups, and 8th in the Olympics and could be counted on to make a good run this time as a dark horse. Ghana was a newcomer, having won the African championship in 1998. Japan had finished 12th and 8th respectively at the previous Cups, and 7th in the 1996 Olympics and were expected to be a surprise. North Korea was something of a mystery because so little was known about the team. From relative obscurity they had suddenly surged to the championship game at both the 11th Asian Cup and the 1998 Asian games. They were a highly technical disciplined team who were also expected to be a surprise, and cause difficulty for opponents. Mexico was another newcomer. Long a men’s world power, the women’s team was just beginning to make its mark, but had finished 2nd at the 1998 CONCACAF women’s championship. Nigeria was the strongest African team, having participated in both previous World Cups, and won the 1998 African championship, and were seen as contenders for the trophy here in ’99. Russia was another newcomer, a relatively young program, which had qualified in a playoff with Finland. This was their first major international tournament. Sweden was another powerhouse, having won the consolation game at WWC’91, as well as a 6th place finish in the Olympics, and semifinalist honors at the 1997 European championship. The US was unquestionably the favorite, having won the 1991 World Cup and 1996 Olympics and coming in 3rd at the 1995 Cup. They had just completed a five month residency program full of friendly exhibitions to prepare for the event.

The United States fielded a veteran team, the core players having experience in the 1991 and 1995 World cups and the 1996 Olympics. Michelle Akers, currently with the Tampa Bay extreme (W-league) had played in the National team’s first game in 1985, Mia Hamm had recently set the world scoring record, and Kristine Lilly, of the Delaware Genies (W-league), held the world record for appearances. Team Captain Carla Overbeck, a member of the W-league’s Raleigh Wings, had been the team ironman, recording 63 consecutive caps until taking time off for the birth of her son. Joy Fawcett Manhattan beach Ajax), Brandi Chastain (formerly with the Sacramento Storm), and Julie Foudy (Sacramento Storm) were all at the peak of their careers. The player who would eventually prove to be the key to the entire team was goalkeeper Brianna Scurry who proved simply unstoppable through the entire tournament, and laid a credible claim to being the best female goalkeeper in the world.

The 1999 Women’s World Cup started off in grand style, with the United States beating Denmark in a surprisingly close game 3-0 in front of 78,972. This set a world record for attendance at an women’s sporting event, and an all-time Giants Stadium record for a sporting event of any kind. The US had trouble getting started, giving scoring opportunities to the Danes, who in the second minute nearly capitalized on a Lene Jensen waltz through the midfield, which led to an unimpeded shot from Gitte Kogh which just missed the far post. Brianna Scurry saved the day on several other shots before the Americans rallied to take charge and Mia Hamm took a Chastain fly inside the penalty area and dodged defender Katrine Pedersen and blasted a left footer right past the goalkeeper. For the second half, coach Tony DiCicco switched Lilly and Cindy Parlow to give the frontline more flexibility. This confounded the Danes, and allowed Lilly and company to take shots with impunity. Lilly fired off five shots in the half, finally scoring in the 89th. Julie Foudy had scored in the 73rd from a Hamm pass as the US held Denmark scoreless.

FIFA had declared that only female referees would be on the field at the tournament, and although this move was criticized by many who worried about the quality of available talent, the move paid off, as there were no serious gaffes, the referees gained invaluable experience in officiating games at the top level.

In the main Latin American matchup, Brazil trounced the young Mexican team 7-1. Mexico, which fielded four teenagers for the game was philosophical noting the 11-1 defeat they had suffered in their previous encounter. In Group B, Germany was held to a surprising 1-1 tie by Italy. Another surprisingly close game was the 2-1 victory by Norway over upstart Russia. Meanwhile, North Korea’s systematic approach was no match for the spontaneous action of Nigeria’s front line as the Nigerians prevailed 2-1. The United States traveled to Chicago for the second match, against Nigeria. In front of a near-record crowd of 65,080, the Nigerians brought their unpredictable, exuberant play into focus early on, momentarily confounding the Americans, and landing a goal in the 2nd minute. Once again, the US was slow out of the starting gate, and were looking clearly off their mark until suddenly the Nigerians sent the ball into their own net in the 19th, followed less than a minute later by another goal, courtesy of Mia Hamm, and three minutes later by Tiffeny Millbrett. From here, the game got much rougher, as the Nigerians resorted to rough play and cheap fouls, earning two yellow cards. This was followed by goals from Lilly, Akers and Parlow to leave the Americans up 6-1 by the half. The second half saw more rough play (Nigeria accumulated 26 fouls this game), and another US goal by Millbrett, to make the final score 7-1. Germany easily shut out Mexico 6-0 before drawing with Brazil 3-3. Norway similarly dominated Canada 7-1, while Russia surprised Japan 5-0.

The final group match for the United States was against North Korea on June 27th. This, in front of a near-sellout of 50,484 at Foxboro, Mass, featured a surprisingly tough performance by the Koreans whose defensive mettle shut down the US attack entirely for the first half. Finally in the 56th minute, Shannon MacMillan landed the first goal, and the US started to penetrate the Korean defenses, scoring again with goals by Venturini in the 68th and 7th minutes. The round robin group play had led to some quick and disappointing exits, most notably for Japan, Mexico, Canada and Denmark. Brazil, China, Germany, Nigeria, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States all advanced to the quarterfinals. Brazil had been the surprise dark horse of the tournament, and was heavily favored in their match against Nigeria. Brazil pulled out to a 3-0 lead, before Nigeria stunned the crowd by tying the game and sending it into overtime, where Sissi finally scored the game winner in the 104th minute. The United States meanwhile had their toughest game of the tournament against a surprisingly resilient Germany. The USA got off on the wrong foot with an early on goal. Tiffeny Millbrett tied it in the 16th, and Germany pulled ahead just before the half. Brandi Chastain evened it up again four minutes into the second half, and Fawcett game the US their first lead of the game. The weary US side then held on for a 3-2 victory. In the Nordic matchup, Norway easily dispatched Sweden 3-1, while China shut out Russia 2-0. The semifinal matchups saw the US against an upstart newcomer while powerhouses China and Norway met in a game that turned into a surprising rout, as China thrashed the Norwegians 5-0, after pulling to a 2-0 lead by the 14th minute from goals by Sun Wen and Liu Ailing. Meanwhile the US fought a close battle with Brazil before defeating them 2-0. This led to trepidation about the final match. China’s superior skills were clearly evident now and the US had struggled in its last two games. If they were to win the cup it would be no easy task.

The final was held at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, in front of 90,185 fans, the largest crowd ever to watch a women’s soccer game. Brazil and Norway had played to a 0-0 draw in the 3rd place game, and the same result was in store for the US and China. In this case, when an unmovable object was struck by an unstoppable force, the result was complete stalemate right through 90minutes and two overtime periods. This was not a cautious defensively oriented game, like the 1994 Cup final, but two all out attacks coming against rock solid defenses and top flight goalkeeping. Even the penalty kick shootout at the end was almost completely evenly matched, with the strikers landing every shut except for Liu Yang’ whose shot was stopped by Scurry. This led to the final and deciding score by Brandi Chastain, giving the US a 5-4 PK victory.

Thus ended the most successful soccer tournament in US history, and one that was an unqualified success both in the press, on the field, in the stands and on the scoreboard. The impact of this victory was felt far outside the American Soccer community, and the sports community for that matter. the entire country took notice, and millions of young girls (and boys) had new heroes to look up to and be inspired by. More importantly, this particular group of heroes exhibited the highest quality of teamwork, sportsmanship, and general moral values that far surpassed the negative role models provided by the overpaid and under-disciplined superstars of all too many other sports. In the wake of the World Cup’s success some serious plans finally got underway for the establishment of a professional women’s league in the United States. Whether this would be a professionalized W-league elite division or a new entity created by MLS or USSF was yet to be seen.

1999 USA Women’s National Team results

Women’s World Cup 1999 complete results

Major League Soccer (Division 1)

The year 1999 was one of contrasts for Major League Soccer. As MLS completed its fourth season, it had achieved a new standard for league stability, with no franchise losses or moves for that time. At the start of the season however, it appeared to be a league adrift, with no firm plans to deal with the continuing problems apparent from lagging attendance and flat television ratings. Sunil Gulati had been unceremoniously fired early in the year after running afoul of commissioner Doug Logan, leaving Logan alone at the top, with no one with soccer experience to make the critical player decisions. The league moved to rectify this problem late in the season when Commissioner Doug Logan resigned and was replaced by Don Garber, former head of NFL Europe. Like Mr. Logan, Garber did not have soccer experience, but had a successful track record in building and promoting a sport in a market new to that sport. In the US, the problem was not that soccer had no history, but was not followed by a majority of the population, and Garber clearly understood the challenges and action needed to promote the sport effectively. He stressed that major priorities would be to attract and hold the core fans, as opposed to focusing on non-soccer fans. This would be done with an eye towards making the league conform to soccer the way it was played in the rest of the world, and not altering it to suit the desires of typical American sports fans.

The first steps taken by Garber were to eliminate the shootout and change the clock so it would count up instead of down, with time being kept by the referee on the field. The next priorities were to rebuild and refocus the marketing department, and secure new investor/operators for the Tampa Bay and Dallas franchises. These first moves were received positively in several quarters, leading quickly to a revamped television schedule which would put almost all games in a narrow window of time slots on Saturdays, allowing a genuine “game of the week” to be established, a critical move towards building the television audience by providing a consistent broadcast time. The next major challenge, of renewing the major sponsorships, was also successfully met; All remaining sponsorships were renewed, and several new companies, including Kellogg’s, Aquafina,, LEGO, and Best Foods were brought on board, leaving MLS with a stronger sponsorship base than when it started in 1996. Outside of expansion in 1998, the only franchise changes were two name changes: the latest being the San Jose Clash changing to become the Earthquakes (after buying the rights to the name).

Several critical problems remained to be dealt with, but with the entire off-season to work with, it was hoped that Garber would be able to implement changes to deal with these. Most importantly was the continuing sorry performance of the MetroStars. A team in the New York metropolitan area was critical for the league’s success, and after four dismal seasons, fans were beginning to get restless. Los Angeles and New England were also continuing poor performers, and even New England’s durable fans were beginning to drop off. Attendance leveled off this year and at least there was not another substantial drop.

On the positive side, the quality of play was continually improving, and MLS had had a successful college and free agent draft for 1999. Several new foreign allocations were added, although not the kind that would make a substantial impact on the league, and this was a concern. On the other side, several of the brightest stars in the MLS had arrived as virtual unknowns, including Stern John of Columbus, Chris Armas, Ben Olesen, and Jason Kreis. In fact, a new trend was beginning to appear: young players would have impressive seasons, land spots on the national team, and be signed away by European clubs. This had an unfortunate effect on MLS, as it continually frustrated the league’s attempts to improve its game, but there were several important long-term benefits. National Team Players leaving for Europe would gain substantially better playing experience there than in MLS which would improve the National Team, whose success at major competitions would improve soccer’s image which would lead to more popularity for MLS. Ultimately, these young players, even if MLS loses them to richer clubs, are more of a benefit to MLS than the veteran foreign stars who are signed at much higher salaries to come over here and wind down their careers. The youngsters are committed, eager for competition, cost a lot less and usually command better transfer fees when they leave. And for image considerations, MLS would have more prestige if it was known as a breeding ground for future stars, than if it was known as a retirement home for old veterans who want to extend their career a couple years before going to pasture.

MLS suffered less this year from loss of National team players to the US team which played a relatively light schedule this year, the Confederations Cup being the only major event on their schedule. The College draft produced a few notable players, including Jason Moore with D. C. United, Richard Mulrooney with San Jose and Duke University star Jay Heaps, drafted by Miami, and the Supplemental draft landed former A-league all-star Gabe Eastman (Los Angeles), and D3Pro all-star Mike Butler (Columbus).

One of the most positive events was the opening of the Columbus Crew Stadium, the first soccer-specific major league stadium built in the US since the 1920’s. Seating just over 21,000, the Stadium field was 75 yards wide, better even than some major international fields, and was the envy of the rest of the league. At the end of the year, the stadium was named the “2000 Foremost Sports Facility of the Year” by the International Sport Summit. Already, plans were underway in New York, Dallas and other cities to build stadiums of their own. Tampa Bay moved to the new Raymond James, built for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL. Although another large gridiron venue, Raymond James featured many of the modern amenities missing at the old Houlihan’s Stadium, and was built with soccer in mind, with a field that can easily be widened. The other major stadium breakthrough was the announcement that Giants Stadium would switch to grass permanently, ending the late season Astroturf debacles that had plagued the MetroStars since the league’s inception.

The regular season saw an exciting race in the west for the divisional championship between Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago and Colorado, who finished only six points apart. In the meantime, there was little drama for the final playoff spot, as San Jose and Kansas City fell out of contention fairly early. Dallas, after being in the doldrums for much of the season enjoyed a late season surge to finish with their best season ever, and a 2nd place spot. The critical change was the addition of Areil Graziani from new England, who formed a strong scoring tandem with Jason Kreis. The Galaxy repeated again at the top, but just barely. Carlos Hermosillo and Cobi Jones, while effective at times, also fell off their game too frequently. Colorado continued its long descent from the top, and were lucky to make the playoffs at all, having scored only three times in their last 13 games. In the East, D. C. United won their 3rd consecutive crown, but had a lot of concerns given the late season struggles of Roy Lassiter and Eddie Pope. Columbus finished second, but was a team in turmoil, having split several divisional series after clinching their playoff spot. Tampa Bay also slumped after clinching. The Revolution and MetrosStars simply slumped period. All season long. This would become a major issue of concern as these two cities were critical to the success of the league.

The playoffs saw no surprises in the first round, as D. C. United defeated Miami 2-0, 1-0 (SO), Columbus defeated Tampa Bay 2-0, 2-0, Los Angeles defeated Colorado 3-0 and 2-0, and Dallas defeated Chicago 2-1, 0-4, 3-2. The most striking part of this round was the almost total lack of 3rd games and shootouts. Some loss of parity was evident. Things were a little tougher in the semifinals, but still no upsets. D. C. United defeated Columbus 2-1, 1-5, 4-0 and the Galaxy defeated Dallas 2-1, 2-3 (SO) and 3-1. Before the MLS Cup’99 was played in Foxboro, MA, the end of the shootout was announced. The Cup game would be the first game ever that was not subject to tie-breaking outside of two five minute golden goal overtime periods. It was also the first Cup to feature the two top teams in the league. But the game itself, a sometimes brilliant, sometimes sloppy affair returned the championship to D. C. United as they shut out the Los Angeles Galaxy 2-0, on goals by Jaime Moreno and game MVP Ben Olsen. The field was cold, hard and rutted, but the sky was clear for the 45,000 fans who turned out. The highlight of the first half was a major blunder by Caligiuri, who, having received a casual look off of a Hartman save, and with players dashing towards him casually dribbled the ball forward and then in a very belated attempt at clearing the ball, looped it directly to D. C.’s Moreno, giving him a perfect shot on the goal. But the victory was D. C. United’s giving them their third title in the league’s four years of existence.

MLS didn’t do so well at the CONCACAF Champions Cup this year, both entries being eliminated in the semifinals, at Las Vegas. D. C. United beat Olimpia of Honduras 1-0 before losing to Nexaca 3-1, and the Chicago Fire defeated Joe Public of Trinidad & Tobago before being downed by Alajuela of Costa Rica 1-1 (losing 5-4 on penalty kicks). Nexaca would then go on to win the Cup 2-1 before 9,763 at Las Vegas. The BIG upset was at the US Open Cup, as the MLS was humiliated when the Rochester Raging Rhinos of the A-league defeated the Colorado Rapids 2-0 for the Cup. This was aggravated by a completely listless performance by the Rapids who showed very little desire to win. Several other MLS clubs had been upset in earlier rounds as well. This illustrated a problem with MLS not taking the cup seriously, and seeing it as a distraction from the regular season. Hopefully this attitude will change as commissioner Garber refocuses the league to be more cognizant of how the rest of the world plays soccer, and the league appreciates the importance of national cups in the big picture.

Official 1999 MLS Season Stats
Official MLS History Archives

                     Final 1999 MLS Standings

                           GP   W  WS  LS   L   GF  GA  Pts
      Eastern Conference
DC United                  32  17   6   3   6   65  43   57
Columbus Crew              32  13   6   4   9   48  39   45
Tampa Bay Mutiny           32   9   5   7  11   51  50   32
Miami Fusion               32   8   5   4  15   42  59   29
New England Revolution     32   7   5   7  13   38  53   26
MetroStars                 32   4   3   5  20   32  64   15

      Western Conference
Los Angeles Galaxy         32  17   3   4   8   49  29   54
Dallas Burn                32  16   3   6   7   54  35   51
Chicago Fire               32  15   3   5   9   51  36   48
Colorado Rapids            32  14   6   3   9   38  39   48
San Jose Clash             32   9  10   3  10   48  49   37
Kansas City Wizards        32   6   2   6  18   33  53   20

Conference Semifinals:    D. C. United defeated Miami 2-0, 1-0(SO)
                          Columbus defeated Tampa Bay 2-0, 2-0
                          Los Angeles defeated Colorado 3-0, 2-0
                          Dallas defeated Chicago 2-1, 0-4, 3-2
Conference Finals:        D. C. United eefeated Columbus 2-1, 1-5, 4-0
                          Los Angeles defeated Dallas 2-1, 2-3(SO), 3-1
MLS CUP '99:              D. C. United defeated Los Angeles 2-0.

Jason Kreis                 DAL       32     18      15      51
Roy Lassiter                DC        30     18      11      47
Ronald Cerritos             SJ        31     15       9      39
Stern John                  CLB       28     18       2      38
Joe-Max Moore               NE        29     15       8      38
Ante Razov                  CHI       30     14       7      35
Jaime Moreno                DC        25     10      13      33
Raul Diaz Arce              TB*       31     13       7      33
Musa Shannon                TB        27     12       5      29
Jeff Cunningham             CLB       28     12       5      29
Steve Ralston               TB        32      5      18      28
Henry Gutierrez             MIA       30      6      14      26
Jorge Dely Valdes           COL       32     10       6      26
Marco Etcheverry            DC        22      4      17      25
Preki                       KC        30      7      11      25
Cobi Jones                  LA        28      8       8      24
Wolde Harris                COL       29      8       8      24
Welton                      MIA*      29      8       7      23
Mauricio Cienfuegos         LA        30      3      17      23
Carlos Valderrama           TB*       31      4      15      23
      * Played for more than one team - Most Recent Team Listed

GOALKEEPING LEADERS  (Minimum 1,000 minutes)
NAME                TEAM(S)  GP   MIN  SHTS  SVS  C/P   GA   GAA    W   L  SO
Kevin Hartman        LA      32  2870  150   118   85   29   0.91  20  12  11
Marcus Hahnemann     COL     13  1170   85    68   60   14   1.08  10   3   4
Matt Jordan          DAL     29  2584  172   133  124   31   1.08  17  11  11
Zach Thornton        CHI     30  2633  137    99   93   32   1.09  17  12   7
Mark Dougherty       CLB     31  2745  152   106  104   35   1.15  18  12   6
Ian Feuer            COL     19  1696   99    70   63   23   1.22  10   9   8
Scott Garlick        TB      28  2471  193   152  121   36   1.31  14  13   5
Joe Cannon           SJ      24  2160  129    95   76   32   1.33  14  10   4
Tom Presthus         DC      26  2227  129    88   87   34   1.37  16   8   3
Chris Snitko         KC      16  1395   95    66   57   26   1.68   4  10   2
Jeff Cassar          MIA     15  1304   83    45   62   25   1.73   5  10   3
Garth Lagerwey       MIA     16  1306  107    77   42   27   1.86   7   7   3
Walter Zenga         NE      25  2071  140    87  105   45   1.96   5  13   2
Mike Ammann          MET     24  2138  155    91   73   51   2.15   6  17   2

Honda Most Valuable Player: Jason Kreis, Dallas Burn
MasterCard Goal of the Year: Marco Etcheverry, D.C. United
All Sport Coach of the Year: Sigi Schmid, Los Angeles Galaxy
Pepsi Goalkeeper of the Year: Kevin Hartman, Los Angeles Galaxy 
BIC Defender of the Year: Robin Fraser, Los Angeles Galaxy 
Rookie of the Year: Jay Heaps, Miami Fusion 
Budweiser Scoring Champion: Jason Kreis, Dallas Burn
Snickers Fair Play: Steve Ralston, Tampa Bay Mutiny
Umbro Referee of the Year: Paul Tamberino 

AT&T Best 11:
G - Kevin Hartman, Los Angeles 
D - Lubos Kubik, Chicago 
D - Jeff Agoos, D.C. United 
D - Robin Fraser, Los Angeles 
M - Eddie Lewis, San Jose 
M - Chris Armas, Chicago 
M - Steve Ralston, Tampa Bay 
M - Mauricio Cienfuegos, Los Angeles 
M - Marco Etcheverry, D.C. United 
F - Jaime Moreno, D.C. United 
F - Jason Kreis, Dallas 

All-Star Game, at San Diego, CA, July 17, 1999. East defeated West, 6-4. Preki MVP. Attendance 34,416. Goals scored by Preki (2), Roman Kosecki, Cobi Jones, Paul Wright, Ron Cerritos (West); Brian McBride, Stern John, Joe-Max Moore, Carlos Valderrama (East).

United Soccer Leagues

The USISL changed its name to United Soccer Leagues. Other than that it was a year of stability. Relatively few teams folded or switched leagues, but there were some significant additions in the A-League to bring soccer back to major metropolitan markets, as well as significant shifts between leagues. the A-league expanded to 30 teams while a number of D3Pro teams dropped to the renamed Premier Development League (PDL). The W-league continued to grow rapidly in attendance, adding several teams. The major development was the long anticipated launching of the Super Y-League, the national system of youth leagues, which would eventually include 144 teams at several age levels. For now, started with eighteen teams each in U-14 and U-15 divisions clustered in the Northeast, Florida and California. A stated aim of the Super Y-League is to give superior youth teams the chance to prove themselves through success with consistently top-rate competition, to avoid the problem of having youth teams which appear to be powerhouses, even though that may be coming from a big fish in a small bowl consistently beating the minnows week after week. The league did state however its intentions not to compete with the US Youth Soccer and AYSO. The I-League (Indoor) was not active this season, due to lack of interested participants. In a major rule change, the scoring system was changed so that a shootout win would be worth 1 point rather than 2, and a shootout loss would be worth 1 point, rather than 0. The W-League went international this year, adding Toronto and Laval (Montreal).

Final 1999 USISL standings and playoff results

USISL A-League (Division 2)

The A-league expanded to 30 teams, adding Pittsburgh, Maryland and Lehigh Valley. The Nashville Metros returned as the Tennessee Rhythym and Indiana Blast were promoted from D3Pro. The Riverhounds were Pittsburgh’s first outdoor team since 1975, and the Maryland Mania returned Baltimore to outdoor soccer. Meanwhile, the Lehigh Valley Steam was situated in the historical soccer area of Bethlehem/Allentown, home of the fabled Bethlehem Steel team of the early 29th century. Pittsburgh was an enormous success, while Lehigh Valley, despite healthy crowds foundered with unpaid bills, and the Mania folded after a poor performance on and off the field. The league had to make do without Montreal whose franchise was revoked because of failure to adhere to league requirements. They continued indoors in the NPSL. The Worcester Wildfire moved to Boston, as the Bulldogs and made an impressive debut before slacking off during the season. Attendance in 1999 was up significantly, totaling 1,310,988 (3,013 per game).

An era came to an end as Vancouver’s player-coach, Carl Valentine, retired from the field. Carl had traced his professional career back to the final years of the NASL and was one of the game’s last active links to that famous league. Project 40 continued to expand, while the US Pro 40 team improved considerably upon its first year performance, finishing 17-11 this season good enough for 2nd place in its new division, the Central. As in previous years, the A-League continued to lose several top players to MLS, but this showed the success of its mission as a farm system for the top league. More players were selected than previously in the annual MLS Supplemental draft. Many new names figured prominently among the top scorers and goalkeepers this season.

In the regular season, we began to see some stability and the development of mini-dynasties as Rochester won the Eastern division by a large margin, while Staten island moved up a notch to take the place held by departed Montreal, once again followed by Long Island. The expansion Pittsburgh Riverdogs finished a respectable 4th. In the Atlantic, Hershey and Richmond switched the top two places, with Hershey regaining the title after winning a close race, with the margin coming from shootout wins. Atlanta, now known as the Silverbacks, under new ownership showed major gains on the field and at the box office, coming in 5th as one of the better drawing teams in the league. In the Central, the Minnesota Thunder marched off to victory by a long shot, while Project 40 Select tied with the New Orleans Storm for 2nd. In the Pacific, the San Diego Flash repeated as division champs, beating the vastly improved Vancouver 86ers. The league set a new record for futility as the Sacramento geckos lost all 28 games while being outscored 91-16.

In the playoffs, the biggest upset was Pittsburgh over Long Island 4-3, otherwise the favored teams generally won, including Project 40 which emerged from their first playoff game victorious. In the quarterfinals, Hershey defeated Staten Island 2-0, 2-0, Rochester defeated Pittsburgh 6-2, Minnesota defeated US Project 40 1-0, 2-0, and San Diego shut out Seattle 6-0. In the semifinals, Rochester defeated Hershey 3-1 and Minnesota defeated San Diego 2-1. The championship game was a rematch of 1998, but this time Minnesota defeated Rochester 2-1 to exact their revenge. This ruined Rochester’s chances to become the first A-league team to win the “double”, as Rochester would win the US Open Cup by upsetting the MLS Colorado Rapids.

              Final A-League Standings, 1999

Before the season, Pittsburgh, Maryland, Lehigh Valley, and Tennessee
were added.  Indiana was promoted from the D3-Pro League.  
Albuquerque moved to Sacramento.  Raleigh became the Express.
Worcester moved to Boston. 

                            GP   W   L  SW  SL   GF  GA  BP  Pts
     Northeast Division
Rochester Rhinos            28  22   6   2   1   47  20   7   92
Staten Island Vipers        28  19   9   2   1   53  31   9   82
Long Island Rough Riders    28  18  10   3   0   57  44   8   74
Pittsburgh Riverdogs        28  16  12   1   1   63  43   9   72
Lehigh Valley Steam         28  15  13   2   1   42  44   6   63
Boston Bulldogs             28  12  16   0   6   49  36   8   61
Toronto Lynx                28  12  16   0   5   49  36   8   51
Connecticut Wolves          28   7  21   0   1   32  68   5   34

     Atlantic Division
Hershey Wildcats            28  17  11   2   1   54  33  10   75
Richmond Kickers            28  17  11   3   1   51  44   6   69
Charleston Battery          28  15  13   3   2   43  39   6   62
Jacksonville Cyclones       28  13  15   1   1   51  61   9   59
Atlanta Silverbacks         28  15  13   1   1   51  61   9   59
Hampton Roads Mariners      28  15  13   5   2   45  41   5   57
Raleigh Express             28  11  17   2   2   32  50   5   47
Maryland Mania              28   3  25   1   1   16  85   2   13

     Central Division
Minnesota Thunder           28  22   6   4   4   57  17   6   88
US Project 40 Select        28  17  11   2   0   44  46   4   66
New Orleans Storm           28  14  14   0   0   56  61  11   66
Indiana Blast               28  13  15   2   2   43  51   5   55
Milwaukee Rampage           28  13  15   2   1   44  49   5   54
Tennessee Rhythym           28  11  17   2   3   44  52   6   49
Cincinnati Riverhawks       28   7  21   2   3   45  71   7   34

     Pacific Division
San Diego Flash             28  20   8   2   3   65  30  11   90
Vancouver 86ers             28  19   9   2   2   77  31  10   84
Seattle Sounders            28  19   9   3   1   56  36  10   81
Orange County Zodiac        28  17  11   4   3   59  49  10   73
El Paso Patriots            28  12  16   0   2   49  59   6   55
San Francisco Bay Seals     28   9  19   2   4   37  54   4   40
Sacramento Geckos           28   0  28   0   1   16  91   0    1

Round of 16:          Rochester defeated Lehigh Valley, 2-1.
                      San Diego defeated El Paso, 3-1
                      US Pro 40 defeated Vancouver, 3-1
                      Staten Island defeated Richmond, 3-2 (OT)
                      Hershey defeated Charleston, 3-2
                      Pittsburgh defeated Long Island, 4-3
                      Minnesota defeated New Orleans, 4-0
                      Seattle defeated Orange County, 6-3
Quarterfinals:        Hershey defeated Staten Island, 2-0, 2-0.
                      Rochester vs. Pittsburgh, 6-2, 
                      Minnesota defeated US Pro 40, 1-0, 2-0.
                      San Diego vs. Seattle, 6-0, 
Semifinals:           Rochester defeated Hershey, 3-1.
                      Minnesota defeated San Diego 2-1.
CHAMPIONSHIP:         Minnesota defeated Rochester 2-1.

After the season, Maryland and Staten Island folded and Jacksonville
withdrew for 1 year.  The Seals became the Bay Area Seals.
Leading Scorers:
                               GP  G   A Pts
Thompson, Seattle              23  20   7  47
MarkBaena, Seattle             24  20   6  46
Eduardo Sebrango, Vancouver    26  18  10  46
DarkoKolic, Long Island        25   7   9  43
Steve Patterson, Orange County 28  19   4  42
Jamel Mitchell, Hershey        27  15   9  39
Ernest Inneh, Staten Island    24  18   3  39
Greg Simmonds, Hershey         26  16   6  38
Onandi Lowe, Richmond          16  15   7  37
John Wolyniac, Long Island     27  15   7  37
John Sulentic, Vancouver       25   9  19  37
Carlos Farias, San Diego       23  15   6  36
Ian Russell, Seattle           28  14   8  36
Gary Glasgow, Richmond         28  14   7  35
Patrick Beech, New Orleans     20  16   2  34
Paul Conway, Charleston        28  14   5  33
Dan Stebbins, Milwaukee        26  10  12  32
Mac Cozier, Jacksonville       25  13   4  30
Gustavo Leal, Orange County    26  13   4  30
Mugurel Dimitru, San Diego     26   9  12  30

Goalkeeping Leaders: (Min 720 minutes)
                             GP  Min   SO  GA  SV  SHT   GAA
Swallen, Minnesota           25  2104  11  13  74  211  0.56
Onstad, Rochester            21  1878  10  13  62  167  0.62
Rueda, San Diego             17  1569   7  17  58  139  0.98
Pappas, Staten Island        13  1153   4  13  59  125  1.01
Shepherd, Vancouver          18  1678   6  19  59  160  1.02
Petronis, Hershey            12   966   2  11  40  107  1.02
McGinty, Richmond            11  1003   4  12  62  121  1.08
Hudock, Charleston           27  2482   6  30  94  221  1.09
Tate, San Diego              12  1064   2  13  50   85  1.10
Zaratin, San Diego           16  1444   5  18  65  193  1.12

Most Valuable Player:  John Swallen, Minnesota Thunder
Top Goal Scorer:  Niall Thompson, Seattle Sounders
Top Goalkeeper:  John Swallen, Minnesota Thunder
Coach of the Year: Paul Riley, Long Island Rough Riders
Defender of the Year: Scott Schweitzer, Rochester Raging Rhinos
Rookie of the Year:  Greg Simmonds, Hershey Wildcats
Referee of the Year:  Glenn Prechac

All A-League Team:

G - John Swallen, Minnesota
D - Scott Schweitzer, Rochester
D - Craig Demmin, Rochester
D - Tenywa Bonseu, Pittsburgh
D - Kalin Bankov, Minnesota
M - Carlos Farias, San Diego
M - Mac Cozier, Jacksonville
M - Mauro Biello, Rochester
F - Mark Baena, Seattle
F - Ernest Inneh, Staten Island
F - Niall Thompson, Vancouver

All-Star Game,  

USISL D3-Pro League (Division 3)

This year, the D3Pro League shrank considerably as a number of teams relegated themselves to the PDL to operate on an amateur basis. The league, now at 26 teams, reorganized itself into three divisions. The big success story this year was the Western Massachusetts Pioneers, who won the Northern Division, averaging a league-best 2,430 fans per game. The D3Pro All-Star game made its debut this year. Wilmington turned their fortunes around from a sub-500 season to nearly winning the Atlantic Division, while Chico Rooks climbed to the top in the West. Austin was a major disappointment, falling below .500 to finish 5th in the west. win the Atlantic Division, with Northern Virginia close behind, while Rhode Island and Delaware took major falls, after significant player losses. In the West, the Arizona Suaharos continued their pre-eminence, taking their division for the second consecutive year.

Unlike last season, the first round of playoffs went to the regular season leaders, and there were no surprises. In the conference finals, Western Massachusetts defeated New Hampshire 1-0 in a closely fought New England showdown. Charlotte Eagles defeated Wilmington 3-2, and Chico defeated Texas Toros 3-2 in the shootout. The semifinals saw Western mass defeat Chico 4-1, while South jersey (who had received a bye into the semifinal round) defeated Charlotte 3-2 in the shootout. Western Mass, in only its second year of existence defeated South Jersey 2-1 in front of 5,237 hometown fans to claim the cup. The closely fought game suddenly took a turn on the Pioneers’ favor early in the second half as Paul Wright and Rob Jachym scored, and goalkeeper John Voight fended off a late South Jersey rally late in the game. Jachym’s goal was an impressive short shot from six yards out which passed through two defenders on its way between the goalposts.

Final 1999 D3-Pro League standings and playoff results

Top Scorers:
                          GP   G  A Pts
Luis Orellana (Chico)         18  24  8  56
Julio Cesar-Dos Santos (N. J.)18  23  7  53
Edgar Hernandez (Texas)       14  23  5  51
Matthew Miles (South Jersey)  18  21  9  51
Rob Jachym (Western Mass)     17  19  8  46
Harold Calvo (Arizona)        17  18  8  44
Ryan Walker (Wilmington)      17  14 11  39
Ronald Murphy (New Hampshire) 15  16  6  38
Paul Wright (Western Mass)    17  14  5  33
Tim Prisco (North. Virginia)  18  14  2  30
Kerwin Johnson (Austin)       17  13  4  30
Gabriel Gentile (Texas)       16   8 13  29
Chris Segaar (Delaware)       17  12  4  28
Eduardo Martinez (California) 11  13  1  27

Leading Goalkeepers (Min. 810 minutes): 
                             GP    M   GA   GAA
Christopher Lewis (Wilmington)   18  1635  17  0.94
Brandon Hearron (Chico)          11  1018  12  1.06
Dwayne Adams (Charlotte)         14  1241  15  1.09
Paul Royal (South Jersey)        17  1480  19  1.16
Miguel Pineda (Texas)            10   905  12  1.19
Andrew Boyea (New Hampshire)     11   992  14  1.27
James Eley (South Carolina)      16  1464  23  1.41
John Voight (Western Mass)       17  1477  24  1.46
Brian Jones (Arizona)            15  1323  23  1.56
Emmet Idzahi (New Jersey)        17  1449  26  1.61

Most Valuable Player:  Luis Orellana, Chico Rooks
Top Scorer:  Christopher Lewis 
Goalkeeper of the Year:  Christopher Lewis, Delaware Wizards 
Coach of the Year: Paul Mylan, Reading Rage
Defender of the Year:  Toye Oshoniyi, Roanoke Wrath
Rookie of the Year:  Brandon Hearron, Chico Rooks

D3Pro First Team:
G - Christopher Lewis, Delaware
D - Toye Oshoniyi, Roanoke
D - Ian Hennessey, Reading
D - Paul Kelly, Western Mass
D - Joel Ogbunamiri, New Hampshire
M - Ryan Leib, Charlotte
M - Harold Calvo, Arizona
M - Eric Puls, Reading
F - Luis Orellana, Chico
F - Rob Jachym, Western Mass
F - Ryan Walker, Wilmington

USL Premier Development League (PDL) (“Division 4”)

The PDSL renamed itself the Premier Development League (PDL) and took in several teams from the D3Pro league, expanding to 42 teams in six divisions (and two conferences). This year, for the first time, the PDL expanded to the northeast and New England, giving it a nationwide scope. The Jackson Chargers continued their stellar performance, winning the Southeast division, while the expansion San Fernando Valley heroes, and New York Freedom saw immediate success, winning their divisions. Clearly, the amateur operating guidelines of the PDL were more appropriate for a number of teams, who needed to consolidate their positions before attempting the pro game again.

Unlike last season, there were few upsets in the early rounds of the playoffs, with one exception. The Great Lakes and Heartland divisional champions were each knocked off by the second place team in the other division. In the conference finals, Chicago defeated Sioux City 3-1 to win the battle of the 2nd place giant killers, while New York defeated the favored Jackson Chargers 1-0, and Willamette Valley defeated the lowly Abbotsford 86ers 5-1. Chicago Sockers, continuing the incredible run of their debut season, knocked off New York in the semis, while Spokane, who had received a bye into this round, defeated the western champ Willamette Valley 5-2, setting up a title match between newcomers and veterans. This time the newcomers had their day as Chicago downed Spokane 3-1 for the title. An incredible run for a team which did not even exist except as an idea nine months earlier.

Final 1999 PDSL standings and playoff results

Most Valuable Player:  Fabio Eidenwein, Sioux City Breeze
Top Scorer:  Fabio Eidenwein, Sioux City Breeze (20 goals, 48 points)
Goalkeeper of the Year:  Jeremy DoBay, Jackson Chargers (0.84 GAA average)
Coach of the Year: Tony Vandermeer, Willamette Valley Firebirds
Defender of the Year:  Mark Schulte, Twin Cities; Joe Marks, Spokane Shadow
Rookie of the Year:  David Morris, Abbotsford 86ers

The W-League

The W-League continued to have success in 1999, although national team members contributions were lessened this year by their heavy playing schedule on the road to the World Cup. The league went international this year, adding teams in the Toronto and Montreal areas. The W-1 reached a measure of stability this year with no franchise shirts or losses. The W-2 had a number of new teams added, but nobody folded early in the season like last year. Attendance continued to rise, and would probably have seen a considerable increase after the World Cup had the seasons not been basically over. In the W-1, the perennial superachievers Boston Renegades eased back a bit as Maryland surged to reclaim the Eastern division title. In the central, Raleigh and Chicago repeated as divisional champs, but the big story this year was the Chicago Cobras who completed an undefeated season, racing through the playoffs before losing the final to Raleigh in a nailbiter of a game, whose 2-2 draw had to be settled by a shootout. Even this went to the wire, with Raleigh winning the shootout 3-2. Chicago scored an unprecedented 54 goals while only allowing FOUR goals the entire regular season. Needless to say, goalkeeper Danielle Dion won the MVP award with an incredible 0.20 goals against average.

In the W-2 division, the expansion Springfield Sirens followed on the success of their male counterparts over the river in Ludlow, capturing the North division. Fellow newcomer Piedmont Spark won the South, while Indiana repeated in the Central, although only winning the Midwest segment of the division. The expansion North Texas Heat won the Southwest. The fluidity of the W-2 showed as the expansion clubs battled it out through the playoffs, setting up an “expansion Bowl” between the North Texas Heat and Springfield Sirens. Springfield would not manage a “men” – “women” double this year. The North Texas Heat put on a scoring showcase as they trounced Springfield 5-1 for the cup. Both teams figured prominently in the post season awards this year. The W-league will expand its international roster next year with new teams in Ottawa and New Brunswick, as well as beefing up their Midwest divisions.

Final 1999 W-League standings and playoff results

Leading Scorers (W-1):
                          GP   G  A Pts
Kerry Gregg (Atlanta)         14  18  8  44
Jerry Crawford (Atlanta)      13  16  9  41
Lindsay Hoeller (Chicago)     13  13  3  29
Nickie Kelly (New Jersey)     14  12  4  28
Collette Cunningham (Maryland)11  11  3  25
Kelly Smith (New Jersey)       9  10  3  23
Charmaine Hooper (Chicago)     5  10  3  23
Tina Blascovic (Toronto)      14  11  0  22
Natalie Neaton (Denver)        7   9  3  21
Robin Confer (New Jersey)     11   7  7  21
Marci Miller (Chicago)        13   7  7  21
Amy Geltz (Boston)            12   9  2  20
Kelly Walbert (Raleigh)       11   6  8  20
Samantha Baggett (Raleigh)     9   7  4  18
Jo Hinks (Toronto)            14   7  3  17
Laura Lauter (Atlanta)        10   6  4  18
Kim Yankowski (Raleigh)       11   3 10  16

Leading Goalkeepers (W-1; min. 360 minutes): 
                             GP  Min   SO  GA  SV  SHT  GAA
Danielle Dion (Chicago)      12   892   4   2  20   42  0.20
Kate McFarlane (Maryland)     5   390   1   1  18   21  0.23
Kristen Samuel (Raleigh)      8   418   1   2  17   28  0.43
Whitney Pearson (Denver)     10   900   6   6  37   62  0.60
Allison Snooks (Boston)      11   970   5   7  26   84  0.65
Kim Wyant (Long Island)      13  1187   8  19  72  122  0.76
Sarah Crawford (Atlanta)     10   501   1   7  28   66  1.26
Amy Pseja (New Jersey)       14  1305   6  21  83  157  1.45
Amy Rudge (Atlanta)          12   660   0  11  37   88  1.50
Allison Wolff (Maryland)     10   830   1  15  32   66  1.63 

      W-1 Award Winners:
Most Valuable Player  Danielle Dion, Chicago Cobras
Top Scorer:  Kerry Gregg, Atlanta Classics
Leading Goalkeeper:  Danielle Dion, Chicago Cobras
Coach of the Year:  Greg Muhr, Chicago Cobras
Defender of the Year:  Nel Fettig, Raleigh Wings
Organization of the Year:  Charlotte Speed

All-W1 Team:
G - Danielle Dion, Chicago
D - Staci Wilson, Raleigh
D - Danielle Defosses, Maryland
D - Nel Fettig, Raleigh
M - Marci Miller, Chicago
M - Amy Jones, Tampa Bay
M - Jen Tietjen, Long Island
F - Kelly Smith, New Jersey
F - Natalie Neaton, Denver
F - Kerry Gregg, Atlanta
F - Kim Yankowski, Raleigh

      W-2 Award Winners:
Most Valuable Player  Joy Aschenbrener, Indiana Blaze
Top Scorer:  Jessica Reifer, New York Magic (28 goals, 61 points)
Leading Goalkeeper:  Julie Podhrasky, North Texas Heat (0.75 GAA)
Coach of the Year:  Charlie Naimo, Central Jersey Splash
Defender of the Year:  Heather Boisvere, Springfield Sirens

Women’s Premier Soccer League

The Women’s premier Soccer League had started in 1998 when the west coast teams of USL’s W-league broke off and joined with several prominent amateur teams in California to form their own league. The first season was successful, and that extended to 1999 as well. California Storm won the first division with a 10-1-1 record. California had featured more than one National team player on its roster (see World Cup ’99 above), and even though their presence was limited this year, it was notable. Silicon Valley Red devils featured Mandy Clemens of Indiana who would go on to win the 1999 Hermann Trophy for her collegiate prowess. In the Second Division, the NorCal Shockwaves came out on top, although with a 4-6-2 record due to their many games with stronger Division 1 opponents. There were no playoffs in the WPSL, and the California Storm was declared the winner based on overall record.

                   Final 1999 WPSL Standings:

Before the season, Ajax, Utah, and Reno were added.  Auto Trader became 
San Diego Auto trader.  Sacramento Thunder dropped their city name.

                          GP   W   T   L   GF  GA  Pt
     First Division
California Storm          12  10   1   1   51  13  31
San Diego Auto Trader     12   8   1   3   30   9  25
Ajax Southern Cal         12   7   4   1   30  12  25
Silicon Valley Red Devils 12   5   3   4   50  23  18
San Francisco Nighthawks  12   2   3   7   25  22   9

     Second Division
NorCal Shockwaves         12   4   2   6   19  33  14
Thunder (Sacramento)      12   1   2   9   10  46   5
Reno Zephyrs FC            3   1   0   2    5  10   3
San Francisco Skyhawks     9   1   0   8    6  44   3
Las Vegas Shooters         3   0   0   3    4  22   0
Utah Spiders               (folded before beginning of season)

Note:  San Francisco folded during season, and their games against
Division 1 opponents are not counted in Division 1 standings.

League Champion:  California Storm.

Top scorers:

Traci Arkenberg, Ajax       6   2   14
Tara Koleski, Sacramento    6   2   14
Stacy Savage, Red Devils    4   2   10
Stefanie Case, Auto Trader  4   2   10
Kim Kamora, Auto Trader     3   2    8
Mandy Clemens, Red Devils   3   1    7

National Professional Soccer League

After their consolidation last year, the NPSL held steady, with only a single expansion team, the Florida Thundercats, to change the lineup for 1998-99, replacing the Cincinnati Silverbacks who folded. Attendance fell again to 1,556,501 (6,010 per game), partly due to disappointing crowds for Montreal, Wichita and the expansion Thundercats. The Edmonton Drillers and Baltimore Spirit were both sold, the Drillers being purchased by Edmonton advertising executive Wojtek Wojcicki, and Ed Hale bought the Baltimore team, renaming it the Blast, hearkening back to the days of the old MISL team. The Buffalo Blizzard signed George Fernandez as their new head coach. Meanwhile, the new Thundercats signed former US National Team star Fernando Clavijo as their skipper, and Wichita tapped Kevin Kewley for the job.

This was a season of high competitiveness and close races, as the playoff picture was not set until the next to last day of the season. The individual scoring championship was not settled until the last minute of the final game of the season. The playoffs were no less frenetic. Six of mine series went the full distance, including the championship series. To top it all off, the second game of the National Conference quarterfinals went 5:08 into double overtime before Wichita pulled it out, making this the longest game in league post-season history. In short, this was a season of extreme parity, but of the kind that made for exciting races to the wire, rather than blandness and boredom. Once again, the Big Three of Hector Marinaro, Zoran Karic and Victor Nogueira added to their legacy, as they continued to lead the scoring and goalkeeping races again this year. Marinaro won his sixth scoring title in 7 seasons while adding a record 5th MVP award. Kevin Hundelt of the St. Louis Ambush earned his Defender of the Year award by among other things, becoming the first player in league history to finish in the top five for blocked shots and assists in the same season. The league voted to expand the 1999-2000 season to 44 games, as a result of the excitement and close races.

In many ways, 1998-99 was a replay of the 1997-98 season in final results, although the divisional races were MUCH closer, with all division titleists winning by only 1 or two games. Cleveland and Milwaukee flipped positions, and the Midwest division fell en masse while Edmonton and Buffalo of the Northern both improved substantially. first two rounds of the playoffs were tough, closely fought series, with St. Louis and Cleveland retaining their familiar places in the semifinals, while Philadelphia and Edmonton introduced themselves to final four land. The veteran teams asserted themselves, producing the first decisive sweeps of the playoffs, as St. Louis downed Edmonton 16-8, 16-10, and Cleveland defeated Philadelphia 15-0, 30-15. The championship saw Cleveland reclaim the crown in a see-saw marathon series, beating St. Louis 20-9, 21-10, 12-14, 8-12, 18-12.

                          Final NPSL 1998-99 Standings

Before the season, Florida was added.

                          GP   W   L    PCT   GB    GF   GA
     East Division
Philadelphia Kixx         40  23  17  .575  ----   492   444
Harrisburg Heat           40  21  19  .525   2.0   498   478
Baltimore Blast           40  19  21  .475   4.0   519   579
Florida ThunderCats       40  12  28  .300  11.0   351   527

    Central Division
Cleveland Crunch          40  26  14  .650  ----   637   539
Milwaukee Wave            40  25  15  .625   1.0   518   428
Montreal Impact           40  19  21  .475   7.0   439   437

     North Division
Edmonton Drillers         40  23  17  .575  ----   497   439
Buffalo Blizzard          40  22  18  .550   1.0   573   560
Detroit Rockers           40  12  28  .300  11.0   430   510

     Midwest Division
St. Louis Ambush          40  21  19  .525  ----   595   533
Kansas City Attack        40  19  21  .475   2.0   527   539
Wichita Wings             40  18  22  .450   3.0   538   601

Conf. Quarterfinals: Kansas City defeated Wichita, 18-10, 14-16 (2 OT), 21-10.
                     Montreal defeated Harrisburg, 16-10, 10-8 (OT).
Conf. Semifinals:    St. Louis defeated Buffalo, 13-16, 12-10, 12-11.
                     Edmonton defeated Kansas City, 12-16, 22-8, 17-13.
                     Philadelphia defeated Milwaukee, 9-11, 13-11, 14-5.
                     Cleveland defeated Montreal, 9-10, 28-11, 15-9.
Conference Finals:   St. Louis defeated Edmonton, 16-8, 16-10.
                     Cleveland defeated Philadelphia, 15-0, 30-15.
FINALS:              Cleveland defeated St. Louis, 20-9, 21-10, 12-14, 8-12,

NPSL All-Star Game:  January 20, 1999, at Wichita, KS.  American Conference defeated 
National Conference 23-15.  High scorers: Zoran Karic (9 pts), Hector Marinaro (7 pts)  .
Leading scorers:  
POINTS               TEAM  GP  3PG  2PG  1PG  AST  POINTS
Marinaro, Hector     CLE   34   8   57   19   38    195
Miller, Doug         BUF   40   6   67   19   23    194
Rasmussen, Erik      WCH   34   3   52   17   54    184
DiFlorio, Gino       HAR   40   7   37   12   52    159
Snow, Ken            PHL   41   2   59   13   18    155
Karic, Zoran         CLE   28   5   32   12   59    150
Reiniger, Joe        STL   40  12   37    6   32    148
Biello, Mauro        MON   40   6   33   14   37    135
Vuckovic, Bojan      DET   38   3   39    7   24    118
Moser, Mark          STL   29   3   37    7   26    116
Knowles, Matt        PHL   37   9   24    9   32    116
Thomas, Mark         BAL   38   3   36    9   25    115
Oliviero, Giuliano   MON   40   1   40    3   26    112
Walker, Tarik        BAL   40   2   37    1   31    112
Dunn, Jason          WCH   39   8   31   12   14    112
Cabral, Denison      BAL   39   2   32   21   19    110
King, Michael        MIL   40   5   36    2   19    108
McIntosh, Franklin   BAL   31   4   27    0   40    106
Martinez, Genoni     WCH   38   6   19    6   44    106

Leading Goalkeepers: (min. 900 minutes)

GOALKEEPER         TEAM GPI   MIN      SF   SV  3PG  2PG  1PG  PTS   W  L    AVG
Nogueira, Victor     MIL   32  1824:11  555  413  13  110   19 278  22  9   9.14
Ceccarelli, Paolo    MON   29  1668:20  595  461  11  110   13 266  14 14   9.57
Onstad, Pat          EDM   34  1987:56  591  422  21  126   22 337  21 13  10.17
Pappas, Peter        PHL   40  2190:37  715  510  18  137   50 378  23 16  10.35
Petras, Doug         HAR   34  1972:21  722  548  15  151    8 355  18 15  10.80
Hileman, Scott       BAL   33  1905:24  685  492  17  138   38 365  15 17  11.49
Finnerty, Bryan      DET   40  2296:29  804  551  11  197   45 472  12 27  12.33
Orf, Otto            CLE   38  2126:33  799  569  17  175   38 439  25 11  12.39
Swanner, Jamie       STL   29  1491:35  617  457  13  125   22 311  16  9  12.51
Westcoat, Warren     KCY   32  1789:35  619  426  12  160   21 377  14 17  12.64
Dobson, Stuart       BUF   26  1226:16  442  308  16   97   21 263   9 11  12.87
Andracki, Bill       BUF   23  1178:06  389  247  13  111   18 279  13  7  14.21
Damico, Chris        WCH   29  1550:51  620  423  11  152   34 371  11 15  14.35
Azmi, Khalil         BAL   23  1108:42  452  308  16  113   15 289  10  8  15.64

Most Valuable Player:  Hector Marinaro, Cleveland Crunch
Goalkeeper of the Year:  Victor Noguiera, Milwaukee Wave
Coach of the Year:  Ross Ongaro, Edmonton Drillers
Defender of the Year:  Kevin Hundelt, St. Louis Ambush
Rookie of the Year:  Martin Nash, Edmonton Drillers

First All-NPSL Team:

G - Victor Nogueira, Milwaukee
D - Kevin Hundelt, St. Louis
D - Matt Knowles, Philadelphia
F - Hector Marinaro, Cleveland
F - Erik Rasmussen, Wichita Wings
F - Doug Miller, Buffalo Blizzard

World Indoor Soccer League

The Premier Soccer Alliance reached an agreement with the English Indoor Soccer League to establish a new international league, dubbed the World Indoor Soccer League. This would have put the PSA teams, and four English teams together separate divisions, which would meet in playoffs. However, short timelines and inability to agree on rule modifications led to the league to postpone the international concept. In the meantime, the WISL continued its scheduled 1999 season, which featured a longer season, and continued the series of exhibitions against foreign national indoor teams. Attendance was impressive, at 401,273 (5,145 per game). Tatu continued his stellar performance, winning the scoring championship race by a large margin, and winning another spot on the all-star team. This year, the Sacramento Knights captured the regular season championship, defeating perennial topper Dallas. The playoffs saw Dallas defeat Monterrey 4-3 in a shootout, and Sacramento defeated the expansion Utah Freeze 6-1. The championship game featured the two top regular season teams, and Sacramento ended Dallas’s championship streak by taking the game 7-6 on December 12.

                Final WISL Standings, 1999

                            G   W   L   PCT.  GB    GF   GA
Sacramento Knights         22  17   5   .773  ---  127   88
Dallas Sidekicks           22  15   7   .682  2.0  152  107
Monterrey La Raza          22  14   8   .636  3.0  142  114
Utah Freezz                22  12  10   .545  5.0  126  123
Portland Pythons           22  11  11   .500  5.0  115  111
Arizona Thunder            22   7  15   .318 10.0  125  148
Houston Hotshots           22   6  16   .273 11.0   88  131

Brazil                      7   2   5   .400        29   38
Mexico                      7   0   7   .000        21   68

Semifinals:    Dallas defeated Monterrey 4-3 (SO)
               Sacramento defeated Utah 6-1
CHAMPIONSHIP:  Sacramento defeated Dallas 7-6

St. Louis Steamers will join the league in 2000.

Scoring Leaders:
                                 GP   G   A  Pts
Tatu, Dallas                     22  27  40  67
David Doyle, Dallas              21  29  24  53
Marco Lopez, Monterrey           22  27  20  47
Rich Sodorman, Arizona           21  20  24  44
Bernie Lilavois, Portland        16  27  15  42

Leading Goalkeepers: (Min 210 minutes)
                              GP    Min   W   L   GAA
P. Harrington, Sacramento     21 1228:37 16   5   3.96
Edilson Xavier, Bra-Dal       20 1141:21 12   8   4.63
Raul Salas, Monterrey         20 1156:27 13   7   4.88
Brett Phillips, Portland      22 1294:43 11  11   5.10
Stuart Dobson, Utah           21 1245:29 12   9   5.20

Most Valuable Player:  David Doyle, Dallas Sidekicks
Goalkeeper of the Year:  Brett Phillips, Portland Pythons
Coach of the Year:  Iain Fraser, Sacramento Knights
Defender of the Year:  Iain Fraser, Sacramento Knights
Rookie of the Year:  Justin Labrum, Utah Freezz

All-WISL First Team:

G - Brett Phillips, Portland
D - Iain Fraser, Sacramento Knights
D - Alejandro Cardenas, Monterrey
M - Mariano Bollela, Monterrey
F - David Doyle, Dallas
F - Tatu, Dallas

Men’s National Team

The men had a relatively light slate of games this year, playing only 14, the fewest since 1999. But they made up for this in quality, with some stunning friendly upsets and a surprisingly successful performance in their second Confederations Cup appearance The US started the year with a frustrating 0-0 draw to Bolivia in Santa Cruz, but this was followed on February 6, 1999 with one of the most stunning upsets in US history, when the Americans finally got their first victory against Germany. Not only a victory, but a 3-0 shutout. This provided a major boost for the American’s confidence after the World Cup debacle, and was Bruce Arena’s first significant victory as the US coach. Unlike many of the previous US wins against major powers, this time the US actually dominated the game from start to finish, showing subpar skills and strategy. This game was no fluke, and boded well for Arena’s long-term plans for the team’s direction. Jovan Kirovski started the scoring in the 16th minute, followed by Tony Sanneh in the 24th minute and Claudio Reyna two minutes later. By now owners of a rout, the US clamped down on Germany’s attack and held the rest of the game scoreless. Although the game was just a friendly, it showed clearly the remarkable progress the team had made over the course of just a few months.

This stunning upset was followed by a satisfying 2-1 friendly victory over Chile (goals by Ben Oleson and Lewis). The USA Cup was again a pair of doubleheaders, and again Mexico took the Cup. The US had an easy time of it in the opener against Guatemala, winning 3-1 off of goals by Moore, McBride and Hedjuk, but Hedjuk was the sole scorer as the Americans lost to Mexico 1-2 before 50,000 mostly Mexican supporters at San Diego on March 13.

The Team took three months off before reforming to earn a delightful 1-0 victory over Argentina, to give them a 2 game winning streak over that top-ten team. This was followed by a 2-1 exhibition victory over Derby County, Ireland, before heading into the Confederations Cup (see above). After the cup, the team was mostly in a down mode, as MLS finished its schedule. A 2-2 draw to Jamaica in September, and a 1-2 loss to Morocco in Marrakesh were the only other friendlies played. Overall, the team looked much improved and had performed well with two upsets over Germany, one over Argentina, and competitive games against Brazil and Mexico. The twenty first century was expected to bring even greater results.

Project 2010: The first year. Project 2010 ended its first year with several initiatives. At the U-14 level, eight full-time scouts were appointed, with an assistant staff of 30 additional free-lance scouts. Their mission was to discover the players who were missed by the current player identification process. This was designed to overcome the flaws inherent in the Olympic Development Program. There, players move from district tryouts to state and regional tryouts. These are large campaigns, held with unfamiliar teammates for unfamiliar coaches, oftentimes with players at unfamiliar positions. This leads to situations where a single bad performance or injury can effectively end one’s prospects. With the U-14 initiative, players will be assessed under their regular playing conditions, and will catch many of the players currently being missed. The other major initiative was an expansion of the U-14 national player pool to include 32 players selected by Project 2010 scouts to complement the 64 discovered through the national identification camps, from which 34 were selected for professional training in Mexico. This year, 6 of the 34 players selected were identified by Project 2010 scouts. As expected, many of these players showed skill along with a lack of consistent training and coaching. Clearly, more cooperation between local, state and regional associations was necessary to make this program effective, but it was a promising start. Another important focus is on the inner cities, traditionally neglected by ODP. By the end of 1999, 44 players had participated in Prokect-40, of which 18 had graduated to MLS, and only 6 had been waived. Several of these players were named to the U-23 Olympic team as well.

Women’s National Team

See 1999 World Cup, above for the Women’s World Cup events. The big event this year, and the biggest ever for the women’s team was the enormously successful 1999 Women’s World Cup (see above). But there was a lot of other activity leading up to that tournament. Nineteen games were scheduled as “The Road to Pasadena”, including numerous friendlies, the Algarve Cup in Portugal, and a game against the FIFA World stars in San Jose, CA. The US had started the year with a pair of friendlies against Brazil, who they routed 7-0 and 6-0 in late January. The exhibition against the World All Stars took place on February 15, and served as a wakeup call when the stars beat the US 2-1. The Americans were not invincible. This point was made even clearer in March when China defeated the US 1-2 in the Algarve Cup final, and again late in April by an identical score. This led to nervous speculation about any USA-China matchups in the World Cup.

The rest of the “road to Pasadena” games were all USA; the US beat Finland 3-1 and 2-0, giving the US a sendoff with confidence to Portugal for the Algarve Cup. There they were surprised by Sweden who drew 1-1. The US rallied, with a 4-0 romp over Finland and a 2-1 victory over Norway before losing to China in the final. This year saw the emergency of Tiffeny Millbrett and Kristine Lilly as major goal scorers. The spring started out with a March 28 3-0 win over Mexico at Pasadena, followed by a two game series against China, which was split, each team taking a 2-1 victory. The pace quickened in May with four straight shutouts against victims Japan (7-0), Holland (5-0 and 3-0), and Brazil (3-0). Mia Hamm shook off her recent goal scoring drought by getting a goal in each game. The goal against brazil gave her the all-time world goal scoring record for national team play, with her 108th. The final two games before the World Cup were a 4-0 victory over Australia and 4-2 win over Canada. After the World Cup victory, the US took almost two months off to rest, bask in glory and give interviews. They picked up again on September 4 with a MLS doubleheader in Foxboro, MA where they trounced Ireland 5-0 in their first meeting with that nation. Later in their first friendly at Denver, CO they shut out Brazil 6-0. The final USSF-sponsored event of the year was the US Cup ’99, again won by the US. This time, games were held in major cities which had not yet seen the team. the first was a doubleheader in the new Columbus Crew Stadium, where the US defeated South Korea 5-0. A 6-0 trouncing of Finland at Kansas City and 4-2 victory over Brazil in Louisville, KY guaranteed them the cup. Every game after the World Cup attracted large crowds, highlighted by 36,000 and 35,000 respectively for the final two USA cup games held in non-MLS cities.

In an effort to gain some compensation for their World Cup performance, compensation that was certainly well-deserved, the US Women, with the acceptance, if not the sanctioning of the USSF arranged a US tour against all-star teams held in major indoor arenas of cities that had not seen MLS or national team action. This tour, though not always sold out, provided good crowds and action, with most games coming as victories for the US.

1999 USA Women’s National Team results

1999 Confederations Cup

The Confederations Cup is the world championship tournament bringing together winners and runner-ups of the previous Continental tournaments (Copa America, Gold Cup, Euro ’96, African National Cup, Asian Championship, and Oceania champion). For the first time, this tournament was held outside of Saudi Arabia, and for the second time was sanctioned by FIFA. This time it was held in Mexico, and brought together many of the world’s best teams. The US qualified because Gold Cup champion Mexico was hosting. France, as World Cup winner, declined their invitation, which was then given to Germany. The Cup commenced July 24, where the US played a close game against first time opponent New Zealand, eventually winning 2-1 off of goals by Brian McBride and Jovan Kirovski in a match which marked the return of John Harkes to the team. The next game for the Americans had a familiar ring to the result: 0-1 loss to Brazil. But this time, the US looked better on the field than in any of their recent matches against the Brazilians, actually controlling the field for significant portions of the game. Because of Brazil’s 4-0 shutout of Germany, and Germany’s 2-0 win over New Zealand, the US was in good shape to advance to the second round. Being tied with Germany, and ahead on goal differential, the US only needed a draw to advance.

The USA got more than a tie, in fact it earned a 2-0 shutout to stun Germany and much of the soccer world, with their second straight shutout of the former #2 team. Unlike the previous win, this one was in a significant tournament. This result was achieved despite coach Bruce Arena’s benching of many regular starters to give them rest from the relentless schedule which assigned the Americans 3 games in 5 days. Goals were courtesy of Ben Olsen and Joe-Max Moore. In the semifinals however, the US finally met their match. In front of 115,000 raucous fans at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, they came close, in what actually could be called the US’s best effort at Mexico’s home stadium. They held Mexico to a 0-0 draw into overtime before Cuauhtemoc Blanco’s goal in the 97th minute sealed it for the Tri-Colores. The hero for the US was once again goalkeeper Kasey Keller who turned in a major effort against the relentless Mexican attack. The tournament was finally won by Mexico, who beat Brazil 4-3, while the US good the third place game, beating Saudi Arabia 2-0.

Complete results of 1999 Confederations Cup:

1999 Pan-American Games

The 1999 Pan-American games fatured a women’s competition for the first time. Unlike the men, who competed with their U-23 teams, the women’s sides consisted of U-20 teams. The US did not disappoint in either competition this time. The Men’s team improved over their 1995 performance greatly by advancing out of pool play to take the Bronze medal, and the women won the gold. These games were marred somewhat by a mass boycott of most South American countries, but this did not dampen the spirits nor the quality of competition.

The Men’s competition showed the USA in Group B with Honduras, Jamaica, Cuba and Uruguay. The US started off by defeating Cuba 1-0, before losing to Honduras 1-2. After a rest, they defeated Jamaica 2-1 and fought to a scoreless tie with Uruguay. This gave them a record of 2-1-1, good enough for second place and a trip to the final four. There the successful run came to an end as Mexico thrashed the team 4-0. The US was forced to the consolation game where they beat Canada to take the bronze. Mexico beat Honduras 3-1 for the Gold. This result was fairly promising, although it showed the US had their work cut out for them if they were to progress far in the upcoming 2000 Olympics.

The Women’s competition had a field of five teams: USA, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago. The US wasted no time in taking charge of the field, as they thrashed Costa Rica 6-0, drew with a surprising Mexico 1-1, and topped Trinidad & Tobago 9-1 and shut out Canada 3-0. Back to form. The semifinals included the USA paired with costa Rica, and Canada paired with Mexico. The USA defeated Costa Rica 2-0 in a surprisingly close game, while Canada and Mexico fought to a 2-2 draw won by Canada 3-5 in penalty kicks. Canada then beat Costa rica 1-1 (3-4 PK) for the Bronze, while the Americans beat Mexico 1-0 for the Gold.

Complete Pan-American Game 1999 results

U-17 World Cup

The future of US soccer looked bright as the Men’s U-17 team had an unprecedented year, winning finishing fourth in the 1999 World Youth Cup. This was by far the most successful World Cup performance ever for the Americans and held the hope for a promising US future as the players moved up the ladder.

The US had started off with mixed results, starting impressively with a 4-3 victory over Argentina. At the Cup Qualifications however, the best they could manage was 2-2 draw against Costa Rica, a 3-0 win over Honduras and a 0-0 draw against Jamaica. This led to a CONCACAF playoff between the US and El Salvador. The teams played frst to a 0-0 draw at San Salvador, before the US swamped the Salvadoreans 4-0 in Columbus, OH, off of goals by Onyewu, Beasley and Donovan. Thus, the US qualified again, but just barely. In friendlies, the US drew with England, while beating Jamaica, Paraguay and Mali, by which time the team clearly had found their form. At the World Cup, held in New Zealand in November 1999, the US started playing close to the vest, beating the host 2-1, drawing with Poland and topping uruguay 1-0 in a close match. The big upset was the US’s upset of Mexico in the second round on November 19. The US goals were scored by Beasley, Cila and beckerman. Never had the US reached the semifinals, and nearly made it to the championships, taking Australia to penalty kicks after a 2-2 draw. But here it just fell short, as Australia won the PK’s 6-7. Deflated, the US lost the consolation game to Ghana 0-2. Brazil beat Australia for the Cup, winning 8-7 on penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw in regulation.

As disappointing as the final result was, thistournament was still a watershed for the Americans; never had they progressed this far in a World Youth cup before. It was hoped similar results would be forthcoming as these players moved up to the U-20’s.

Men’s U-17 results, 1999 | U-17 World Cup results

U-20 World Cup

The Men’s U-20 team had a fairly short season, highlighted by the U-20 World Youth Championships, held in Nigeria in April 1999. The Americans started the year with four friendlies, beating Denmark 1-0, losing to Spain 0-1, and Portugal, 0-3, and drawing with Morocco 1-1. Finally, in April the U-20 World Cup loomed. The US improved over their previous performance by advancing out of pool play, after defeating England 1-0, and Cameroon 3-1, with the only loss against Japan (1-3). This performance heartened the Anericans, especially striker Twellmann, who scored two goals in the Cameroon victory. But it was not to be, as on April 15, the US lost to Spain 2-3, off of another pair of goals by Twellman, including a last minute shot in the 90th minute. Spain beat Japan 4-0 in the final to take the Cup. Although the US’s result was disappointing, the fact that they made the quarterfinals was an achievement in itself, and showed the beginnings of improvement for the US Team.

Men’s U-20 results, 1999 | U-20 World Cup results

U. S. Open Cup

A couple surprises were in store for the first round of the Open Cup finals, with three A-League teams knocking off favored MLS opponents — Staten island Vipers over the MetroStars 3-2, the Charleston Battery over D. C. United 4-3 and the Rochester Ragin’ Rhinos over the Chicago Fire 1-0. In the quarterfinals, Charleston ousted Staten island, while Rochester continued with the upsets, eliminating the Dallas Burn 2-1. Columbus defeated the Los Angeles Galaxy 3-1 and Colorado beat Tampa Bay 1-0.

In the semifinals, The Battery’s run ended as they fell to Colorado 3-0, while the Rhinos eliminated Columbus 3-2. The final match was played at brand new Columbus Crew Stadium before a disappointing crowd of 4,455 where the Rochester Ragin’ Rhinos became the first USL team to win the Open Cup since the advent of MLS when they shut out the Columbus Crew 2-0.

International Tours

International Clubs vs Major League Soccer: Results: 7 wins, 1 draw, 4 losses.

(home teams listed first)
2/25/99  New England Revolution 1, Modena (Italy) 3
3/30/99  D. C. United 2, Bermuda National Team 0
4/1/99   Dallas Burn 3, Colima Jaguares (Mexico) 1
6/10/99  New England Revolution 0, Santa Clara (Portugal) 3
6/16/99  Chicago Fire 3, Legia-Daewoo Warsaw (Poland) 2
7/20/99  Chicago Fire 1, Derby County (England) 0
7/21/99  New England Revolution 1, Ajax (Holland) 2
8/4/99   Los Angeles Galaxy 3, Chivas (Mexico) 1
8/18/99  Los Angeles Galaxy 1, Nxaca (Mexico) 1
8/25/99  San Jose Earthquakes 2, UNAM Pumas (Mexico) 3
9/22/99  Tampa Bay Mutiny 11, Puerto Rico National Team 0
9/22/99  Miami Fusion 1, Haiti National Team 0

The College Game

The NCAA moved the tournament final four to Ericcson Stadium in Charlotte NC, in an effort to go big time. This 74,000 seat stadium, used for NFL’s Carolina Panthers symbolized the NCAA’s aspirations, but looked somewhat incongruous with the 15,000+ crowds that actually turned out. This raised the question about whether it was better to build the sport first through advertising and competition, and follow that with moving to a larger stadium rather than the other way around. A wiser decision was made with the women’s tournament. This was moved to Spartan Stadium in San Jose, a 31,000 seat venue. The final championship drew 14,410, almost as much as the men’s final, but in the more intimate stadium, the crowd felt and sounded much louder.

In the Men’s Division 1 Tournament, quarterfinal action saw Connecticut defeat Furman 3-2, Indiana defeated Penn State 3-0, UCLA defeated Virginia 2-0, and Santa Clara defeated Alabama-Birmingham 3-2 (OT) In the semifinals, Santa Clara defeated Connecticut 2-1 (4 OT), and Indiana defeated UCLA 3-2 (4 OT). The Championship game was held Sunday December 12 in Charlotte, NC and Indiana defeated Santa Clara 1-0 to reclaim the title.

In the Women’s Division 1 tournament, third round action saw Santa Clara defeat Connecticut 3-0, Penn State defeated Hartford 2-0, North Carolina defeated Clemson 3-0, and Notre Dame defeated Nebraska 1-1 (4-3 PK). In the semifinals, North Carolina defeated Penn State 2-0 and Notre Dame defeated Santa Clara 1-0. In the championship, held on december 5, at San Jose, North Carolina defeated Notre Dame 2-0 to extend their unparalleled ring of dynasties into the next millenium.

Division II Men’s champion: Southern Connecticut defeated Fort Lewis State 2-1
Division II Women’s champion: Franklin Pierce defeated Cal Poly-Pomona 3-1
Division III Men’s champion: St. Lawrence defeated Wheaton 2-0
Division III Women’s champion: US-San Diego defeated MacAlester 1-0
NAIA Men’s Champion: Lindsey Wilson defeated Mobile 2-1
NAIA Women’s Champion: Westmount defeated Transylvania 3-0
NJCAA Division I Men’s Championship: State Fair 3, Pima 2 (OT)
NJCAA Division III Men’s Championship: Herkimer Community College 2, Holyoke Community College 0
NJCAA Women’s Championship: Lewis & Clark 3, Champlain 1
NCCAA Division 1 Championship: East Texas Baptist 4, Mt. Vernon Nazarene 1
NCCAA Division 2 Championship: Northern Baptist Bible College 2, Philadelphia College of Bible 0
NCCAA Women’s Championship: Indiana Weslayen 3, Western Baptist 2 (OT)

Final Men's Division 1 Coaches' Poll:

1.  Indiana
2.  Santa Clara
3.  UCLA
4.  Connecticut
5.  Furman
6.  Penn State
7.  Duke
8.  Alabama-Birmingham
9.  St. Louis
10. Virginia

Final Women's Division 1 Coaches' Poll:

1.  North Carolina
2.  Notre Dame
3.  Santa Clara
4.  Penn State
5.  Nebraska
6.  Clemson
7.  Stanford
9.  Connecticut
10. Florida
Men's Division 1 NSCAA All-Americans (1st team):

G - Adin Brown, William & Mary
D - Eric Denton, Santa Clara
D - Nick Garcia, Indiana
D - David Wright, Creighton
M - Daniel Alvarez, Furman
M - Carl Bussey, Southern Methodist
M - Jeff Dimaria, Saint Louis
M - Sasha Victorine
F - John Barry Nusum, Furman
F - Mohamed Fahim, Southern Methodist
F - Aleksey Korol, Indiana
F - Ricardo Villar, Jr., Penn State

Women's Division 1 NSCAA All-Americans (1st team):

G - Emily Oleksiuk, Penn State
D - Heather Mitts, Florida
D - Danielle Slaton, Santa Clara
D - Sharolta Nonen, Nebraska
M - Nikki Serlenga, Santa Clara
M - Lorrie Fair, North Carolina
M - Kaye Brownlee, Furman
F - Mandy Clemens, Santa Clara
F - Maren Hendershot, Brigham Young
F - Christie Welsh, Penn State
F - Abby Wambach, Florida

Men's National Award Winners:

Hermann Trophy:  Ali Curtis, Duke
Missouri Athletic Club Award:  Sasha Victorine, UCLA
NSCAA Div. I Coach of the Year: Jerry Yeagley, Indiana Univ.

Women's National Award Winners:

Hermann Trophy: Mandy Clemens, Santa Clara
Missouri Athletic Club Award:  Mandy Clemens, Santa Clara
NSCAA Div. I Coach of the Year: Patrick Farmer, Penn State Univ.

Awards & Cups

US Open Cup Championship: Rochester Raging Rhinos defeated Colorado Rapids 2-0.

US Women’s Open Cup Championship: San Diego Auto Trader defeated Patrick Real Wyckoff 14-0.

Women’s Premier Soccer League: Southern California Ajax (12-9-3-0) were the league champions. Standings | Stats

National Amateur Cup Championship: Detroit Arsenal defeated Philadelphia United German-Hungarians 7-5.

James P. McGuire Cup (US Youth Soccer Boys U-19): La Jolla (CA) Nomads
Andy Stone Cup (US Youth Soccer Boys U-18): F. C. United (Tacoma, WA)
Don Greer Cup (US Youth Soccer Boys U-17): Braddock Road Warhawks (Annandale, VA)
D.J. Niotis Cup (US Youth Soccer Boys U-16): Chicago Magic

J. Ross Stewart Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-19): Cardinal Premier (Cincinnati, OH)
Frank Kelly Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-18): Northport Cow Harbor Piranha (NY)
L. Moynihan Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-17): Colorado Rush Like (Lakewood)
Patricia Masotto Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-16): Windsor (CT) World Class

CONCACAF Champions Cup: The Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) lost to Nexaca (Mexico) in the playoff qualifiers, 1-1 (4-5 PK). Chicago Fire (MLS) and D. C. United (MLS) received byes to the final round In the quarterfinals, Chicago Fire defeated Joe Public (Trinidad) 2-0 and D. C. United defeated Olimpia (Honduras) 1-0. In the semifinals, Chicago Fire lost to LD Alajuelense (Costa Rica) 1-1 (5-4 PK), and D. C. United lost to Nexaca (Mexico) 1-3. In the 3rd place game, Chicago and D. C. United tied 2-2. Nexaca (Mexico) defeated Alajuela (Costa Rica) 2-1 on October 3 in Las Vegas, NV for the championship.

CONCACAF Cup Winners Cup: Not played this year.

CONCACAF U-17 Championship: The United States drew with Costa Rica 2-2, beat Honduras 3-0 and drew with Jamaica 0-0 for second place in Group A. The US then defeated El Salvador 4-1 in the playoff. Jamaica (Group A winner), Mexico (Group B winner) and the United States qualified for the 2002 U-17 World Youth Cup.

Hall of Fame: In 1999, the US Soccer Hall of Fame game the Commissioner’s Award to Lamar Hunt. It also opened its 40,000 square foot high-tech museum and archive building to great acclaim and a dedication by Hilary Rodham Clinton. The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Hall of Fame inducted G.K. ‘Joe’ Guennel. The National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association (NISOA) Hall of Fame inducted Ray Buck. The American Youth Soccer Organization inducted Mario Machado and Fred Mautner.

ISSFA Women’s Player of the Century: Mia Hamm
Sports Illustrated Athlete of the Year: The US Women’s National Team
World Cup 1999 1st team selections: Michelle Akers, Brandi Chastain, Mia Hamm, Carla Overbeck, Brianna Scurry
World Cup 1999 Best Goalkeeper: Brianna Scurry
U-17 World Cup MVP: Landon Donovan
Honda Award (Player of the Year): Finalists: Cobi Jones, Kasey Keller, Claudio Reyna
USSF Chevrolet Players of the Year: Kasey Keller, Michelle Akers
NSCAA Honor Award: Miller Albert Bugliari, Pingry School, NJ
NISOA Honor Award: David Spencer, CA
NISOA Merit Award: Thomas Reilly, Univ. South Carolina; Elmar Bolowich, Univ. North Carolina

Jerry Langdon’s Indoor Team of the Century:

G - Victor Nogueira (1987-present)
D - Kevin Crow (1983-1996)
D - Kim Roentved (1980-present)
M - Branko Segota (1978-present)
F - Tatu (1983-present)
F - Steve Zungul (1978-1990)