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The year 2001 was highlighted by the US Men’s national team’s fourth consecutive qualification for the World Cup and the debut of the Women’s United Soccer Association, the first professional women’s league in the United States. Major League Soccer saw fruits from its promotional efforts as attendance increased significantly this year, albeit with mounting financial challenges.
USL continued developing the lower tiers of the US professional soccer establishment with some consolidation at the 2nd and 3rd divisions, while extending the Women’s amateur division back to the west coast. The US men’s junior teams, U-20 and U-17 had disappointing runs at their respective World Championships, leading pundits to question the effect of college soccer on the aspirations of the young players being groomed by the National Team program. The NCAA for its part expanded the Men’s tournament to 48 teams, and the women’s tournament to 64. In club competition, the Bay Area celebrated two championships as the Earthquakes won MLS Cup 2001, and the CyberRays won the WUSA Founder’s Cup. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Galaxy nearly had a “triple”, as they won the 2000 CONCACAF Champions’ Cup and the U. S. Open Cup, and nearly took MLS Cup 2001.
On the youth front, USL expanded its Super Y-League to cover all regions of the country and added its first Women’s divisions. A new entity, U. S. Club Soccer (www.usclubsoccer.com), was granted affiliate status with USSF. USCS was formed in 1999 as the National Association of Competitive Soccer Associations, to provide a competitive forum of top youth teams from across the country, who were not being served adequately by the more recreationally oriented national youth associations. With 170 clubs in 36 states, UCSC was in effect the elite organization for youth soccer, competing with USL’s Super Y-League and USSF’s US Youth Soccer. Most importantly, their clear goal was player development, to produce top stars for MLS and the National Team. This marked a refreshing change to see youth development clearly aimed towards the top echelons of US soccer.
Indoor soccer suffered from the effects of declining attendance and financial woes in a significant way. The NPSL was folded by its leadership, who then immediately established a new single-entity league, the Major Indoor Soccer League and six NPSL teams became the founding members. The WISL saw three of its teams withdraw for one year due to various reasons, and by the end of the year they were absorbed by the new MISL. The US Open Cup saw an amazing run by the lowly New England Revolution who bowed to the LA Galaxy in the title match.
Major League Soccer made some institutional changes as it reduced the roster size from 20 to 18 players, while keeping the salary cap virtually unchanged, at $1,750,000 (the minimum salary remained at $20,000, unchanged from 1996). The Maximum salary was $267,500. They also received permission from US Soccer to increase their pool of junior and transitional internationals from 12 to 24 players to offset the team foreign player limit from 4 to 3. There were also ten allocations, including Ante Razov (Chicago), and Jose Luis Morales (New England). But competition for playing spots would be fierce with the roster size trimmed from 20 to 18 players.
On the labor front, a new group of organizers started work to establish a group that would provide an alternative to the litigious MLSPA, a subsidiary of the NFL players association. They aimed to focus on raising the minimum wage above 20,000 per year, and incorporate cost of living adjustments, limited free agency and establishment of retirement benefits. Meanwhile the MLSPA’s unsuccessful lawsuit continued on appeal, hampering the prospect of true negotiations until the suit is finally settled. On the franchise front, Silicon Valley Sports and Entertainment, owner of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks became the new investor/operators of the San Jose Earthquakes, bringing some hope to that moribund team, and started off with a tripling of the budget. Television contracts called for 42 broadcast games: 19 on ESPN2, 9 on ESPN, the all-star game and MLS Cup on ABC, and 14 on Telemundo. Also starting it’s second year was MLS Extra time, a welcome, and well crafted weekly highlight show on ESPN.
Major League Soccer saw some new coaches taking the reins, as Tim Hankinson was named head coach at Colorado, Frank Yallop replaced Lothar Osiander at San Jose. In Dallas, Mike Jeffries was tapped to replace the long serving Dave Dir, and Alfonso Mondelo was the new top man at Tampa Bay.
Project 40 now boasted 18 players in the MLS, 23 on the P-40 squad and only 14 that were out of MLS (including 5 in A-League). The trend continued towards signing younger players, some out of high school. Project 40’s new crop of players included two U-17 players, Edward Johnson and Santino Quaranta, who at 16 years and 4 months was the youngest player ever signed to P-40.
The flow of players to and from the league continued. Los Angeles signed former star Alexi Lalas as a discovery player (salary limited at $75,000/year). Jorge Dely Valdez, Joey DiGiamarino and Anders Limpar left for greener pastures. Paul Caligiuri retired as well.
MLS introduced an impressive corps of rookie players this year led by US National team phenom Landon Donovan, 18, who had already had an impact for the National Teams. After making an immediate impact for the US in World Cup qualifying, Landon was happy to leave the German Bundesliga’s 4th division to play for the San Jose Earthquakes. Those foreign allocations that were signed were of lesser caliber (and expense) than in earlier seasons, a reflection of the numerous previous allocation players who had gone bust. This also reflected a gradually changing strategy now geared more towards developing home-grown players.
The 2001 SuperDraft was dominated by college players, with a scattering of individuals from the A-League and PDL. Top pick was Chris Carrieri, who led NCAA Division 1 in scoring the previous fall while at North Carolina. Carrieri went to San Jose. Next, Tampa Bay took Hermann Trophy winner Ali Curtis of Duke. D. C. United accumulated three first round picks courtesy of a fire sale of its veteran players, taking Mark Lisi of Clemson and Ryan Nelson of Stanford 3rd and 4th respectively.
Training camp involved international tours for several teams. The MetroStars, Kansas City and Colorado set up camp in Portugal, while San Jose and Dallas went south to Mexico, and New England conducted a seven game tour of Costa Rica. Columbus trained in Germany and Tampa Bay went to Colombia. Finally, the Galaxy traveled to Japan and China for their training. Some results were impressive. The MetroStars defeated Benfica 2-0 on February 27, finishing their tour with a 4-0-1 record. The Galaxy didn’t do so well, losing to Verdy Tokyo 3-2 and Urawa Reds 2-1 after beating China 3-1.
As the 6th season commenced, several teams were at a crossroads. Kansas City looked to capitalize on last season’s MLS Cup triumph, while New England and New York looked to keep their winning ways going after several seasons in the cellar. The East’s current cellar dwellers, DC United were angling for a turnaround after last season’s amazing collapse. San Jose was in serious shape, with the worst record overall the past four seasons, Columbus was looking to rebound from its quick elimination in the CONCACAF Giants Cup. Miami, San Jose and New York got off to strong starts, with Miami being the most impressive, led by new star Alex Pineda Chacon and a tight defense excellent at holding close games. Their early season run was highlighted by a 5-1 thrashing of defending champion Kansas City. San Jose, led by young phenom Landon Donovan and Ronald Cerritos took command of the West and New York with a finally healthy Tab Ramos and other big guys, remained a strong presence behind Miami. D. C. United on the other hand continued to wallow in futility, and Kansas City fell apart, finishing in third, and below .500.
But as the season neared its end, there were half a dozen bona-fide contenders for the league title, all capable of putting on exciting, imaginative games. Chicago and Los Angeles, led by Hristo Stoichkov and Luis Hernandez respectively were fearsome. Most other teams also had exciting front line players such as Ariel Graziani, Roy Lassiter and Onandi Lowe. This year, a number of rookies distinguished themselves, including strikers Santino Quaranta of D. C. United, Rodrigo Faria of the MetroStars, defender Ryan Suarez of Dallas and midfielder Mark Lisi of D. C. United. Most heartening were major turnarounds by perennial cellar dwellers Miami and San Jose, who rose to 1st and 2nd in their divisions. New England, after a promising start, fell apart and sank to a disappointing third in the East, while Chicago again won the Central. The season came to a premature end; in response to September 11, the league cancelled the final week of the regular season.
No real surprises in the first round of playoffs. Chicago, Miami, San Jose and Los Angeles swept through to the semifinals, although Miami took 3 games to finally put away defending champs Kansas City, and Los Angeles needed a third game tie breaker to finish off the MetroStars. The semifinals were more closely matched. San Jose and Miami, the comeback kings, squared off, with Miami taking the first game before being trounced 4-0 and again 1-0, sending the Earthquakes to MLS Cup 2001. Los Angeles and Chicago were more closely matched: After a 1-1 draw, the Galaxy managed two straight 1 goal victories to take the series, and set up an all-California cup.
Coming in the wake of September 11, and some rough weather, only 16,000 fans made it to Columbus Crew stadium, but they saw an exciting match. The Los Angeles Galaxy was in its third MLS Cup, still looking for their first title. The San Jose Earthquakes had completed an amazing run from the cellar to the finals. The Galaxy took the lead in the 21st minute when Greg Vanney sent the ball over the Earthquake’s back line to Luis Hernandez who trapped it on the run and drilled it past Keeper Joe Cannon. The Quakes, who had yet to win this season after conceding the first goal, hunkered down against the relentless Galaxy pursuit, blocking several more scoring opportunities. Late in the first half, the Earthquakes evened the score. Russell took the ball down the right flank, and passed to Mulrooney who knocked a low cross into the goalmouth. Cerritos let it slip by to Landon Donovan who fired the ball into the corner of the goal. The Quakes rode the momentum into the second half, setting up good runs, but the tiring forwards couldn’t finish, and the stalemate continued into overtime. Six minutes in, Ronnie Eklund sent a diagonal cross deep into Galaxy territory to Dwayne DeRosario who cut inside and took a shot which Califf deflected, but not enough to clear the goalposts. The Golden Goal rang true, and San Jose had their first Cup title, and an amazing seasonal turnaround.
As a response to the tragedy in New York City, the soccer establishment held the Unity Games, a pair of doubleheaders featuring MLS and WUSA teams with proceeds being donated to charity, on October 28 and November 3. In the second doubleheader, held on November 3, the Washington Freedom defeated the New York Power 3-1. In the nightcap, D. C. United defeated the MetroStars 1-0 before 22,235 flag waving fans at RFD Stadium in Washington. The MetroStars were strengthened by numerous guest players including Juergen Klinsman, John Harkes, Carlos Llamosa, Jeff Agoos, Mike McGinty (of the A-League) and MLS MVP Alex Pineda Chacon. D. C. United featured former English International Des Walker and Liberian Delvin Sebwe. Richie Williams played one half for both sides, his former and current clubs. The games memorialized those killed in the terrorist attacks and honored the New York City police and firefighters involved in the rescue effort. In December it was reported that the Unity Games had raised over $243,000.
As the season ended, MLS had some good news and bad news. Attendance was up, to 14,700 per game, but financial losses continued, and stadium problems soon left Chicago on the road. Also, the league was forced to consider a restructuring plan that was expected to result in the folding or moving of at least two teams. But they did negotiate a new television contract thru 2006 on mostly existing terms. Once again, the jury was still out on whether MLS would ultimately succeed: Increasing attendance and season ticket sales were a welcome development, and quality of play continued to improve, but financial losses continued, although compared to Major League Baseball’s 500 million + losses, the figures didn’t look that bad. The key was prospects for future growth and stability, and the willingness for major investors to stick by the league for several more years.
Final 2001 Major League Soccer Standings Pd W D L GF GA Pts Eastern Division Miami Fusion 26 16 5 5 57 36 53 NY/NJ MetroStars 26 13 3 10 38 35 42 New England Revolution 27 7 6 14 35 52 27 D.C. United 26 8 2 16 42 50 26 Central Division Chicago Fire 27 16 5 6 50 30 53 Columbus Crew 26 13 6 7 49 36 45 Dallas Burn 26 10 5 11 48 47 35 Tampa Bay Mutiny 27 4 2 21 32 68 14 Western Division Los Angeles Galaxy 26 14 5 7 52 36 47 San Jose Earthquakes 26 13 6 7 47 29 45 Kansas City Wizards 27 11 3 13 33 53 36 Colorado Rapids 26 5 8 13 36 47 23 Quarterfinals: Chicago defeated Dallas 2-0,1-1, 2-0 Miami defeated Kansas City 2-0, 0-3, 2-1 San Jose defeated Columbus 3-1, 3-0 Los Angeles defeated New York 1-1, 1-4, 3-2, TB Semifinals: San Jose defeated Miami, 0-1, 4-0, 1-0 Los Angeles defeated Chicago, 1-1, 1-0, 2-1 MLS CUP 2001: San Jose defeated Los Angeles, 2-1 (OT) After the season, Miami and Tampa Bay folded. LEADING SCORERS GP G A Pts Alex Pineda Chacon, Miami 25 19 9 47 Diego Serna, Miami 22 15 15 45 John Spencer, Colorado 23 14 7 35 Jeff Cunningham, Columbus 22 10 13 33 John Wilmar Perez, Columbus 25 8 15 31 Preki, Miami 24 8 14 30 Ariel Graziani, Dallas 25 11 8 30 Abdul Thompson Conteh, D. C. 25 14 1 29 Ronald Cerritos, San Jose 25 11 6 28 Eric Wynalda, Chicago* 21 10 5 25 Cate, New England 22 8 8 24 Landon Donovan, San Jose 22 7 10 24 Jaime Moreno, D. C. United 24 9 6 24 Jason Kreis, Dallas 25 7 10 24 Manny Lagos, San Jose 26 8 8 24 Mamadou Diallo, Tampa Bay 22 9 5 23 Dema Kovalenko, Chicago 25 8 7 23 Peter Nowak, Chicago 18 6 10 22 Cobi Jones, Los Angeles 22 6 10 22 Jim Rooney, Miami 25 6 9 21 Brian Maisonneuve, Columbus 25 8 5 21 * Played for more than one team - Most Recent Team Listed GOALKEEPING LEADERS (Minimum 1,170 minutes) GP MIN SHTS SVS C/P GA GAA W L SO Tony Meola, Kansas City 31 2826 162 129 83 29 0.92 15-7-9 16 Zach Thornton, Chicago 27 2496 145 111 80 30 1.08 16-6-5 9 Joe Cannon, San Jose 25 2306 134 101 87 28 1.09 13-6-6 7 Nick Rimando, Miami 25 2300 155 116 107 33 1.29 14-5-5 5 Tim Howard, MetroStars 26 2370 190 146 102 35 1.33 13-10-3 4 Tom Presthus, Columbus 25 2309 178 136 65 35 1.36 12-7-6 5 Matt Reis, Los Angeles 16 1405 76 52 41 22 1.41 8-3-4 6 Tony Meola, Kansas City 17 1534 111 80 39 28 1.64 7-8-2 4 Matt Jordan, Dallas 26 2388 138 91 86 45 1.70 10-11-5 9 Mike Amman, D. C. United 19 1739 111 73 61 38 1.97 3-14-2 1 Scott Garlick, Colorado* 26 2400 205 138 102 56 2.10 6-15-5 1 Adin Brown, Tampa Bay* 22 2018 179 118 79 51 2.27 3-16-3 3 All-Star Game: West and East battled to a 6-6 draw, a see-saw affair featuring a hat trick by Landon Donovan and a goal by MLS MVP Pineda Chacon. Goal scorers: Donovan (West, 3), Donovan (West, 7), Donovan (West, 19), Pineda Chacon (East, 28), Graziani (West, 26), McBride (East, 34), McBride (East, 39), Diallo (East, 53), Kovalenko (West, 69), Rooney (East, 84), Cate (East, 87), Donovan (West (92+). Attendance: 23,512. Location: Spartan Stadium, San Jose, CA. MLS Award Winners: Most Valuable Player: Alex Pineda Chacon, San Jose Earthquakes Goal of the Year:: Clint Mathis, MetroStars Coach of the Year: Frank Yallop, San Jose Earthquakes Goalkeeper of the Year: Tim Howard, MetroStars Defender of the Year: Jeff Agoos, San Jose Earthquakes Rookie of the Year: Rodrigo Faria, MetroStars Scoring Champion: Alex Pineda Chacon, Miami Fusion Fair Play Award: Alex Pineda Chacon, Miami Fusion; Team: San Jose Earthquakes Referee of the Year: Paul Tamberino Humanitarian of the Year: Tim Howard, MetroStars Comeback Player of the Year: Troy Dayak, San Jose Earthquakes Athletic Trainer of the Year: Rich Monis, Chicago Fire Pepsi Best 11: G - Tim Howard, MetroStars D - Pablo Mastroeni, Miami Fusion D - Carlos Llamosa, Miami Fusion D - Jeff Agoos, San Jose Earthquakes D - Greg Vanney, Los Angeles Galaxy M - John Spencer, Colorado M - Chris Armas, Chicago Fire M - Peter Nowak, Chicago Fire M - Preki, Miami Fusion F - Alex Pineda Chacon, Miami Fusion F - Diego Serna, Miami Fusion
Professional women’s soccer in the USA made its debut in 2001. The Women’s United Soccer Association made an auspicious debut, surpassing all expectations both at the gate and on the field, and immediately established itself as the strongest women’s professional league in the world. It boasted the top talent from the USA, and many of the world’s top stars, and drew greater attendance by far than any other women’s league.
One of the first orders of the day was hiring a boss. John Hendricks, the league founder, and founder of Discovery television, stepped down and Barbara Allen was named the Chief Executive Officer, and Tony DiCicco stepped on board as Chief Operations Officer. On the broadcast front, WUSA signed a four year contract with Turner Sports, for 11 games per season on TNT and 11 on CNNSI. TNT reached 77 million customers while CNNSI had an audience base of about 16 million. Ratings were expected to be in the 0.5 range. Announcing team was headed by J. P. Dellacamara and Wendy Gebauer. Several sponsors were also signed, most notably Procter & Gamble and Gillette.
The WUSA consisted of eight teams in its inaugural season, all in a single division. The 21 game season ran from April 14 to August 12. The league emulated world FIFA standards for many of its operational methods and rules, with a notable exception in substitution, allowing four subs of three and a goalkeeper. The scoring system was similar to MLS: 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw, 0 for a loss, draws standing after two Golden Goal overtime periods (15 minutes rather than MLS’s 5 minute). Teams were the Atlanta Beat, Bay Area CyberRays, Boston Breakers, Carolina Courage (originally the Orlando Tempest), New York Power, Philadelphia Charge, San Diego Spirit and Washington Freedom. Carolina hired Marcia McDermott, coach at Northwestern University to become the only female head coach in the league. In early February, the Supplemental Draft yielded 32 more players to flesh out the rosters, primarily college and W-League teams.
Training began March 1, with many teams moving south for the warmer weather. The first exhibition match was held March 10 between Atlanta and San Diego at El Paso, TX. March 18, teams cut from 28 to 24 players to open spots for the March 20 waiver draft. Final roster cuts, to 20 players (and three reserves), with a foreign player limit of 4, were made April 2 at which point salaries kicked in for non-allocated players.
When the rosters were finally set, the league boasted the cream of the world’s talent. Almost the entire US national team was represented among the 8 teams, along with a bevy of top international stars, including Sun Wen (Atlanta), Sissi (Bay Area), Wen Lirong (Carolina), Dagny Mellgren (Boston), Gro Espereth (New York), Liu Ailing (Philadelphia), Mercy Akide (San Diego), Charmaine Hooper (Atlanta) and Pretinha (Washington). In terms of the US players, Washington Freedom boasted the strongest talent, including Mia Hamm and Siri Mullinix. Julie Foudy and Shannon MacMillan were with San Diego, Saskia Webber and Mandy Clemens with Philadelphia, Tiffeny Milbrett and Sara Whalen with New York, Carla Overbeck and Tiffany Roberts with Carolina, Kate Sobrero and Kristine Lilly with Boston, Brandi Chastain and Tisha Venturini with Bay Area, and Brianna Scurry and Cindy Parlow with Atlanta. In short, the WUSA represented a veritable all-star team composed of Olympian and World Cup stars of the past decade. Washington had perhaps the strongest squad, followed by Atlanta. Major concerns rested with Philadelphia and New York whose talent was notably thinner, and in New York’s case, compounded by a difficult scene setting up the front office. Carolina and Philadelphia were expected to struggle on the field this first season.
The league kicked off with a match between the Bay Area CyberRays and Washington Freedom at RFK Stadium in Washington. Extensive publicity attracted a lot of attention, and 34,148 fans passed the turnstiles to witness the league debut. After a rousing opening ceremony highlighted by an appearance by tennis legend Billie Jean King, the game itself was a disjointed, tentative affair, not unexpected for the first game. A lack of shooting, and turnovers were common. But MLS had suffered similar problems during their first season, and as teams established their game plans, quality of play improved rapidly.
Teams attracted substantial crowds for their home openers, and overall attendance remained higher than anticipated. Washington led the way, averaging 20,000 well into the season until their struggling performance forced them to the bottom of the standings. Bay Area, another talent laden team, got off to a disappointing start, but rallied through July and ended the season tied for the top with Atlanta Beat at 37 points.
The Atlanta Beat won the regular season title in a squeaker, tied with the Bay Area CyberRays at 37 points, but winning the position based on their head to head record. Even though New York got off to a horrendous start, they finished a close third, and fans discovered the team as the season progressed. The CyberRays tale was a classic worst to first story as they turned their disastrous start into a triumphant 2nd place finish, and they weren’t through yet.
In the playoffs, Bay Area defeated New York 3-2, and Atlanta defeated Philadelphia 3-2. No surprises there. The battle of the superpowers in the Founders’ Cup, took place at Foxboro Stadium in August. Already a familiar venue for the women’s national team, over 20,000 were on hand in a see-saw battle as the contestants battled to a 3-3 draw, struggled through overtime and finally had to settle the game on penalty kicks, which Bay Area won 4-2. This gave the San Francisco area their second cup in the year, and that was not the end of their winning streak. To solidify its ties to the San Jose area specifically, the team was renamed the San Jose CyberRays on November 7th.
One of the major surprises this first season was the less than stellar performance of many of the top stars, both domestic and international. Players such as Foudy, Hamm, Overbeck, Sun, Sissi and others although strong were not among the league stat leaders. That honor belonged to some of the younger less established US and foreign players. Those fresh out of college also struggled as they adjusted to life outside of college and the higher caliber of play in the league. Conversely, many of the big stars had trouble adjusting to the lower quality of play, compared to that on the national teams.
The season was considered a very successful debut for the league. The league averaged 8,293 fans per game (for 693,632 total), ahead of projections. Washington and Atlanta led, averaging over 11,000 per game. Even the weakest teams averaged over 4,000 per game. Fan support was positive, and it was an excellent family experience to catch a game. League play improved considerably as the teams began to gel, and the league boasted the cream of the world’s female soccer talent. On the other hand, sponsorship revenue was disappointing and TV ratings were low, averaging 0.36. Merchandise was popular, but hard to find. Some management changes were made, most notably the dismissal of CEO Barbara Allen, and Tony DiCicco’s assuming the title of Commissioner. The owner-investors were still happy and fully committed to the league. In December, The WUSA ditched its TV contracts with CNNSI and TNT for one with Pax Network that would offer greater scheduling flexibility.
One interesting footnote to this auspicious season. Shortly before WUSA’s debut, the Football Association in England announced plans to launch the first professional league in England, which was to have 8-12 teams and launch in 2003. A fitting end to a long history of injustice dating back to the FA’s decision to ban women’s soccer at their grounds in 1930, a ban which was not lifted until 1976.
Final 2001 Women's United Soccer Association Standings GP W D L GF GA PTS Atlanta Beat 21 10 7 4 31 21 37 Bay Area CyberRays 21 11 4 6 27 23 37 New York Power 21 9 5 7 30 25 32 Philadelphia Charge 21 9 4 8 35 28 31 San Diego Spirit 21 7 7 7 29 28 28 Boston Breakers 21 8 3 10 29 35 27 Washington Freedom 21 6 3 12 26 35 21 Carolina Courage 21 6 3 12 28 40 21 Semifinals: Bay Area defeated New York, 3-2 Atlanta defeated Philadelphia, 3-2 FOUNDERS' CUP: Bay Area defeated Atlanta 3-3 (4-2 PK) LEADING SCORERS: GP G A Pts Tiffeny Milbrett, New York 20 16 3 35 Shannon MacMillan, San Diego 20 12 6 30 Charmaine Hooper, Atlanta 19 12 3 27 Dagny Mellgren, Boston 19 11 4 26 Danielle Fotopoulos, Carolina 21 9 5 23 Maren Meinert, Boston 17 8 7 23 Liu Ailing, Philadelphia 19 10 2 22 Hege Riise, Carolina 18 6 8 20 Julie Murray, Bay Area 19 9 1 19 Cindy Parlow, Atlanta 18 5 7 17 LEADING GOALKEEPERS: GP GAA Brianna Scurry, Atlanta 19 0.82 LaKeysia Beene, Bay Area 20 0.97 Melissa Moore, Philadelphia 10 1.01 Gao Hong, New York 21 1.11 Jaime Pagliarulo, San Diego 15 1.40 Saskia Webber, Philadelphia 12 1.62 Siri Mullinix, Washington 18 1.67 Bente Nordby, San Diego 14 1.73 Tracy Ducar, Boston 19 1.76 Kristin Luckenbill, Carolina 12 1.80 WUSA Award Winners: Most Valuable Player: Tiffeny Milbrett, New York Power Offensive Player of the Year: Tiffeny Milbrett, New York Power Defensive Player of the Year: Doris Fitschen, Philadelphia Charge Goalkeeper of the Year: LaKeysia Beene, Bay Area CyberRays Coach of the Year: Ian Sawyers, Bay Area CyberRays Referee of the Year: Sandra Hunt Humanitarian Award: Kate Sobrero, Boston Breakers Team Community Service Award: Washington Freedom Team Fair Play Award: New York Power WUSA Global 11: G - LaKeysia Beene, Bay Area CyberRays D - Gro Espeseth, New York Power D - Brandi Chastain, Bay Area CyberRays D - Doris Fitschen, Philadelphia Charge M - Hege Riise, Carolina Courage M - Kristine Lilly, Boston Breakers M - Sissi, Bay Area CyberRays M - Maren Meinert, Boston Breakers F - Charmaine Hooper, Atlanta Breakers F - Shannon MacMillan, San Diego Spirit F - Tiffeny Milbrett, New York Power
During Commissioner Francisco Marcos’s sabbatical, USL day to day operations were handled by David Askinas who had been at the league since 1997. Askinas, the league’s legal counsel, had played a major role in establishment of the working relationship between USL and MLS. In early December, Francisco Marcos returned from his long sabbatical in Portugal to assume the position of USL President. The league continued to have struggles in the top divisions as several teams folded or relegated themselves downward, but this left the smaller A-League with a stronger set of teams. The W-League re-established itself on the west coast and weathered the debut of the WUSA quite well, reorienting itself to serve as a farm system for the new senior league. The Super Y-League continued its growth, expanding nationally and adding women’s divisions. Almost unnoticed, the league appeared to have finally led the indoor I-League expire quietly; there had not been enough team interest to run a season since 1997-98.
The A-League started the year with more memories of the NASL being evoked. Vancouver was bought in August 2000 by financier David Stadnyk of Starlight Sports, who revived the old NASL team name, Whitecaps. Meanwhile, the expansion Portland Timbers made a successful debut, and the three-way rivalry between these cities and Seattle was on again.
In Late February, indoor and NASL legend Kai Haaskivi was appointed general manager and head coach of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. John Dugan took the helm at Atlanta, bringing four former Raleigh players with him, meanwhile, Cincinnati signed Luis Labastida from Minnesota, 5th in scoring last year, as well as Nigerian forward Abel Salami.
Vancouver signed 31 year old Junior Busby, goalkeeper from Crystal Palace. and Charleston tabbed Dan Calichmen who was waived by MLS. Richmond acquired Jamaican International Clifton Waugh and Rochester signed former MLS midfielder Carlos Parra. San Diego continued its roller coaster ride; despite some great finishes and large crowds, the team’s financial situation remained as the league was forced to run the franchise for the entire season.
The 2001 season was one of the tightest in A-League history, with the top five teams separated by only three points in the standings. Richmond took top honors, taking the central division, while Hershey bested Rochester by one point in the East and Vancouver won the West by a comfortable margin. The playoffs were delayed a week as a result of September 11, and the top teams received first round byes, as they watched the remainder of the playoff pool battle through the first round.
This year, Charleston and Pittsburgh followed Rochester’s lead by stocking up on high quality talent. Rochester lost three of their top players, Yari Allnutt, Craig Denningand Onandi Lowe to MLS, but compensated by bringing back veteran goalkeeper Pat Onstad, a key part of their 1998 championship team, and other major signings. But cash alone was not necessarily the way to success. Hershey beat out both Rochester and Pittsburgh for top spot in the East. In the Central, high-spending Charleston lost a close divisional race to the ever successful Richmond Kickers in a close race. Vancouver maintained their dominance of the west, with a comfortable margin over San Diego and Milwaukee. The new kid on the block, Portland, finished 4th in the west, with a respectable record, but more importantly, the fans took to the Timbers with great enthusiasm, with consistently large crowds.
Pittsburgh, San Diego, Milwaukee and Portland easily swept through the first round to the quarterfinals. But there, the three division winners had their way, joining Milwaukee in the semifinals. Rochester was matched against their nemesis Milwaukee, but took two straight, sweeping into the championship with 3-2 and 1-0 victories. Hershey meanwhile swamped Vancouver 4-0 in the opener. They lost the nightcap 0-1, but goal differential took them into the final match against Rochester, who reclaimed their winning style, by shutting out the Wildcats for a 2-0 victory, and yet another league title.
At the end of the season, franchise problems cropped up. San Diego folded after a series of financial woes, and Nashville was forced to withdraw for a year because of stadium problems, a fate that threatened the Indiana Blast. A major worry for club owners was the increasing salary expenses; it was imperative to increase fan support, although the league did register double digit growth in average attendance over the past two seasons. The league averaged 2,954 fans per game in 2001, for a total attendance of 904,038. With Calgary moving in and three two-drawing teams being relegated, chances looked good for the league to break the 3,000 average attendance mark in 2002. A painful reminder of the challenges remaining was the Hershey Wildcats folding less than a week after playing in the league title match.
Final A-League Standings, 2001 Charlotte was promoted from the D3Pro League. Tennessee became Nashville. Portland was added. Vancouver became the Whitecaps. GP W D L GF GA BP Pts Northern Conference Hershey Wildcats 26 16 3 7 45 20 8 75 Rochester Raging Rhinos 26 16 4 6 43 27 6 74 Pittsburgh Riverhounds 26 10 4 12 39 39 6 50 Montreal Impact 26 10 2 14 29 37 3 45 Connecticut Wolves 26 9 6 11 30 37 1 43 Long Island Rough Riders 26 8 4 16 31 50 5 33 Toronto Lynx 26 7 3 16 20 41 1 32 Central Conference Richmond Kickers 26 16 3 7 47 34 9 76 Charleston Battery 26 16 1 9 51 34 8 73 Charlotte Eagles 26 14 2 10 50 41 8 66 Nashville Metros 26 14 2 10 47 48 5 63 Atlanta Silverbacks 26 13 1 12 48 39 6 59 Indiana Blast 26 8 0 18 38 55 3 35 Cincinnati Riverhawks 26 6 0 20 39 80 3 27 Western Conference Vancouver Whitecaps 26 16 2 8 44 33 8 74 San Diego Flash F. C. 26 14 1 11 55 42 11 68 Milwaukee Rampage 26 14 2 10 45 40 5 63 Portland Timbers 26 13 3 10 41 38 7 62 Seattle Sounders 26 13 1 12 40 39 4 57 Minnesota Thunder 26 9 2 15 29 34 3 41 El Paso Patriots 26 8 4 14 39 42 4 40 First Round: Pittsburgh defeated Charleston 2-1, 3-1 San Diego defeated Atlanta 2-0, 2-2 Portland defeated Charlotte 2-0, 3-2 Milwaukee defeated Nashville 3-2, 0-1 (4-3 PK) Quarterfinals: Milwaukee defeated Richmond 2-2, 1-1 (OT) Hershey defeated Portland 2-0, 1-0 Vancouver defeated San Diego 0-2, 4-1 Rochester defeated Pittsburgh 1-2, 3-0 Semifinals: Rochester defeated Milwaukee 3-2, 1-0 Hershey defeated Vancouver 4-0, 0-1 CHAMPIONSHIP: Rochester defeated Hershey 2-0 After the season, San Diego, and Hershey folded. Nashville withdrew for 1 year. Connecticut and Long Island were relegated to the D3Pro League.
Leading Scorers: GP G A PTS Paul Conway, Charleston 25 22 3 47 Dustin Swinehart, Charlotte 23 18 3 39 Jakob Fenger, Nashville 24 14 6 34 Jeff Houser, Nashville 24 14 5 33 Digital Takawira, Milwaukee 20 13 4 30 Kevin Jeffrey, Richmond 24 11 7 29 Leighton O'Brien, Seattle 21 11 7 29 Mark Baena, Portland 24 13 3 29 Iggy Moleka, Atlanta 19 12 1 25 Luis Macias, El Paso 23 12 1 25 Chugger Adair, San Diego 22 10 5 25 Jason Jordan, Vancouver 18 9 7 25 Rodrigo Costa, Indiana 21 11 3 25 Mark Rowland, El Paso 26 7 10 24 Josh Henderson, Richmond 21 10 3 23 Goalkeeping Leaders: (Min 1171 minutes) GP MIN GA GAA Jon Busch, Hershey 25 2246 16 0.60 Scott Vallow, Rochester 18 1668 18 0.97 Didar Sandhu, Vancouver 22 1987 24 1.09 John Swallen, Minnesota 21 1902 24 1.14 Dusty Hudock, Charleston 25 2333 31 1.20 Mike McGinty, Richmond 22 2089 29 1.21 Randy Dendi, Pittsburgh 23 2150 31 1.30 Greg Sutton, Montreal 17 1594 23 1.30 Biff Andrecki, Roch/Atl. 15 1315 19 1.30 Matt Napoleon, Portland 26 2413 35 1.31 A-League Award Winners: Most Valuable Player: Paul Conway, Charleston Battery Goalkeeper of the Year: Jon Busch, Hershey Wildcats Defender of the Year: Rick Titus, Vancouver Whitecaps Rookie of the Year: Robbie Aristidemo, Toronto Lynx Coach of the Year: Dale Mitchell, Vancouver Whitecaps All A-League Team: G - John Busch, Hershey Wildcats D - Scott Schweitzer, Rochester Ragin' Rhinos D - Rick Titus, Vancouver Whitecaps D - Gilbert Jean-Baptiste, Charleston Battery M - Philip Godoy, Milwaukee Rampage M - Stoian Mledenov, Rochester Ragin' Rhinos M - Leighton O'Brien, Seattle Sounders M - Stoian Mladenov, Minnesota Thunder M - Temoc Suarez, Connecticut Wolves F - Paul Conway, Charleston Battery F - Kevin Jeffrey, Richmond Kickers F - Dustin Swinehart, Charlotte Eagles
The D3Pro League lost several teams to financial woes and relegation, but added new clubs in Utah, Greenville SC and Northern Nevada as well as the Boston Bulldogs who were relegated from the A-League. Overall, the circuit was down from 22 to 17 clubs. Teams had increased difficulty in maintaining payrolls, and sought economic relief by relegating down to the PDL to enjoy the amateur status and ability to sign college players.
The Bulldogs easily took the Northern Division crown, besting the always strong New Hampshire Phantoms and New Jersey Stallions. In the Southern Conference, Wilmington defeated the Carolina Dynamo in a close race for the divisional crown; last year’s winner, the Texas Rattlers having folded. In the West, the expansion Utah Blitzz won top honors easily, with the veteran Chico Rooks finishing a distant second.
As the top regular season team, Utah received a bye to the final four. Meanwhile, Boston shut out New Jersey, Greenville took it to overtime to eliminate Wilmington on penalty kicks and Stanislaus United defeated Chicago 2-1. Greenville’s juggernaut continued as they dispatched Boston 2-1 (OT) in the semis, while Stanislaus’s run was ended by the Utah Blitz, 3-0. Amazingly enough, the championship match featured two expansion clubs, and was a close game, with Utah finally pulling it out over Greenville 1-0. The D3Pro League looked to acquire at least two more franchises taking the relegation route down from the A-League. Attendance was down somewhat, to 176,893, due to loss of franchises, but average attendance rose substantially to 1,072 fans per game.
Final 2001 D3-Pro League Standings Boston was relegated from the A-League. Northern Nevada, Utah and Greenville were added. GP W D L GF GA BP Pts Northern Conference Boston Bulldogs 18 10 2 6 41 27 8 50 New Hampshire Phantoms 18 8 2 8 35 31 7 41 New Jersey Stallions 18 9 2 7 26 25 3 41 Reading Rage 18 8 2 8 32 33 5 39 Rhode Island Stingrays 18 8 1 9 34 39 5 38 South Jersey Barons 18 6 1 11 35 42 5 30 Western Mass. Pioneers 18 6 1 11 29 36 4 29 Southern Conference Wilmington Hammerheads 17 11 0 6 39 23 6 50 Carolina Dynamo 18 9 3 6 29 20 5 44 Greenville Lions 18 5 3 10 25 31 4 27 Northern Virginia Royals 17 1 0 16 9 63 0 4 Western Conference Utah Blitzz 18 14 1 3 59 22 11 68 Chico Rooks 18 11 1 6 43 25 7 52 Stanislaus United Cruisers 18 10 1 7 32 31 4 45 Arizona Sahuaros 18 5 2 11 25 39 4 26 Tucson Fireballs 18 5 0 13 40 64 5 25 Northern Nevada Aces 18 4 1 14 24 55 3 20 Conference Semi-Finals: Boston defeated Reading, 6-0 New Jersey defeated New Hampshire 4-2 Greenville defeated Carolina 2-1 Stanlslaus defeated Arizona 2-1 Chico defeated Tucson 5-1 Conference Finals: Boston defeated New Jersey 2-0 Greenville defeated Wilmington 3-3 (4-3 PK) Stanislaus United defeated Chicago 2-1 Semifinals: Greeneville defeated Boston 2-1 (OT) Utah defeated Stanislaus United 3-0 CHAMPIONSHIP: Utah defeated Greenville 1-0 After the season, Chico was relegated to the PDL. Tucson folded. Boston withdrew for 1 season. Top Scorers: GP G A Pts Mark Manganello, Rhode Island 18 17 10 44 Fadi Afash, Utah 16 19 4 42 Ronald Murphy, New Hampshire 17 15 3 33 Manuel Brasil, Stanislaus 17 15 3 33 David Compton, Tucson 15 14 5 33 Teofilo Cubillas, Wilmington 12 13 3 29 Kevin Noleen, Utah 16 9 10 28 Manuel Coelho-Neto, Arizona 15 12 2 26 Bjorn Hansen, Rhode Island 11 8 5 21 William (BJ) McNicol, Utah 17 5 11 21 Brandon Kaplan, Chico 18 8 4 20 Jorge Estrada, Utah 18 8 4 20 Sullivan Phillips, Boston 18 7 5 19 James Proctor, Boston 16 6 4 16 Joe Munoz, Chico 15 3 10 16 Leading Goalkeepers: (Min 900 minutes) GP Min G GAA Walter Valesky, Wilmington 16 1231 15 1.10 Jonathan Lowery, Carolina 15 1377 19 1.24 Michael Littman, Utah 14 1279 18 1.27 Joseph (J.J.) Wozniak, Stanislaus 15 1383 20 1.30 Brandon Hearron, Chico 18 1635 25 1.38 Chris Hamblin, Boston 17 1538 24 1.40 Trace Hollis, New Hampshire 17 1574 27 1.54 Babou Gaye, Rhode Island 13 1190 23 1.74 Mark Wilson, Arizona 13 1216 25 1.85 Steve Widdowson, Reading 17 1458 31 1.91 Most Valuable Player: Fadi Afash, Utah Blitzz Goalkeeper of the Year: J. J. Woziak, Stanislaus County Cruisers Defender of the Year: Luciano Faccilongo Rookie of the Year: Manuel Brasil, Stanislaus County Cruisers Coach of the Year: Steve Nicol, Boston Bulldogs
The Premier League grew from 41 to 44 teams this season through the usual mix of relegation from D3Pro, teams folding and new franchises being added. On the field, we were beginning to see some consistency, with Westchester Flames repeating as division champs in the Northeast, ditto for the West Michigan Edge in the Great Lakes Division.
In the eastern reaches, expansion clubs ruled, as the Denver Cougars, Orange County Blue Star and Calgary Storm took divisional honors. Calgary was expected to do well; they are expected to move to the A-League and eventually a new Canadian league in the planning stages. The Chicago Fire Reserves, the new MLS reserve squad also did well, going 15-1-4 to win the Heartland Division.
Two of these new clubs made major runs in the playoffs (early round results not currently available). In the semifinals, Westchester defeated Sioux Falls 5-1 and Calgary defeated Des Moines 2-1. Sioux Falls bested Des Moines for the third place, and Westchester defeated Calgary 3-1 for the league title. Attendance continued to climb, reaching 177,091, or 391 fans per game. Although the other leagues in USL were struggling, the PDL was beginning to show greater signs of stability and financial viability.
Most Valuable Player: Fernando Salazar, San Fernando Valley Heroes Top Scorer: Arshak Abyanli, San Fernando Valley Heroes (18 GP, 18 G, 15 A, 51 Pts) Goalkeeper of the Year: Adam Throop, Chicago Sockers (0.73 GAA, 990 min, 11 GP) Defender of the Year: Nate Nelson, Yakima Reds Rookie of the Year: Ryan Trout, Kalamazoo Kingdom Coach of the Year: Bret Hall, Chicago Fire Reserves
The major event affecting the W-League this year was the advent of the Women’s United Soccer Association. The most immediate results were the loss of franchises in Atlanta and Raleigh, displaced by WUSA clubs, as well as the loss more than 60 of the league’s top players. Despite this, the league was not seriously affected, and began to reorient its approach to one of serving as a farm system for the new senior league. Several teams were added as the league returned to the west coast for the first time since 1997. Attendance grew significantly this season, up to 144,356, or 637 per game
The W-1 Division, now reconfigured to three conferences, saw a battle between the Boston Renegades, Long Island Lady Riders and Toronto Inferno. Long Island finished the season tied with Toronto at 51 points, taking the title based on wins. Maryland improved upon last year’s 9-4-1 record to finish at 12-0-1 to take the Eastern title, and the expansion Vancouver Breakers swamped their opposition to take the West by a 5 game margin. The Breakers continued their run in the final four, shutting out Hampton Roads, while Boston shut out Maryland 3-0 to set up a bi-coastal championship match, which was easily won by the Boston Renegades, who defeated Vancouver 5-1.
In the W-2 Division, Charlotte Lady Eagles took the Eastern title, the Cincinnati Ladyhawks took the Central and expansion Memphis Mercury took the west. Charlotte and Memphis prevailed in the semifinals, with Charlotte defeating Memphis 3-1 for the W-2 title.
After the season, the W-League eliminated the W-1 and W-2 divisional designations, with the teams to be incorporated into a new unified divisional structure for the 2002 season.
Chicago was relegated to W-2. Mile High Mustangs, Portland, Seattle, Arizona, Vancouver and Texas were added. New York and Springfield were promoted from W-2. GP W D L GF GA BP Pts Northern Conference Long Island Lady Riders 14 11 1 2 36 11 6 51 Toronto Inferno 15 10 2 3 42 19 9 51 Boston Renegades 15 10 3 2 44 12 6 49 Springfield Sirens 14 9 2 3 33 14 5 43 Ottawa Fury 14 5 3 6 21 17 2 25 Laval Dynamites 14 3 1 10 22 32 5 18 New York Magic 14 2 2 10 21 36 3 13 Rochester Ravens 14 0 0 14 1 83 0 0 Eastern Conference Maryland Pride 13 12 1 0 30 11 6 55 Hampton Road Piranhas 14 10 2 2 38 9 7 49 New Jersey Lady Stallions 14 5 0 9 19 26 3 23 Jacksonville Jade 14 5 1 8 19 30 2 23 Tampa Bay Extreme 13 4 2 7 19 21 2 20 Western Conference Vancouver Breakers 14 12 1 1 39 9 7 56 Texas Odyssey 14 7 1 6 34 21 5 34 Seattle Sounders Select Wmn 15 7 4 4 19 18 2 34 Fort Collins Force 14 6 1 7 20 25 3 28 Mile High Mustangs 14 5 3 6 23 22 4 27 Arizona Heatwave 14 5 0 9 18 30 3 23 Portland Rain 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Conference Semi-Finals: Boston defeated Toronto 4-1 Long Island defeated Springfield 2-1 Conference Finals: Boston defeated Long Island 3-1 Maryland defeated Tampa Bay 2-0 Vancouver defeated Texas 3-0 Semifinals: Boston defeated Maryland 3-0 Vancouver defeated Hampton Roads 1-0 CHAMPIONSHIP: Boston defeated Vancouver 5-1. After the season, Springfield went on hiatus. Laval and Portland folded. Leading Scorers (W-1): GP G A Pts Tina Blaskovic, Toronto 13 15 3 33 Nbelle Meeke, New York 13 12 2 26 Minna Mustonen, Boston 11 9 5 23 Kelly Golebiowski, Hampton Roads 6 7 4 18 Janice Armstrong, Mile High 14 7 4 18 Sandra Ross, Jacksonville 13 8 1 17 Alexa Borisjuk, Boston 15 7 3 17 Hege Lauvik, Springfield 15 7 3 17 Melissa McBean, Springfield 15 7 3 17 Jackie Mynarski, Maryland 12 7 2 16 Rachel Leduc, Springfield 14 7 2 16 Erin O'Grady, Boston 12 6 4 16 Robyn Brady, Toronto 12 4 8 16 Leading Goalkeepers (W-1): (Min 650 minutes) GP MIN GA GAA Michelle Gademans, Vancouver 8 720 4 0.50 Angela Harrison, Boston 14 1267 9 0.64 Kathy Hoverman, Hampton Roads 10 765 7 0.82 Jodi Yerya, Long Island 7 650 6 0.83 Lindsey Jorgensen, Seattle 12 1163 11 0.85 Ali Wolff, Maryland 8 695 7 0.91 Whitney Peterson, Mile High 10 975 11 1.02 Julie Podhreski, Springfield 13 1215 14 1.04 Relisande Blais, Laval 7 654 8 1.10 Tania Singfield, Ottawa 11 1082 14 1.16 W-1 Award Winners: Most Valuable Player: Tina Blaskovic, Toronto Inferno Goalkeeper of the Year: Angela Harrison, Boston Renegades Rookie of the Year: Kelly Golebiowski, Hampton Roads Piranhas Defender of the Year: Josha Krueger, Boston Renegades Coach of the Year: Peter Bradley, Boston
On the youth front, the Super Y-League expanded to finally cover the entire nation. Nine regional leagues consisting of 8-12 teams covered all regions of the country at the U-14, U-16 and U-18 levels, and a U-18 women’s division was launched. Growing the Super Y-League was a difficult task during the early years, due partly to resistance from state associations. Originally the vision was for the Super Y-League to be the US Youth Soccer’s national competitive league. That didn’t happen due to the US Youth Soccer’s delegation of power to state associations who objected to the lack of restrictions on recruitment, foreign players, competition at multiple age levels and rosters expandable to 26 players (to ease scheduling conflicts). Instead, the Super Y-League is affiliated directly with the USSF. Some regional associations worried that the Super Y-League would take players away from ODP. It’s possible that some clubs did not want to join for fear they would be shown to be not as good as they thought they were. The league started slowly, but now in its third season, and expanding rapidly. Ultimately, it will have 12 divisions at U-14, U-16 and U-18 levels, with five to ten thousand players involved, ideally the top 1% of youth players in the country. And this year, MLS got involved, with D. C. United fielding a U-14 team in the Middle Atlantic Division. Champions: U-18 Boys – Boston Bulldogs; U-18 Girls – Northern Virginia Majestics; U-16 Boys – FC Delco; U-14 Boys – D. C. United.
National Professional Soccer League
The NPSL entered its 17th season with a new look; Montreal withdrew to focus entirely on outdoor soccer in the A-League. The teams were consolidated into two divisions and season was reduced to 40 games. This reflected the steady shrinkage of the league which was beginning to suffer severe financial difficulties. Nevertheless, the NPSL maintained its presence in eastern Canada with the addition of the Toronto Thunderhawks. This was the first season under the new commissioner, Steve Ryan, who succeeded the long serving Steven Paxos. Early in the season, Brian Tinnion returned to the reins at Detroit where he had previously coached, after a stint at Eastern Michigan. Gary Hindley took the reins at expansion Toronto.
The season saw some exciting divisional races, marred somewhat by the demise of the Edmonton Drillers early in the season. The American (eastern) Conference saw some major power shifts as Cleveland fell to the cellar. Harrisburg and Buffalo surged ahead to challenge Baltimore for the top spot, with Harrisburg prevailing by two games. The National (Western) Conference saw the defending champions, the Milwaukee Wave, continue their winning ways, as they easily won their division three points ahead of the surprising expansion Toronto Thunderhawks.
In the playoffs, Philadelphia upset the eastern champs Harrisburg, while Baltimore prevailed in the battle of the middling teams. In the West, the top teams advanced, with Milwaukee and Toronto defeating Kansas City and Wichita respectively. In the conference finals, one Cinderella season ended and another continued. Toronto’s expansion run was stopped at the hands of Milwaukee, who triumphed 18-14 and 24-17. Meanwhile, upstart Philadelphia defeated Baltimore 19-23, 12-8 and 16-15. In the championship series, the Milwaukee Wave won their second consecutive league title, defeating Philadelphia 16-12, 9-8 and 10-8. Not a bad run for Philly though, as they made their first trip to the finals.
The financial losses and other factors finally proved insurmountable for the NPSL to overcome, at least the way the league was structured, and so in August of 2001, the board of directors made the momentous decision to fold the league. They immediately established a new league, the Major Indoor Soccer League (the second to bear this name). Taking the cue from the MLS, and cognizant of franchise losses, they established the league as a single-entity operation, modeled after Major League Soccer. Eight of the former NPSL teams immediately joined, although Toronto and Detroit announced they would sit out the 2001-2002 season to regroup. This marked an unfortunate ending to one of the longest running soccer leagues in US history, but rising from the ashes was a new league that would be stronger in terms of organization and ability to survive in the current sports environment. In late December the new MISL reached a merger agreement with the ailing WISL in which it absorbed the smaller league and incorporated at least three of its teams, and leaving the US with only one outdoor league for the first time since 1983.
Final NPSL 2000-2001 Standings Before the season, Toronto was added. GP W L PCT GB GF GA American Conference Harrisburg Heat 40 24 16 .600 --- 556 552 Buffalo Blizzard 40 22 18 .550 2.0 513 464 Baltimore Blast 40 22 18 .550 2.0 591 529 Philadelphia Kixx 40 22 18 .550 2.0 542 449 Cleveland Crunch 40 18 22 .450 6.0 542 617 National Conference Milwaukee Wave 40 24 16 .600 --- 544 452 Toronto Thunderhawks 40 21 19 .525 3.0 574 556 Wichita Wings 39 18 21 .462 5.5 516 533 Kansas City Attack 40 14 26 .350 10.0 526 637 Detroit Rockers 40 13 27 .325 11.0 469 579 Edmonton Drillers 9 6 3 .667 --- 120 135 Conference Semifinals: Philadelphia Kixx defeated Harrisburg Heat 21-19 (OT), 14-19. Baltimore Blast defeated Buffalo Blizzard 9-8, 18-13. Milwaukee Wave defeated Kansas City Attack 22-7, 2-12, 22-17. Toronto defeated Wichita 14-8, 7-17, 16-12. Conference Finals: Philadelphia defeated Baltimore 19-23, 12-8, 16-15. Milwaukee defeated Toronto 18-14, 24-17. CHAMPIONSHIP: Milwaukee defeated Philadelphia 16-12, 9-8, 10-8. Edmonton folded during the season. During late August, the NPSL was restructured to become the MISL II. The Buffalo Blizzard and the Wichita Wings folded. Leading scorers: TEAM GP 3PG 2PG 1PG AST POINTS Marinaro, Hector CLE 34 6 45 12 41 161 DiFlorio, Gino HAR 35 2 39 10 48 142 Delevski, Dino WCH 39 13 41 3 15 139 Cabral, Denison BAL 35 3 43 24 15 134 Reiniger, Joe MIL 29 15 23 13 30 134 Bascome, David HAR 40 9 32 12 25 128 Mobilio, Domenic DET 39 1 43 15 19 123 Lilavois, Bernie HAR 39 0 39 5 36 119 Vignjevic, Nikola CLE 41 5 19 24 41 118 Simas, Clovis KCY 37 0 38 18 24 118 Miller, Doug BUF 35 2 40 5 27 118 D'Ambra, Don PHL 38 2 44 0 21 115 Biello, Mauro TOR 39 7 23 14 27 108 Sloan, Kevin PHL 38 5 33 6 20 107 Hunjak, Goran PHL 34 2 35 3 27 106 Oliverio, Giuliano TOR 40 2 30 2 38 106 Nash, Martin DET 33 13 25 0 17 106 DaSilva, Nino KCY 37 3 29 6 33 106 Wright, Paul BAL 40 3 25 0 44 103 Cloutier, Braeden WCH 37 7 20 5 37 103 Leading Goalkeepers: (min. 1140 minutes) TEAM GPI MIN SF SV 3PG 2PG 1PG PTS W L AVG Nogueira, Victor MIL 34 1942:58 596 438 13 132 13 316 21 11 9.76 Pappas, Peter PHL 38 2145:08 702 508 18 148 28 378 22 15 10.57 Finnerty, Bryan BUF 39 2318:50 763 539 16 188 20 444 22 17 11.49 Hileman, Scott BAL 38 2227:47 786 561 31 168 26 455 21 17 12.25 Larkin, Jim WCH 29 1684:48 632 455 18 144 15 357 15 13 12.71 Ceccarelli, Paolo TOR 27 1588:04 650 483 24 122 21 337 16 11 12.73 Damico, Chris WCH 20 1039:02 390 275 7 92 16 221 9 8 12.76 Petras, Doug HAR 38 2175:30 927 683 13 213 18 483 23 14 13.32 Westcoat, Warren KCY 30 1639:55 686 494 25 151 16 393 11 16 14.38 Orf, Otto CLE 30 1740:10 756 536 19 177 24 435 13 15 15.00 NPSL All-Star Game: American Conference defeated National Conference 19-18 on February 14, 2001 in Buffalo, NY. Scorers: National- Dino Delevski & Braeden Cloutier (combined for 14 pts), Giuliano Oliviero, Reininger. American - Gino DiFlorio (5 pts), David Bascome (4 pts), Domenic Mobilio, John Ball (5 pts), Hector Marinaro (2 pts), Tarik Walker. MVP: John Ball. Most Valuable Player: Hector Marinaro, Cleveland Crunch Goalkeeper of the Year: Peter Pappas, Philadelphia Kixx; Victor Noguiera, Milwaukee Wave Coach of the Year: Keith Tozer, Milwaukee Wave Defender of the Year: James Dunn, Wichita Wings Rookie of the Year: Clovia Simas, Kansas City Attack First All-NPSL Team: G - Victor Noguiera, Milwaukee Wave D - Omid Namazi, Philadelphia Kixx D - Glenn Carbonara, Harrisburg Heat F - Hector Marinaro, Cleveland Crunch F - Gino DiFlorio, Harrisburg Heat F - David Bascomb, Harrisburg Heat
The WISL, having lost two clubs due to lack of acceptable arenas, soldiered forward with five clubs. The new San Diego Sockers adopted the name of their long-lived predecessor, and immediately took on their winning ways as well, winning the regular season in a nail biter; they tied with Dallas, but won on basis of goals scored. These two teams easily won their semifinal playoff matches, and Dallas split the Championship series 6-3 and 4-5 before winning the mini-game 2-1 to take the Championship. Attendance rose to 341,067 total, from 4,838 per game in 2000 to 5,685 in 2001. At the end of the season, the WISL was absorbed by the MISL which took in San Diego, Dallas and St. Louis.
Final WISL Standings, 2001 Monterrey, Houston and Arizona went on hiatus for one season. Before the season, San Diego was added. G W L PCT. GF GA San Diego Sockers 24 14 10 .583 133 114 Dallas Sidekicks 24 14 10 .583 109 108 St. Louis Steamers 24 11 13 .458 122 132 Sacramento Knights 24 11 13 .458 123 125 Utah Freezz 24 10 14 .417 113 121 Semifinals: San Diego defeated St. Louis 7-5, 1-0, 4-0 Dallas defeated Sacramento 2-1, 5-4 CHAMPIONSHIP: Dallas defeated San Diego 6-3, 4-5, 2-1 (MG) After the season, the league was absorbed by the MISL. San Diego, Dallas and St. Louis joined the new league. Scoring Leaders: GP G A Pts Ato Leone, Sacramento 22 25 17 42 Carlos Faria, San Diego 23 21 16 37 Tatu, Dallas 24 13 26 39 David Doyle, Dallas 24 22 14 36 Daryl Doran, St. Louis 24 24 11 35 Chris McDonald, Sacramento 24 19 14 33 Justin Labrum, Utah 24 22 9 31 Mariano Bollella, San Diego 21 12 17 29 Jeff Betts, Utah 22 11 17 28 Beau Brown, Utah 24 8 19 27 Sterling Westcott, Utah 17 17 10 27 Antonio Sutton, Sacramento 22 20 6 26 Mark Moser, St. Louis 19 20 6 26 Marco Coria, Dallas 23 13 12 25 Lee Edgerton, Sacramento 16 17 8 25 Leading Goalkeepers: (Min 1000 minutes) GP Min SHT SV GA W L GAA Sagu (Edilson Xavier), Dallas 20 1,080 480 273 76 11 8 3.86 Deszo Horvath, San Diego 21 1,259 588 317 90 13 8 4.29 Nick Vorberg, Utah 24 1,435 720 419 115 10 14 4.81 Juan De La O, Sacramento 20 1,182 529 236 99 10 10 5.03 Brett Phillips, St. Louis 20 1,192 678 373 105 8 12 5.28 Most Valuable Player: Ato Leone, Sacramento Knights Goalkeeper of the Year: Sagu (Edilson Xavier), Dallas Coach of the Year: Iain Fraser, Sacramento Knights Defender of the Year: Iain Fraser, Sacramento Knights Rookie of the Year: David Beltran, San Diego Sockers All-WISL First Team: G - Sagu (Edilson Xavier), Dallas D - Ian Fraser, Sacramento D - Jeff Davis, St. Louis M - Mariano Bollella, San Diego F - Ato Leone, Sacramento F - Carlos Farias, San Diego
Heading into the Hexagonal, Bruce Arena’s team was looking to qualify for their fourth consecutive World Cup. The training regimen had come a long way from the haphazard teams of yore. Nowadays, the team would be assembled nearly a week before game time and include a comprehensive program of training, meetings, as players got to know each other, build up skills, and Arena would counsel players, determine positions and starters, and they would all do extensive research on their upcoming opponents.
The Men’s team geared up for the Hexagonal with several friendlies, with the first against China at Oakland Coliseum. The main purpose was to give more experience to players (many from MLS) who did not have much recent national team experience. Against China on January 27th, the US played a middling game, with a 2-1 victory they really didn’t earn. Despite the win, the team was still feeling their oats despite an impressive performance by Jeff Agoos and Landon Donovan who was showing his success was no fluke. This series was followed by a lackluster 1-0 shutout loss to Colombia in a Miami Feb. 3 friendly.
World Cup qualifying entered its final round, the Hexagonal, on February 28. But the schedule would be challenging for the Americans. Overall, all the participants (except Mexico) were stronger than four years previous. The schedule would mix long breaks with multi-game weeks. And all ten US matches would alternate between home and away matches. This time, Coach Arena made a point of relying more fully on players who were currently in season; hence the early games would be dominated by European based players, with more MLS influence coming in summer. In recent games the Nats had been fairly strong on the defensive; Arena made a priority on developing a more powerful offense. Because many of his players were already occupied with their European seasons, Arena would be forced to make generous use of his large player pool.
The USA’s first game was a critical one, against Mexico, the regional power who was currently in the middle of an unprecedented stretch of poor performances brought on by injuries and lack of confidence. Taking no chances, the home game was played in Columbus, Ohio, on February 28, where the pro-US crowd and winter weather would not be hospitable to the visitors. The climate did not disappoint. A cold and dry day, as well as 24,624 raucous fans greeted the Mexicans. The US laid out a four back formation, which while not exciting, effectively shut down Mexico’s offense; they didn’t get their first shot on goal until the 40th minute, and Brad Friedel only made four saves. On the downside, four players were injured during the game – McBride, Reyna, Sanneh and Moore. The injuries would haunt the team throughout the Hexagonal. Josh Wolff and Clint Mathis shone as subs, with Wolff scoring in the 47th minute on a finesse play by the goalie with an empty goal beckoning. He assisted on Earnie Stewart’s goal in the 87th, which put away the game for a 2-0 shutout. The team was in action a week later, losing to Brazil 2-1 in a friendly at Pasadena.
The Nats traveled to San Pedro Sula, Honduras for their next match on March 28. They weren’t intimidated by the home crowd, or Carlos Pavon, their top scorer, who hardly saw the ball in the Americans’ 2-1 victory. The US opened scoring in the 31st minute as Earnie Stewart’s 35 yard shot was deflected into the goal. Honduras responded in the 59th, and the teams settled into a war of attrition, but Clint Mathis took a 22 yard free kick over the wall into the low left corner to clinch the win. The nice thing about these two victories is that six of the leading players in this match began their pro careers in MLS, which was making its impact felt in a substantial and positive way. And MLS 2001 hadn’t even started yet. The juggernaut continued on April 25 as the Nats shut out Costa Rica at Kansas City.
At this point, the US had a five point lead atop the standings. Mexico was getting off to a troubled start, at 1-1-1, as their woes continued. The US took a break in June to battle Ecuador to a scoreless draw in a friendly, but with many of their veteran stars busy in MLS, the result was far from disappointing. They followed this with a 0-0 draw with Jamaica in the fearsome heat of Kingston. They followed this with a 2-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago at Foxboro, where they have never lost a game. They US’s impressive performance was made possible by a smart and effective offense as well as a tenacious defense which adjusted to confront the different attacks that opponents threw at them. However, the US was still letting in too many shots to the goal, and eventually that would result in scores.
Fortunes turned quickly for the Americans, as the depleted squad landed in Mexico City and suffered a 1-0 loss at the hands of a desperate Mexican squad at famed Azteca stadium. Hobbled by injuries to Mathis, and other top young stars, the team lost focus and mounted an almost imaginary offense. Although the defense was tough, the US simply couldn’t maintain possession and 1 goal was all that was needed.
Then the true shocker: The US lost to Honduras at home in a 3-2 score that did not reflect the quality of performance. The team simply couldn’t get together and was thoroughly outplayed as they suffered their first home qualifier loss since 1985. This was followed by a third loss, this time 0-2 to Costa Rica. Although this was an away game at one of the toughest venues in North America, the US was facing for the first time possible elimination, making the final two games critical. However, three points was all that was needed to ensure qualification, and the toughest games were behind them.
The US squared off against Jamaica at Foxboro Stadium on October 7, and immediately asserted control. With a healthy Claudio Reyna back in action, as well as a rejuvenated John O’Brien. Their presence showed as the team controlled the ball better than they since the start of the Hexagonal. Four minutes in, Reyna placed a free kick into Joe-Max Moore’s run near the post, and Moore headed it into the far side of the goal. With O’Brien flanking the central triangle of Reyna, Armas and Stewart, the team had overcome their “balance of passers and midfield workers”, and was better able to exploit the players’ natural strengths. Jamaica evened the score in the 14th, but the US maintained control, albeit with mounting missed opportunities. Finally, in the 81st minute, Moore was awarded a penalty kick after Jamaica’s Tyrone Marshall cleared out Donovan’s legs on a reckless tackle. Moore landed the shot in goal, and the US took a 2-1 victory. After regaling the fans, the players huddled to await the result of the other two qualifying games that were nearing conclusion. Finally the results were relayed via cell phone to the stadium announcer: Trinidad had defeated Honduras 0, and Costa Rica and Mexico drew. The US was in their fourth consecutive World Cup.
The final qualifying game was an anticlimax. On November 7, the US played to a scoreless tie with Trinidad & Tobago. Although this dropped the US to third place in the Hexagonal, no one was complaining too much.
The World Cup Draw, held in Early December, was kinder to the US than in 1998. The Nats were placed with Poland, Portugal and host South Korea in Group C. Although challenging, this placement was not as tough as their placing four years previous, and the US avoided the dreaded “group of death”. The National Team finished their year shortly thereafter, with a friendly against one of those opponents, South Korea, who beat them 1-0. This was an all-MLS lineup, and Brian McBride and Josh Wolff were sill making up for time lost to injuries, but clearly the team needed a lot of practice work in the spring if they were to make an impressive showing in Korea.
Women’s National Team
The US Women’s National Team entered a new era. With the advent of the Women’s United Soccer Association providing a professional outlet for the top American (and world) players, the National team cut back considerably on its playing schedule with virtually no games during the WUSA season. WUSA would interfere with playing time, but it would also provide a number of scouting opportunities. For the time being, coach Heinrichs would give her younger players time to prove themselves while resting most of the veterans. Heinrichs also introduced a new coaching staff, with U-16 coach Tracey Leone and Santa Clara goal coach Eric Yamamoto replacing John Ellis and David Vanole (who went to the Washington Freedom). The U-19 team had a new event to look forward to: The inauguration of the U-19 Women’s World Championships, to take place in 2002. The 2001 campaign was highlighted by the U-21’s third consecutive championship in the Nordic Cup, defeating Sweden 6-1 in the most lopsided final in the Cup’s 11 year history.
The team began with a January trip to China where they drew with China 1-1 before 30,000 with the US goal scored by Lalor. To gear up for the Algarve Cup, they played Italy, losing to them 0-1. By now the team was facing some significant struggles. A number of the long time players had retired from the national team, others were in training camp preparing for the advent of WUSA, and many of the younger players were still getting their stride. The results showed at Algarve where the US had their worst showing ever. However, the team was hardly at full strength, consisting mainly of U-21 players, including NCAA MVP Meredith Florance of North Carolina, and her college teammate Jena Kluegel. Despite the poor performance, three players stood out: BYU’s freshman midfielder Aleisha Cramer, North Carolina’s freshman defender Catherine Reddick, and Kluegel.
The first game on March 11 was a disaster with the US being shut out 3-0 by Canada, not one of the superpowers. Two days later, they recovered, shutting out Portugal 2-0 on goals by Welsh and Rigamat. They were brought back to earth in their next game, falling to Sweden 2-0. This sent the US to the fifth place match against Norway. The US dominated the first half, hitting the scoreboard with a goal by Marquand in the 24th minute. They extended the lead a minute into the 2nd half courtesy of Scott, and Catherine Reddick scored the third goal in the 56th. But it was all Norway from that point on as they scored four unanswered goals to take 5th place 4-3. One could argue about the lack of top-line players, but this did make clear that the next generation of players had much to learn, and the world was continuing to catch up to the Americans.
After the Algarve Cup, the national team went mostly into hibernation, since most of their top players were now busy with WUSA. The Independence Day series consisted of two games against Canada. On June 30, they played Canada to a 2-2 draw, followed by a 1-0 win on July 3, ending their four game winless streak against Canada. The only other action was in September. During the first leg of the USA Cup on September 9, the United States trounced Germany 4-1 off goals by Parlow, Milbrett and a pair from Mia Hamm. In the wake of September 11, the remainder of the competition was cancelled.
The U-20’s started practicing in late December in Guadalajara, Mexico, and by February’s camp, had played three games against Mexican opponents. Qualifying for the Cup began in March. Eleven of the players were veterans from the U-17’s amazing run in the 1999 World Championship squad. Eight veterans of the U-17 world championships were on the roster as well as a couple MLS players. The U-17 squad had already struggled in the transition to the college game, which was more physical and quick-paced.
Coach Wolfgang Sunholz built the U-20 team around a core of eight players who led the U-17’s in their successful 1999 World Championship run. Besides Landon Donovan, this included forward Conor Casey, and Midfielders Bobby Convey, and DaMarcus Beasley. The team was captained by defender Nelson Akwari from UCLA.
The qualifying tournament started for the US on March 18 when they swamped Guatemala 5-0 at Tunapuna. From there they never looked back and grabbed a spot in Group C. But the finals in Argentina were a different matter. The US squad, although talented, had only played together once before as a team. This in addition to a stomach flu which took out half of the squad, made the tournament a real struggle. Goalie C. J. Countess performed magnificently during pool play, and Captain Nelson Akwai held the squad together during the flu outbreak.
The US opened their quest on June 17 in Mendoza, losing to China 0-1. But they rebounded quickly, defeating Chile 4-1 and drawing with Ukraine 1-1. The stars of the day included DaMarcus Beasley, Edson Buddle and Bobby Convey who put on a show in the Chile game, while Landon Donovan stayed in the shadows, bolstering the midfield in a thankless but needed role. All in all, not a bad performance, although the toll of college soccer was showing on some performances. Nevertheless, it was enough to advance the US beyond pool play as they finished 2nd in their group.
Alas, it all crashed to earth quickly for the Yanks. In the second round, the US was eliminated 2-0 by Egypt, who would go on to win the third place game against Paraguay. Argentina defeated Ghana 3-0 to take the title. It was simply a combination of too many injured players on the field, a lack of adequate training time, and the fast that this was by now a rather ordinary team, and not the second coming of the U-17’s of two years ago.
In the aftermath of their humiliating defeat, pundits began to highlight a perennial problem that has been griped about for years – the college game seriously erodes the skills of top players who are hamstrung by the stultified coaching and short seasons. This gave even more impetus to the USSF’s program of spotting and grabbing the top youth talent and sheparding it directly to the MLS and national teams.
The U-17 team entered the qualifying rounds with high aspirations, given their impressive performance at the 1999 Cup. This squad, while lacking the firepower of Landon Donovan and Conor Casey, was more balanced overall both offensively and defensively. The team was headed by forward Edward Johnson and Right Midfielder Santino Quaranta, who combined for 56 goals, nearly one third of the team total for 2000. They were supported by left midfielder Justin Mapp, forward Mike Magee, left back Jordan Harvey, defensive midfielder Jordan Stone, and attacking midfielder Craig Capano. Johnson and Quaranta had already been signed by MLS with Project 40.
The US cruised through qualifying at St. Louis in April, defeating Jamaica 2-1, Canada 4-2 and El Salvador 4-0. Johnson, Capano and Quaranta stood out as models of consistency. Alas, it all came to a swift and disappointing end in September as the Americans were defeated by Japan 1-0 and France 5-3, and Nigeria 2-0, and the team suffered a quick and humiliating exit. France ultimately won the Cup, defeating Nigeria 3-0 in early October. The team was widely thought to be deeper and more talented than the one that took 4th place in 1999. It was simply a case of too many mistakes and having to pay the price.
U. S. Open Cup
The MLS teams charged their way through a selection of A-League, D3Pro and PDL teams from USL to reach the quarterfinals. This was a great year for teams which had not done well in previous Open Cup competition. Only the A-League’s Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Richmond Kickers survived to represent USL. In the semifinals, the Los Angeles Galaxy needed penalty kicks to break a tie with the San Jose Earthquakes, while New England defeated Columbus 2-1. The A-League’s success ran out as Richmond fell 2-1 to D. C. United and Pittsburgh lost to the Chicago Fire 3-2.
In the semifinals, Los Angeles put an end to Chicago’s quest for a repeat, and the Revolution shut out D. C. United 2-1. New England had been ambivalent in previous years in its Open Cup participation, sitting out some years and playing at New Britain, CT in others. But this year, they finally played at Foxboro, drawing crowds. According to the procedures, the Revolution could have expected to play the final at home before a large crowd, but the match was held in California at Fullerton Stadium where a modest crowd of 4,195 saw the Los Angeles Galaxy defeat New England 2-1. Los Angeles nearly won the “double”, but fell in the MLS Cup to San Jose.
NY/NJ MetroStars to Portugal: February 17, 2001 through February 27, 2001. Results: 3 wins, 1 draw, 0 losses.
2/17/01 MetroStars 2, Fylkir (Iceland) 0 (at Albufeira) 2/21/01 MetroStars 3, Amika Wronski (Poland) 0 (at Albufeira) 2/23/01 MetroStars 1, Taejon FC (South Korea) 1 (at Setubal) 2/27/01 MetroStars 2, Benfica 0 (at Lisbon)
Kansas City Wizards to Portugal February 21, 2002 through March 1, 2001. Results: 3 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss.
2/21/01 Kansas City 1, Rio Maior 0 (at Lisbon) 2/23/01 Kansas City 5, S. C. Caldas 0 (at Caldas) 2/25/01 Kansas City 1, Taejon Citizen (South Korea) 1 (at Lisbon) 2/27/01 Kansas City 2, F. C. Belenses 3 (at Belen) 3/1/01 Kansas City 2, Benfica 0 (at Lisbon)
Colorado Rapids to Portugal) February 21, 2001 through March 1, 2001. Results: 3 wins, 0 draws, 0 losses.
2/21/01 Colorado 2, Athletico 0 (at Lisbon) 2/28/01 Colorado 1, Sporting Lisbon 0 (at Lisbon) 3/1/01 Colorado 1, Orientale 0 (at Braga)
Dallas Burn to Mexico: February 20, 2001 through February 28, 2001. Results: 1 win, 0 draws, 3 losses.
2/20/01 Dallas 1, Tapatillo 0 (at Guadalajara) 2/22/01 Dallas 0 Mexico U-20 National Team 3 (at Guadalajara) 2/27/01 Dallas 1, Bachilleres 3 (at Guadalajara) 2/28/01 Dallas 0 Tecos 1 (at Guadalajara)
New England Revolution to Asia: February 21, 2002 through February 25, 2002. Results: 1 win, 0 draws, 2 losses.
2/21/01 Los Angeles 3, China National Team 1 (at Yuxi, China) 2/23/01 Los Angeles 2, Tokyo Veridy 69 3 (at Tokyo) 2/25/01 Los Angeles 1, Urawa Red Diamonds (Japan) 2 (at Urawa, Japan)
Selected MLS International Exhibitions
(home teams listed first) 1/19/01 Tampa Bay Mutiny 2, Celtic Glasgow (Scotland) 2 1/20/01 Miami Fusion 1, Glasgow Rangers (Scotland) 4 3/24/01 Dallas Burn 2, Chivas (Mexico) 2 5/12/01 Miami Fusion 0, Fulham (England) 5 (at Homestead, FL) 5/17/01 Tampa Bay Mutiny 0, Fulham (England) 2 5/24/01 D. C. United 3, Bayer Leverkusen (Germany) 4 5/26/01 MetroStars 2, Bayern Munich (Germany) 0 5/29/01 Columbus Crew 4, Bayer Leverkusen (Germany) 3 8/7/01 Los Angeles Galaxy 2, Nexaca (Mexico) 2 11/17/01 D. C. United 2, DC Olimpia (Honduras) 2
The College Game
This year, the Men’s Division 1 tournament was finally expanded to 48 teams, and the women’s tournament was expanded to 64 teams. North Carolina was featured prominently in the College Cups this year. The women’s long streak of consecutive titles came to an end as Santa Clara bested them in an exciting game. But as a consolation, the men’s team won their first NCAA title.
NCAA Division I Men’s tournament: In the Quarterfinals, Indiana defeated Clemson 2-0, St. John’s defeated Southern Methodist 2-0, North Carolina defeated Farleigh-Dickinson 3-2 and Stanford defeated Saint Louis 1-0. Action moved to the College Cup venue at Columbus, OH. In the Semifinals, North Carolina defeated Stanford 3-2 after 4 overtime periods and Indiana defeated St. John’s 2-1 in double overtime. The final, held on December 16, saw North Carolina defeat Indiana 2-0 for the national title in front of 7,113 fans.
NCAA Division I Women’s tournament: In the Quarterfinals, North Carolina defeated Penn State 2-1, Santa Clara defeated Virginia 3-2, Portland defeated Texas A&M; 4-1, and Florida defeated UCLA 2-1 in double overtime. In the semifinals, North Carolina defeated Portland 2-1 and Santa Clara defeated Florida 3-2. In the Women’s College Cup, held at Dallas on December 9, Santa Clara defeated North Carolina 1-0 for the national title.
NCAA Division II Men’s tournament: In the quarterfinals, SIU-Edwardsville defeated Ashland 1-0, Cal State Dominguez Hills defeated West Texas A&M; 2-0, Dowling defeated Southern Connecticut 2-1, and Tampa defeated Lander 2-1. In the semifinals, Tampa defeated SIU-Edwardsville 2-1 in overtime, and Cal State Dominguez Hills defeated Dowling 1-0. The Championship was held in Tampa, FL on December 3, where Tampa defeated Cal State Dominguez Hills 2-1 for the National Title.
NCAA Division II Women’s tournament:In the Quarterfinals, Franklin Pierce defeated Lock Haven 1-0 in overtime, Christian Brothers swamped North Florida 7-1, UC San Diego defeated Immaculate Word 2-0, and Northern Kentucky defeated Truman State 2-0. In the semifinals, Christian Brothers defeated Franklin Pierce 4-1 and UC San Diego defeated Northern Kentucky 3-2. In the championship, held at San Diego, CA on December 2, UC San Diego shut out Christian Brothers 2-0 for the title.
NCAA Division III Men’s tournament:In the Quarterfinals, Messiah defeated Wheaton 2-1, Redlands defeated Luther 2-0, Ohio Weslayen defeated UNC-Greensboro 1-0 and Richard Stockton defeated St. Lawrence 1-0. In the semifinals, Redlands defeated Messiah 2-1 in overtime and Richard Stockton defeated Ohio Weslayen 0-0 (3-1 PK). In the final, held at Messiah on November 24, Richard Stockton defeated Redlands 3-2 for the Title.
NCAA Division III Women’s tournament:In the Quarterfinals, Wheaton defeated Scranton 1-0, Amherst defeated William Smith 1-0, Ohio Weslayen defeated College of New Jersey 1-0 and Willamette defeated Lynchburg 12-0. In the semifinals, Ohio Weslayen defeated Willamette 2-1 in overtime, and Amherst defeated Wheaton 1-0. In the Championship, held at Delaware, OH on November 17, Ohio Weslayen defeated Amherst 1-0 for the national title.
NAIA Men’s Champion: Lindley Wilson defeated Auburn Montgomery 4-0.
NAIA Women’s Champion: Westmount defeated Oklahoma City 1-0.
NJCAA Division I Men’s Championship: Bryant & Stratton Business Institute defeated Yavapai College 3-2.
NJCAA Division III Men’s Championship: MacComb C. C. defeated Herkimer County 1-1 (6-5 PK).
NJCAA Women’s Championship: Monroe C. C. defeated Dixie State College 1-0.
NCCAA Division 1 Championship: The Masters defeated Mid-Continent 2-0.
NCCAA Division 2 Championship: Moody Bible defeated Manhattan Christian 2-0.
NCCAA Women’s Championship: Gardner Webb defeated The Masters 1-0.
Final Men's Division 1 NSCAA Coaches' Poll: 1. North Carolina 2. Indiana 3. Stanford 4. St. John's 5. Southern Methodist 6. Saint Louis 7. Clemson 8. Penn State 9. Rutgers 10. Loyola Final Women's Division 1 NSCAA Coaches' Poll: 1. Santa Clara 2. North Carolina 3. Portland 4. Florida 5. UCLA 6. Penn State 7. Texas A&M; 8. Virginia 9. Stanford 10. Connecticut Men's Division 1 NSCAA All-Americans (1st team): G - Byron Foss, Southern Methodist D - Chris Gbandi, Connecticut D - Danny Jackson, North Carolina D - Lee Morrision, Stanford M - Luchi Gonzalez, Southern Methodist M - Kyle Martino, Virginia M - Diego Walsh, Southern Methodist F - Nicholas McCreath, Rhode Island F - Pat Noonan, Indiana F - John Barry Nusum, Furman F - Dipsy Selowane, Saint Louis Women's Division 1 NSCAA All-Americans (1st team): G - Dmily Oleksiuk, Penn State D - Danielle Borgman, North Carolina D - Danielle Slaton, Santa Clara D - Casey Zimny, Connecticut M - Joanna Lohman, Penn State M - Mary-Frances Monroe, UCLA M - Aly Wagner, Santa Clara F - Katie Barnes, West Virginia F - Christine Sinclair, Portland F - Abby Wambach, Florida F - Christie Welsh, Penn State Men's National Award Winners: Hermann Trophy: Luichi Gonzalez, Southern Methodist Missouri Athletic Club Award: Luichi Gonzalez, Southern Methodist NSCAA Coach of the Year (Division 1): Elmar Bolewich, North Carolina Women's National Award Winners: Hermann Trophy: Christie Welsh, Penn State Missouri Athletic Club Award: Christie Welch, Penn State NSCAA Coach of the Year: Jerry Smith, Santa Clara
Awards & Cups
US Open Cup Championship: Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) defeated New England Revolution (MLS) 2-1 on November 4, at Titan Stadium, Fullerton, Calif. before 4,195 fans.
USASA Women’s Open Cup Championship: Detroit Rocker Hawks defeated Southern California Blues, 1-0
National Amateur Cup Championship: Milwaukee Bavarians defeated Santa Clara Sporting Club 3-2.
2000 CONCACAF Champions’ Cup (Conclusion): The 2000 Champions Cup was finally decided in late January, at Fullerton, CA. In the quarterfinals (Jan. 16-17), Pachuca (Mexico) defeated Joe Public (Trinidad & Tobago) 1-0, Olimpia (Honduras) defeated Toluca (Mexico) 1-0, and Los Angeles Galaxy (USA) defeated Real Espana (Honduras) 0-0 (5-3 PK), and D. C. United defeated Alajuela (Costa Rica) 2-1. The semifinals, held in Los Abgeles January 19, saw Olimpia defeat Pachuca 4-0, and Los Angeles Galaxy defeated D. C. United 1-1 (4-2 PK). Pachuca defeated D. C. United 2-1 for 3rd place. On January 21, at Los Angeles, before 8,147 fans, Los Angeles Galaxy defeated Olimpia 3-2 before 8,147 to take the Cup. Ezra Hendrickson scored two and Cobi Jones scored 1 for the Galaxy. This would be the first part of the “triple” that the Galaxy would attempt to win this year.
CONCACAF Champions Cup 2001:The Kansas City Wizards and Chicago Fire qualified for the cup, and received a bye to the final round. During the second round, however, the tournament was cancelled, and all teams qualifying were awarded positions in the 2002 Champions Cup.
CONCACAF Giants Cup: Los Angeles Galaxy and D. C. United were invited to the tournament. The Galaxy declined. D. C. United and Columbus Crew received byes to the quarterfinals. There D. C. United defeated Arnett Gardens (Jamaica) 3-0 and 2-1 and Columbus Crew lost to Saprissa (Costa Rica) 0-2, 1-1. In the semifinals, D. C. United defeated Communicaciones (Guatemala) 2-1. America (Mexico) defeated D. C. United 2-0 in the final in front of 3,127 at LA Memorial Coliseum on August 5. D. C. United thereby qualifies for the 2003 Clubs Cup.
Copa Merconorte:: (September). Group B: MetroStars defeated Italchacao (Venezuela) 2-0, lost to Millionarios (Colombia) 1-2, Won by forfeit over Guadalajara (Mexico) 2-0, lost to Italchacao 1-2, lost to Millionarios 0-1, and won again over Guadalajara by forfeit 2-0. They finished 3-0-3. Group C: Kansas City Wizards lost to Sporting Cristal (Peru) 1-2, lost to Santos Laguna (Mexico), defeated Barcelona (Spain) 3-2, lost to Sporting Cristal (Peru) 1-2, drew with them 1-1, and lost to Santos Laguna (Mexico) 0-1. They finished 1-1-4. Neither team advanced. In the final, Millionarios (Colombia) defeated Emelec (Ecuador) 1-1, 1-1 (3-1 PK).The competition was discontinued after this one edition.
Confederations Cup: This “mini-cup”, consisting of the winners of the Continental federation cups, did not include the US. France defeated Japan 1-0 in the final which served as a dress rehearsal for the Big One. Well attended in both Japan and South Korea, the competition was a success overall.
FIFA Club World Championship: The Galaxy qualified for the second World Club Championships, but their hopes were dashed as the cup was cancelled in the wake of the collapse of ISL, which funded the event. The competition would have taken place July 30 – August 12, featuring 12 teams from the various confederations, including Palmeiras (Brazil), Boca Juniors (Argentina), Hearts of Oak (Ghana), Zamalek (Egypt), Jubilo Iwata (Japan), Al-Hilal (Saudi Arabia), Real Madrid (Spain), Galatasaray (Turkey), and Wollongong City Wolves (Australia). The Galaxy would have played Hearts of Oak, Real Madrid and Jubilo Iwata in the pool play. The U. S. could do no more than look forward to 2003.
Adidas Cup (U-19):USA defeated Finland 7-0, Japan 4-0 and the US Youth Soccer ODP All-Stars 3-0 in June at St. Louis.
SNICKERS CUP (National Youth Champions)
James P. McGuire Cup (US Youth Soccer Boys U-19): FC Delco Black (West Chester, PA)
Andy Stone Cup (US Youth Soccer Boys U-18): Texans 82/83 (Houston, TX)
Don Greer Cup (US Youth Soccer Boys U-17): Team Dayton (Dayton, OH)
D.J. Niotis Cup (US Youth Soccer Boys U-16): Sockers FC (Chicago, IL)
US Youth Soccer Boys U-15: FC Delco Dynamo (West Chester, PA)
US Youth Soccer Boys U-14: Potomac (MD) Cougars
J. Ross Stewart Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-19): Colorado Rush Nike (Lakewood, CO)
Frank Kelly Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-18): Michigan Hawks (Livonia, MI)
L. Moynihan Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-17): Bethesda (MD) Fury
Patricia Masotto Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-16): GSA ’85 Phoenix Red (Liburn, GA)
US Youth Soccer Girls U-15: Colorado Rush Nike (Lakewood, CO)
US Youth Soccer Girls U-14: KC Dynamos (Kansas City, MO)
CONCACAF U-20 Championship: The USA received a bye to the final round. There they beat Guatemala 5-0, Trinidad & Tobago 5-1, and drew with Costa Rica 1-1. They finished 2nd in Group 1, and were one of four teams to qualify for World Youth Cup 2003.
CONCACAF U-17 Championship: The US received a bye to the final round. U.S. Virgin islands didn’t do so well, being outscored 17-0 in their preliminary round. The United States beat Jamaica 2-1, Canada 4-2 and El Salvador 4-0 to win the final round and qualify for the World U-17 Youth Cup:
Hall of Fame: In 2001, the US Soccer Hall of Fame enshrined Ricky Davis, Bill Looby and Bob Hermann. The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Hall of Fame inducted Augustus “Gus” Donoghue and Robert Robinson. They also gave a special “award of excellence” for 2001 to Michelle Akers. The National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association (NISOA) Hall of Fame inducted Nanci Dugas Forton and George E. Nourjaim. The American Youth Soccer Organization had no inductees this year. Meanwhile, the soccer world mourned the loss of Hall of Famer Werner Fricker, who had brought the World Cup to the USA during his tenure.
FIFA Female Player of the Year: Mia Hamm
Honda Award (Player of the Year): Earnie Stewart
USSF Players of the Year: Earnie Stewart, Tiffeny Milbrett
USSF Young Players of the Year:DaMarcus Beasley, Aleisha Cramer, Brigham Young
NSCAA Honor Award: Bill Holleman (Georgia)
NISOA Honor Award: TBA