The Year in American Soccer, 2004

MLS | WUSA | USL | A-League | USL-PSL | USL-PDL | W-League | Super Y-League | MPSL | MISL | Championsworld Series | Olympics | U-19 World Championship | Men’s National Team | Women’s National Team | U.S. Open Cup | Americans Abroad | International Tours | The College Game | Awards & Tournaments

The USA Women’s team returned in triumph to win the 2004 Olympics, giving a grand sendoff to three of their legendary retiring players, as well as a great introduction to the world of its next generation of stars. Major League Soccer continued to make strides as it recruited new talent, strengthened its marketing programs, increased attendance and added two expansion teams. Meanwhile, the Men’s national team got through the first two rounds of qualifications for World Cup 2006 in fine form, although there were the usual frustrations about performances that could have been better, and grumbling about losses that should have been draws, and draws that could have been wins. The Women’s U-19 team fell short in the world championships, which was more of a tribute to the rapid rise of the women’s game worldwide, than a knock on the future of the US women’s program. NCAA fans were stunned when North Carolina’s women’s team was eliminated in the early rounds of the Division 1 tournament, indicating the possible end of another dynasty. The United Soccer Leagues continued to consolidate their upper divisions, but their Super Y-League continued to expand to new heights as they implemented their ODP program in earnest.

FIFA celebrated its 100th anniversary this year amid much celebration, and South Africa was awarded the 2010 World Cup, the first one to be held in Africa. In a major rule change, FIFA eliminated the “golden goal”. From now on, two 15-minute overtime periods will be followed by penalty kicks if necessary. They also instituted rules to ban post-goal celebrations, including the removal of team jerseys.

The United States Soccer federation completed an extensive report, commissioned by President Bob Contigulia, to analyze and improve the governance process and to ease the antagonisms between the youth, athlete, pro, and adult constituencies. It was expected that recommendations would include having those constituencies vote primarily on the issues that directly affected them. Unfortunately, the report did not come out before US Youth Soccer had filed a grievance dealing with this very issue. Their contention was a disproportionate amount of power went to the professional leagues, as well as newer organizations such as U. S. Club Soccer and the Super Y-League, which are not required to follow the same laws and standards. Whatever the result of this fight, it was earnestly hoped some way would be devised to minimize the rivalries between the major segments of the soccer community as represented in the USSF. U. S. Club Soccer launched their youth national tournament, the Champions League Cup, which would debut in spring, 2005 at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex near Orlando.

In contrast to the continuing intramural disputes at the USSF, there was some good news regarding soccer participation in the US. The Sporting Goods Manufacturing Organization report for 2004 showed a halt in the decline in soccer participation which hit a peak of over 19,000,000 participants in 2001, before falling. In 2004, the number rose to 17,680,000. Soccer was 4th among all sports, behind Volleyball (27,600,000), American Football (27,800,000) and Basketball (35,439,000).

Major League Soccer (Division 1)

This was another year of positive developments for Major League Soccer. Increased marketing efforts and attractive play helped attendance to rise 4.4%, and the influx of new talent at least compensated for the loss of top American players to Europe. This year marked the debut of the most promising new player ever to take up with MLS – Freddy Adu, the youngest US pro player in decades in any sport. MLS adopted FIFA’s new rules regarding elimination of overtime and bans on post-goal celebrations, and conformed to FIFA rules on transfer windows (1/1 – 3/31 & 8/31-9/15), but the impact was expected to be minimal because MLS sis not sign many in-contract players. Meanwhile, ground was broken for new soccer-specific stadiums for Dallas and Chicago. Dallas returned to the Cotton Bowl while the new stadium at Frisco was being built. MLS continued to diversity its ownership roster. The Colorado Rapids were sold by Anschutz Entertainment to Kroenke Sports, who consolidated staff and pledged to build a soccer-specific stadium. San Jose was put up for sale, and Lamar Hunt announced he was looking for someone to take over the Kansas City Wizards. Former US team coach Steve Sampson finally joined the MLS as head coach of the Los Angeles Galaxy late in the season.

As usual there were a fair amount of trades, retirements, and transfers to Europe. Chicago lost Carlos Bocanegra and Zach Thornton to Europe, but looked to rebuild around Jim Curtin, C. J. Brown, Damani Ralph, Evan Whitfield and draft pick Matt Pickens as they sought a return to the MLS Cup. Columbus experienced substantial turnover, losing Brian McBride (to England), Diego Walsh (to Kansas City), Tom Presthus and Brian West. But they gained Manny Lagos, veteran Robin Fraser (from Columbus), and top draftees Chris Wingert and Chad Marshall. D. C. United hired Peter Nowak as their new coach, while losing Hristo Stoichkov and March Etcheverry. The most heralded addition was Freddy Adu, the 14 year old phenom who had been signed by the league the previous fall, and looked to be possibly the most promising young face in American soccer in some time (as well as the youngest ever). The MetroStars lost Clint Mathis to Hannover (Germany). Coach Bradley’s rebuilding program got a boost with the signing of Amadeo Guevara, the Honduran International midfielder, who was paired with Eddie Pope to create a quick and flexible defensive combo. Sergio Galvan Rey, a veteran of the Colombian leagues looked to replace Clint Mathis’s scoring prowess.

Great expectations were seen for the Revolution. With strong talent and depth, they were perhaps the most talented team in the league, albeit one with a penchant for mid-summer swoons and injuries. Their only loss was Leo Cullen and with the addition of Richie Baker and Clint Dempsey, New England was favored by many to win the eastern conference title. Colin Clarke made several changes to rebuild the Dallas Burn as they attempted to rise from the cellar. Trades brought him Scott Garlick, Steve Jolley and Eric Quill among others, and Corey Gibbs returned from Europe to make his MLS debut.

Colorado looked to overcome the bouts of inconsistency and lack of commitment that caused them to stumble to an embarrassing exit in last year’s playoffs, as well as firm up a defense that was second worst in the league. The goalkeeper feud was resolved with the departure of Scott Garlick and his replacement by Joe Cannon. Robin Fraser and Wes Hart also departed. With Darryl Powell and Kyle Beckerman in the middle and Mark Chung and Chris Henderson up front, the Rapids had a solid nucleus around which they hoped to build a winning team. The Kansas City Wizards struggled with a lot of aging veterans, and made a number of changes, most notably the acquisition of Chris Klein and Shavar Thomas. With well known names such as Josh Wolff, Tony Meola, Nick Garcia and Preki, The Wizards had potential, but also a lot of uncertainty given the age and injury woes of many of its stars.

The Galaxy faced major changes after finishing the season with their first losing record. Mauricio Cienfuegos and Alexi Lalas retired, and Antonio Martinez departed for Spain. They switched from a 3-5-2 system to a 4-2-3-1. The new system was designed to benefit their new acquisitions – Jovan Kirovski, a stalwart of the national team, and Andreas Herzog of Austria. Simon Elliott was traded to Columbus, but the Galaxy got Joseph Ngqenya, Ned Grabavoy and Memo Arzate, as well two top draftees – Soccer America player of the year Joseph Ngqenya and NCAA Champion teammate Ned Grabavoy. It was expected the crop of ambitious youngsters would give the veterans a good challenge for starting spots.

San Jose The Earthquakes largely stayed pat. With a strong veteran roster, and players such as Jeff Agoos, Troy Dayak, Dominic Kinnear, and Pat Onstead healthy, the Earthquakes were expected to again win the division. Landon Donovan and Brian Ching were in top form at the front line. The Earthquakes did have a major frustration – despite winning their division last season, they finished the past two years last in attendance.

The MetroStars did well in spring training – despite a depleted roster they managed to win the La Manga Cup in Spain. Other MLS teams did well in their European tours during spring training, with most teams earning winning records. Although some of these wins were against lower division teams, even some games against prominent D1 and D2 teams were close, as the quality of MLS play continued to improve vis-à-vis the European leagues.

Many eyes were on Freddy Adu, as he began his first season still short of his 15th birthday. After 13 games, he had earned five starts and scored two goals. His natural talent amazed many people and confounded opponents, but he often looked out of place and his inexperience showed at times. He could make incredible moves with the ball, but often struggled during up-close action, and sometimes looked out of it when not with the ball. But he was a big crowd pleaser, and attendance was up whenever D. C. United came to town. He showed a remarkable ability to handle the intense publicity and pressure, although he admitted it was not an easy task. By the end of the season he showed some good stats, considering other players his age were still in junior high school.

One thing could be said about MLS this year — the teams were young. With the continuing exodus of top stars to Europe and the reduced numbers of foreign players, the average age reached a new low. Twenty five players with 100 or more games of MLS experience left after the 2003 season, and with few international signings, the rosters were relatively youthful and overwhelmingly American. This would give the young players plenty of badly needed experience.

The Eastern Division saw much parity this season with four teams locked in a close race for top spot. As late as early July, Chicago, the MetroStars, D. C. United and Columbus were within two points of each other, with only New England struggling behind. Out west, Kansas City and Los Angeles battled for top spot in the west, while San Jose and Dallas fought for a distant third place. Brian Ching was making a major impact for the Galaxy, who had the deepest scoring arsenal in the league, as was Kansas City’s Davy Arnaud, both unsung draft choices in their third year. Parity was evident this season: halfway through the season, not a single team had won half their games, and 2.67 average goals per game was lowest in league history. The elimination of overtime may have had something to do with that, but another major factor was the overall lack of experience by the young players.

By the halfway point of the season, the MetroStars were clinging to a 2 point lead in the East, while Los Angeles was beginning to pull away from Kansas City in the West. These races remained close through August, with the Revolution making a slow but concerted run to pull within contention. As summer turned to fall, the eastern division teams began to spread farther apart, although Columbus remained close behind the MetroStars, and in fact eventually took the lead, and the Revolution pulled out of the cellar past Chicago. But the West was the big story, as all five teams pulled to within five points of each other. Kansas City pulled even with Los Angeles just after before the Galaxy fired coach Sigi Schmid and hired former USA coach Steve Sampson. Schmid would go on to re-take the reins of the men’s U-20 national team. The Galaxy fell to third place, as did the MetroStars, but the Galaxy eventually clawed their way back to second as the season ended. Columbus pulled off a record 18-game unbeaten streak to win the East and the Supporter’s Shield for the best regular season record, and Kansas City held on to take the West division title. New England finished dead even with Chicago, but still won the final playoff spot. This was also the year of the big swoon. Chicago Fire fell from first to last in the east (scoring the fewest goals – 36 in their history) and San Jose Earthquakes fell from league champions to 4th place in the West.

In the Eastern semifinals, the Revolution took the first game against Columbus 1-0 in a defensive battle, and clamped down on the Crew offense in the second game as well. Taylor Twellman, Pat Noonan and Clint Dempsey kept up a relentless attack on the Crew defensive line, and Twellman finally found the net. Matt Reis blocked hard penalty kicks by Sanneh and Ross Paule. Finally, Edson Buddle tied the score in stoppage time, but the Revolution advanced on goals aggregate. The MetroStars lost both legs of their series with D. C. United despite the presence of MVP Amado Guevara. Guevara’s skills were largely wasted as the United midfielders kept him out of scoring range, while both Earnie Stewart and Alecko Eskandarian found the net. The MetroStars switched to a 3-5-2 formation for the second leg, and forced six saves from D. C. United’s Nick Rimando but allowed two late goals as they again fell 2-0.

In the west, there were some exciting series. Los Angeles was by far the aggressor in their series with the Colorado Rapids, but Joe Cannon caught several magnificent shots, and Jean-Philippe gave Colorado the only goal for game 1. Carlos Ruiz tied the series 30 minutes into game 2, with Marshall later giving the Galaxy the 2-0 shutout, and the series by goals aggregate. The San Jose Earthquakes were the comeback kings in 2003, but this was their year to fall. They beat the Kansas City Wizards in the first leg with a convincing 2-0 shutout. But in game 2, the Wizards peppered Richard Mulrooney with shots, many from midfielder Diego Gutierrez. Three of those shots found the net. That, combined with the Wizards’ near shutdown of the Earthquake offense, gave them a 3-0 shutout and the series on a 3-2 aggregate.

The Eastern final was a memorable goal fest. Neither team could contain the other, and with amazing goals from the likes of Moreno, Eskandarian, Ralston, Noonan and Twellman, an exhausting 90 minutes left the teams where they started – in a dead heat. Thirty minutes of overtime did not resolve the draw, despite a great shot by Twellman. Even the penalty kicks were a close match, with United squeaking out a 4-3 plurality. In the Western final, it was not as close. The Wizards shut down the Galaxy defense, and kept up a relentless attack. Meanwhile, Davy Anaud kept up a relentless attack, scoring a goal in each half, one of them a fancy pass and return with Josh Wolff finished off with a shot between the legs of a very surprised Kevin Hartman, to give the Wizards a 2-0 ticket to MLS Cup ’04.

The Rothenberg Cup trophy was returned to Washington when D. C. United won their fourth league title by defeating the Kansas City Wizards 3-2 in an exciting match held at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles. The first MLS Cup sellout (due to limited seating capacity) matched up a D. C. United team that barely cracked .500 in the season, with the winningest team of the regular season. Despite questions about players being too young (Adu), too old ((Moreno), outdated (Stewart), and underachieving (Eskandarian), D. C. United had it all together for this one. Shaking off their inconsistency, Carroll and Olsen contained Kerry Zavagnin and Diego Gutierrez at centerfield after allowing Jose Burciaga to score a 30 yard goal early in the first half. Gomez, Eskandarian and Moreno launched a blistering attack, with a blistering left footed shot by Eskandarian found the net to tie the score. Four minutes later, he charged on an attempted clearance by Jim Conrad. The ball hit his arm, but the referee didn’t notice, and he cruised into the penalty area to drill it in. The Wizard’s Alex Zotinca accidentally shot the ball into his own goal attempting to deflect a hard cross by Earnie Stewart into the penalty box. Seven minutes, three goals. As it turned out, that was all D. C. United would need for their victory, but they received a scare when Kovalenko deflected a Jim Conrad shot with his arm – while on the goal line. The resulting red card left United a man short, and Josh Wolff’s penalty kick brought the Wizards within one. But United hunkered down and squelched the Kansas City scoring runs for the remaining half hour of the game and held their 3-2 lead to the end. Peter Nowak became the first person to win a MLS Cup title both as a player and as a coach. Alecko Eskandarian was named the Cup’s MVP.

There was substantial turnover in the top scorers list as many younger players established themselves; the list was more heavily American than before, as were the all-star team and the roster of award winners. A far cry from the days of the NASL, where a quota was needed merely to keep US players warming the bench. MetroStars midfielder Amado Guevara won the Most Valuable Player award and was the league’s top scorer. On the labor front, MLS finally reached a tentative five-year collective bargaining agreement with the new MLS players’ union. The accord would raise the minimum salary for the first time since the league’s founding, to 28,000 with additional increments through 2009, and also raised the stipends for developmental players. It also provided health insurance for all players and established a 401K retirement plan with league contributions. The CBA also established a grievance process and a revenue sharing agreement for use of players’ images in promotional and marketing endeavors.

After the season, San Jose continued efforts to find an alternative to Spartan Stadium, an aging facility for which the Earthquakes paid exorbitant fees and received little ancillary revenue. It was unclear whether this would involve a new stadium or a move to another city, but the team would remain in San Jose at least through the 2005 season while they courted potential buyers. Late in the year, Lamar Hunt announced that he was looking for investors to take over the Kansas City Wizards. The season was overall a very positive one, with a welcome infusion of young talent, and some spectacular performances throughout. Attendance was up 4.4%, to 2,233,597, an average of 15,559 fans per game. The senior player allotment was increased to four players per team, and Adidas signed on to become the league’s sole uniform supplier by 2006. A new tradition was launched between MLS and the US Soccer Hall of Fame. After the induction ceremonies, which saw the induction of the first MLS veterans (Paul Caligiuri and Eric Wynalda), an exhibition match at the Hall’s Wright Soccer Campus pitted the MetroStars against the Chicago Fire in an exhibiting match attended by close to 3,000 enthusiastic fans.

In a welcome development, MLS finally awarded two expansions franchises. Chivas USA, headed by Mexican businessman Jorge Vergara, who already owned Chivas of Guadalajara and Saprissa, would share Home Depot Center with the Galaxy, and former NBA Utah Jazz president Dave Checkett was awarded a franchise in Utah, named Real Salt Lake. Former Revolution and U-20 coach Thomas Rongen was hired as coach of Chivas. Real Salt lake’s first major player signing was Clint Mathis, who returned home from the Bundesliga. They also tabbed John Ellinger as their first head coach. Meanwhile, Admin Brown headed ton Norway and Ryan Nelsen, D. C. United’s captain in 2004, signed an 18-month contract with Blackburn Rovers. Another big step forward occurred when MLS announced that they would establish reserve squads for all teams. What form these teams would take was still to be determined, but several teams already had reserve teams playing in USL’s Premier Development League. To facilitate the reserve squad system, the developmental allotments were expanded from 6 to ten players who would be eligible to play in MLS and Open Cup matches as well as on the reserve squads, which were expected to play about 12 games each against other reserve teams, with additional matches against USL, PDL and local club teams. Teams were given greater flexibility with youth (U-25) internationals; instead of a 20 player league-wide limit, each team was allotted three slots with the ability to trade with other teams for additional slots.

Official 2004 MLS Season Stats
Official MLS History Archives

              Final 2004 Major League Soccer Standings

                           GP   W   L   D   GF  GA  Pts
      Eastern Division
Columbus Crew              30  12   5  13   40  32   49
D. C. United               30  11  10   9   43  42   42
MetroStars                 30  11  12   7   47  49   40
New England Revolution     30   8  13   9   42  43   33
Chicago Fire               30   8  13   9   36  44   33

      Western Division
Kansas City Wizards        30  14   9   7   38  30   49
Los Angeles Galaxy         30  11   9  10   42  40   43
Colorado Rapids            30  10   9  11   29  32   41
San Jose Earthquakes       30   9  10  11   41  35   38
Dallas Burn                30  10  14   6   34  45   36

Conference Semifinals:  New England defeated Columbus 1-1, 1-0
                        D. C. United defeated MetroStars 2-0, 2-0
                        San Jose defeated Kansas City 3-0, 0-2
                        Los Angeles defeated Colorado 2-0, 0-1
Conference Finals:      D. C. United defeated New England 4-3
                        Kansas City defeated Los Angeles 2-0
MLS CUP 2004:           D. C. United defeated Kansas City 3-2.

LEADING SCORERS                    GP   G   A  Pts
Amadeo Guevara, MetroStars         24  10  10   30
Pat Noonan, New England            29  11   8   30
Brian Ching, San Jose              25  12   4   28
Jaime Moreno, D. C. United         27   7  14   28
Eddie Johnson, Dallas              26  12   3   27
Josh Wolff, Kansas City            26  10   7   27
Davy Arnaud, Kansas City           30   9   8   26
Damani Ralph, Chicago              26  11   3   25
Edson Buddle, Columbus             24  11   2   24
Carlos Ruiz, Los Angeles           20  11   2   24
John Wolyniec, MetroStars          30  10   3   23
Jeff Cunningham, Columbus          30   9   4   22
Landon Donovan, San Jose           23   6  10   22
Alecko Eskandarian, D. C. United   24  10   2   22
Steve Ralston, New England         30   7   8   22
Eddie Gaven, MetroStars            29   7   7   21
Taylor Twellman, New England       23   9   1   19
Jovan Kirovski, Los Angeles        24   8   2   18
Jean Philippe Peguero, Colorado    18   7   4   18
Andy Williams, Chicago             25   4   9   17

GOALKEEPING LEADERS  (Minimum 1000 minutes)
                               GP   MIN  SHTS SVS  C/P   GA   GAA    Record  SO
Nick Ramando, D. C. United     13  1170    39  26   36   13  1.00    7-3-3    4
Tony Meola, Kansas City        21  1890    98  76  107   22  1.05    9-7-5    7
Joe Cannon, Colorado           30  2700   182 150  126   32  1.07  10-9-11   10
Jon Busch, Columbus            29  2610   163 132  124   31  1.07  12-5-12   10
Pat Onstad, San Jose           25  2250   130  98  101   32  1.28   7-8-10    6
Kevin Hartman, Los Angeles     30  2655   156 117   96   39  1.32  11-8-10    7
Matt Reis, New England         24  2115   129  97  110   32  1.36   7-10-7    3
Henry Ring, Chicago            28  2520   168 128   95   40  1.43   7-12-9    7
Jeff Cassar, Dallas            19  1632    92  65  105   27  1.49    7-8-4    4
Scott Garlick, Dallas          12  1068    70  52   34   18  1.52    3-6-2    4
Jonny Walker, MetroStars       28  2520   144  99   86   45  1.61  10-11-7    5
Troy Perkins, D. C. United     16  1440    78  52   53   26  1.63    4-6-6    3

All-Star Game: The All-Star game was held on July 31, 2004 at Washington DC before 21,378 fans. Unlike last season, the east all-stars battled the west all-stars for MLS bragging rights. The east won 3-2 in a largely lackluster game marred by unbearable heat. Guevara scored twice and Eskandarian got the game winner for the East, while Brian Ching and Jason Kreis scored for the West. The game was preceded by the USA Legends vs. the World Legends – recently retired MLS American and International stars. These two teams battled to a 2-2 draw.

MLS Award Winners:

Most Valuable Player: Amadeo Guevara, MetroStars
Goal of the Year:: Dwayne De Rosario, San Jose Earthquakes
Coach of the Year: Greg Andruis, Columbus Crew
Goalkeeper of the Year: Joe Cannon, Colorado Rapids
Defender of the Year: Robin Fraser, Columbus Crew
Rookie of the Year: Clint Dempsey, New England Revolution
Scoring Champion: Amadeo Guevara, MetroStars
Supporters' Shield Award: Columbus Crew
Fair Play Award: Eddie Pope, MetroStars
Referee of the Year: Abbey Okulaja
Humanitarian of the Year: Chris Henderson, Colorado Rapids
Comeback Player of the Year: Brian Ching, San Jose Earthquakes
Commissioner's Award: Lamar Hunt

Pepsi Best 11:
G - Joe Cannon, Colorado Rapids
D - Robin Fraser, Columbus Crew
D - Ryan Nelson, D. C. United
D - Eddie Pope, MetroStars
D - Jimmy Conrad, Kansas City Wizards
M - Eddie Gaven, MetroStars
M - Kerry Zavagnin, Kansas City Wizards
M - Amadeo Guevara, MetroStars
M - Ronnie O'Brien, Dallas Burn
F - Brian Ching, San Jose Earthquakes
F - Jaime Moreno, D. C. United

Women’s United Soccer Association

With WUSA dormant, its former players dispersed in many directions. A number found spots on teams in foreign leagues. A large number moved to the W-League and the WPSL (The California Storm looked almost like a WUSA all-star team!), and the National Team kept its players busy with an expanded schedule. The WUSA organization continued its efforts to lay the groundwork for a rebirth. This involved developing a workable business plan, lining up investors and sponsors, and continuing the “Keep the Dream Alive” ticket initiative fundraising campaign. Along with these efforts, a soccer festival was organized for the summer to raise publicity and do fundraising. Since this wasn’t an official league competition and many players had dispersed, some players played for different teams in the two segments of the competition.

The soccer festival included two games at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minnesota pitting the New York Power against the Atlanta Beat and the Washington Freedom against the Boston Breakers on June 18 and 19 respectively. The first game finished a 2-2 tie with Shannon box scoring both goals for the Power, and Maribel Dominguez and Charmaine Hooper scoring for Atlanta. The other game was also drawn, with a 3-3 score. Mia Hamm scored two for the Freedom, with Abby Wambach getting the third. Marinette Pichon scored for Boston just before the half, and Sarah Popper and Kelly smith scored for them late in the second half.

The rejoinder took place at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA on June 27, as a doubleheader. In the first game, the San Diego Spirit defeated Carolina Courage 2-1 courtesy of goals by Angela Hucles and Abby Wambach, with Charmaine Hooper providing the lone score for Carolina. In the other game, Philadelphia Charge shut out the San Jose CyberRays 2-0 courtesy of goals by Marinette Pichon and Kristine Lilly.

Overall, the crowds were enthusiastic but they were fairly disappointing – only 2,017 showed up for the first Minnesota game, and 5,017 for the second. For the California doubleheader, 7,123 fans turned up. Although the cash infusion was welcome, it clearly wasn’t enough to provide much seed money for the re-launch of the league after tournament expenses were accounted for, so the committees looked to other methods for raising sufficient capital to re-launch the WUSA. At the end of the summer, a new business plan was drafted for re-launching the WUSA in 2006, and a new non-profit entity, Women’s Soccer Initiative was established to carry it to fruition.

United Soccer Leagues

USL continued its efforts to solidify its various divisions. This saw unfortunately a number of teams folding or being relegated, but did serve to strengthen the upper divisions; the A-League and the PSL (now re-titled the Pro Soccer League). After the seasons, the league renamed the PSL to be the “USL First Division” and the PDL to be the “USL Second Division”. The W-League benefited from a large infusion of players from the dormant WUSA, and the Super Y-League continued to expand to new heights, and gained prominence as it implemented its new Olympic Development Programs. In the fall, CEO Dave Askinas resigned and league founder Francisco Marcos (who received a certificate of appreciation from the NSCAA for his lifetime’s work) took on a more active role in running the organization.

Final 2004 USL standings and playoff results

Final 2004 W-League standings and playoff results

A-League (Division 2)

The A-League consolidated to sixteen teams in two divisions. Pittsburgh and Charlotte were demoted to the PSL, and El Paso and Indiana were demoted to the PDL, and Cincinnati folded. The league took on more of an international flavor as teams were added in Edmonton and Puerto Rico. With five Canadian Teams, the A-League effectively served as Canada’s top professional league. The league also proved to be a place where MLS veterans could extend their careers. New to the A-League were Alex Pineda Chacon, who joined the Atlanta Silverbacks, and Johnny Torres with Milwaukee Wave United. Also making their playing debuts were Chris Carrieri, MLS’s 2001 top draft pick, Ivan McKinley, who sat out injured last season with Charleston, Dante Washington, with Virginia Beach after 7 seasons in MLS, and Richie Williams with Richmond.

Milwaukee signed Johnny Torres from Minnesota as they looked to continue their Midwest dominance. Seattle was celebrating the 30th anniversary of pro soccer in that city, and hoping to win their third title. To that end, they signed the Brazilian Welton, who had several successful years in MLS. Syracuse had a very successful first year at the gate, but struggled on the field, so they acquired Scott Schweitzer and Temoc Suarez to shore up their defense. Vancouver were very aggressive in acquiring players, signing midfielder Andrew Gregor from Seattle as well as a pair of Canadian internationals, David Xausa and Martin Nash. Portland, now being operated by the Pacific Coast Baseball League until a new owner could be found, looked to maintain their strong on-field performance. Atlanta and Rochester broke ground on their new soccer-specific stadiums, set for opening in 2005. The Islanders represented the A-League’s first successful foray into Puerto Rico, and their roster had a Latin flair, boasting five Argentines and two Brazilians.

Despite the many player signings by last year’s successful clubs, there were some surprises in the season. Montreal and Richmond finished atop the Eastern Conference, and Portland won the west. Vancouver could only maintain their 2nd place finish. But that counted for a lot in an 8-team division. Montreal easily dispatched Rochester in the first round of playoffs, but Portland was upset by Seattle on goals aggregate, and Syracuse upset Richmond. Vancouver had an easy time eliminating Minnesota courtesy of two shutouts. In the semi-finals, Montreal and Seattle prevailed in close series, and finally Montreal Impact won their first championship since 1994 as they shut out Seattle 2-0 before a record home crowd of 13,648.

Total attendance fell slightly this year, due to the loss of franchises, falling to 864,966, but average attendance rose substantially to 3,879, the league’s best average ever. Unfortunately, franchise instability was a continuing problem. Syracuse, Milwaukee, Calgary and Edmonton folded, leaving the league smaller, but with a strong core of remaining teams. Late in the year, the league’s name was changed to the “USL First Division”.

                   Final A-League Standings, 2004

Before the season, Puerto Rico and Edmonton were added.  
Calgary became the Mustangs.

                            GP   W   L   D   GF  GA  Pts
Montreal Impact             28  17   6   5   36  15   56
Richmond Kickers            28  17   8   3   44  29   54
Syracuse Salty Dogs         28  15   8   5   40  29   50
Rochester Raging Rhinos     28  15  10   3   36  32   48
Atlanta Silverbacks         28  14  11   3   41  48   45
Virginia Beach Mariners     28  11  14   3   43  41   36
Toronto Lynx                28  10  16   2   38  50   32
Charleston Battery          28   7  15   6   30  39   27
Puerto Rico Islanders       28   5  17   6   22  48   21

Portland Timbers            28  18   7   3   58  30   57
Vancouver Whitecaps         28  14   9   5   38  29   47
Minnesota Thunder           28  13   9   6   33  23   45
Seattle Sounders            28  13  11   4   40  34   43
Milwaukee Wave United       28  12  12   4   44  48   40
Edmonton Aviators/FC        28   4  18   6   19  56   18
Calgary Mustangs            28   4  18   6   30  51   18

Quarterfinals:    Montreal defeated Rochester 1-0, 1-0
                  Syracuse defeated Richmond 2-1, 1-0
                  Seattle defeated Portland 1-2, 2-0
                  Vancouver defeated Minnesota 2-0, 1-0
Semi-finals:      Montreal defeated Syracuse 2-1, 1-1
                  Seattle defeated Vancouver 1-0, 1-1
FINAL:            Montreal defeated Seattle 2-0

After the season, Calgary, Edmonton, Milwaukee and Syracuse folded.

Leading Scorers:
                               GP   G  A  PTS
Dante Washington, Va. Beach    27  17  6   40
Byron Alvarez, Portland        25  16  4   36
Alan Dorgon, Portland          27  17  1   35
Ali Ngon-Gerba, Toronto        25  15  4   34
Johnny Torres, Milwaukee       28  11  8   30
Mangra (Mac) Cooper, Atlanta   28  12  4   28
Gregory Howes, Milwaukee       24   9  8   26
Todd Dusosky, Milwaukee        23  10  4   24
Mauricio S. De Alemncar, P.R.  25  11  1   25
McColm Cephas, Richmond        26  10  4   24
Chris Carrieri, Rochester      27   8  8   24
Jason Jordan, Vancouver        19   7  7   21
Welton Melo, Seattle           23   5 10   20
Hugo Alcarez-Cuellar, Portland 26   5 10   20
Matthew Delicate, Richmond     26   7  6   20

Goalkeeping Leaders: (Min 1000 minutes)
                                 GP   MIN  GA   GAA 
Gregory Sutton, Montreal         25  2355  14  0.535
Joseph Warren, Minnesota         27  2621  20  0.686
Theodosis Zagar, Rochester       20        17  0.840
Alexander Marques-Delgado, Vanc. 19        17  0.860
Ronnie Pasqual, Richmond         28  2662      0.980
Charles (Byron) Foss, Syracuse   21        21  1.004
Josh Saunders, Portland          24  2196  27  1.106
Preston Burpo, Seattle           28  2651      1.154
Jose Luis Campi, Edmonton FC     14        18  1.161
Joseph (Joe) Barton, Atlanta     17        22  1.250

A-League Award Winners:
Most Valuable Player:  Greg Sutton, Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Goalkeeper of the Year:  Greg Sutton, Montreal Impact
Defender of the Year:  Gabe Gervais, Montreal Impact
Rookie of the Year:  Alan Gordon, Portland Timbers
Coach of the Year: Bobby Howe, Portland Timbers

All A-League Team:

G - Greg Sutton, Montreal Impact
D - Dustin Branan, Minnesota Thunder
D - Gabriel Gervais, Montreal Impact
D - Peter Luzak, Richmond Kickers
M - Mauro Brello, Montreal Impact
M - Sandro Grande, Montreal Impact
M - Alex Pineda Chacon, Atlanta Silverbacks
M - Johnny Torres, Milwaukee Wave United
F - Byron Alvarez, Portland Timbers
F - Alan Gordon, Portland Timbers
F - Dante Washington, Virginia Beach Mariners

USL Pro Soccer League (Division 3)

The PSL recovered somewhat from the challenges of 2003. Although three teams were demoted or folded, the league added a new team in Harrisburg and welcomed two demoted A-League teams (Pittsburgh and Charlotte). The league also changed its name to from the Pro Select league to the Pro Soccer League. Although greatly shrunken, the PSL was beginning to develop a solid core of teams; seven of the 12 had reached the finals in previous seasons.

The newcomers quickly established their presence in the league, with Pittsburgh and Charlotte winning their respective divisions, and Harrisburg finished a close 2nd in the Atlantic Division. Long Island Rough Riders, swooned this season, landing decisively in the cellar behind Pittsburgh and the expansion Harrisburg. California and San Diego swapped positions in the west, with the Gauchos clawing their way back to .500, while the Gold managed a mere two victories for the season. Both teams would be demoted to the PDL after the season. Big things were expected of the Western Mass Pioneers who reunited with their championship winning coach, but they struggled in a close race with New Hampshire and Westchester before finishing in last place.

There were no surprises in the quarterfinals of the playoffs, as division winners Pittsburgh, Charlotte and Utah defeated their 2nd place counter parts (Harrisburg City, Wilmington and San Diego respectively.) Wilmington had been the only team in the past six years to reach two consecutive finals; there would be no third time. The semi-finals saw two pairs of closely matched teams fight defensive battles, with Utah downing Pittsburgh and Charlotte defeating New Hampshire, both by 1-0 shutouts. The Championship was a nail-biter, with Charlotte and Utah battling to a 2-2 draw through overtime, with Utah winning their second league title. Later, Utah was promoted to the A-League.

Charlotte’s Jacob Coggin was the league’s top scorer and Most Valuable Player for 2004, and teammate Eric Pattison of was the league’s top goalkeeper. Total attendance was up slightly to 122,263. However, due to the smaller number of teams, average attendance was up significantly from 999 to 1,243 fans per game. Late in the year, the league’s name was changed to the “USL Second Division”.

                    Final 2004 Pro Soccer League Standings

Before the season, Pittsburgh and Charlotte were demoted from the
A-League.  Harrisburg was added.

                            GP   W   L   D   GF  GA  Pts
     Atlantic Division
Pittsburgh Riverhounds      20  17   2   1   48  17   52
Harrisburg City Islanders   20  10   7   3   40  25   33
Long Island Rough Riders    20   8  11   1   31  43   25

     Northern Division
New Hampshire Phantoms      20  10   9   1   46  33   31
Westchester Flames          20   8   9   3   38  43   27
Western Mass. Pioneers      20   8  10   2   34  34   26

     Southern Division
Charlotte Eagles            20  14   4   2   53  19   44
Wilmington Hammerheads      20  10   6   3   32  20   33
Northern Virginia Royals    19   3  16   0   18  64    6

     Western Division
Utah Blitzz                 20  11   6   3   39  16   36
San Diego Gauchos           20   9   9   2   26  41   29
California Gold             20   2  13   5   18  46    5

Quarterfinals:    Charlotte defeated Wilmington 3-2, 2-2
                  Pittsburgh defeated Harrisburg 4-0, 3-1
                  Utah defeated San Diego 1-0
                  Bye:  New Hampshire
Semi-finals:      Utah defeated Pittsburgh 1-0
                  Charlotte defeated New Hampshire 1-0
FINAL:            Utah defeated Charlotte 2-2 (5-4 PK)

After the season, Westchester, California and San Diego
were demoted to the PDL, and Utah was promoted to the A-League.

Leading Scorers:
                                 GP   G  A  Pts
Jacob Coggins, Charlotte         19  20 10   50
Evaud Thompson, Westchester      19  15  5   35
Said Ali, Pittsburgh             19  15  4   34
David Flavius, Pittsburgh        19  13  6   32
Bjorn Hansen, New Hampshire      16  13  5   31
Dustin Swinehart, Charlotte      19  10 10   30
Herculez Gomez, San Diego        18  14  1   29
Costea Decu, Westchester         15  11  3   25
Derrick Etienne, Long Island     18  11  0   22
Patrick Daka, Charlotte          14          20

Leading Goalkeepers:  (Min 800 minutes)
                                     GP   Min  GA    GAA
Eric Pattison, Charlotte             13  1157   8  0.622
Chad Sackett, Utah                   18  1570  11  0.630
Chris Robinson, Pittsburgh           18  1662  16  0.866
William Platz, Wilmington            11   965  11  1.025
Kyle Singer, New Hampshire           10        12  1.234
Bryan O'Quinn, Western Mass          14  1254  19  1.363
Dave Kern, Harrisburg City            9        13  1.376
Brandon Hearron, San Diego           18  1678  35  1.877
Guillermo Valencia-Sep., Westchester 17  1608  34  1.902
Daniel Sirota, Long Island           15  1359  30  1.986

Most Valuable Player: Jacob Coggins, Charlotte Eagles
Defender of the Year:  Tim Karalexis, Wilmington Hammerheads
Rookie of the Year:  Said Ali, Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Coach of the Year: Mark Steffens, Charlotte Eagles

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

The Premier League grew from 49 to 54 teams, the most in its history. The PDL continued to serve as the nation’s only national amateur league, and fielded several reserve clubs for MLS teams. Once again, the Chicago Fire Reserves topped the circuit as they steadily extended their dynasty with an undefeated season. Carolina, which had been demoted from the PSL, captured the Mid-Atlantic Division in a close race with Williamsburg. Another team, El Paso, won a close race with the renamed Dallas-Ft. Worth Tornados, to win the Mid-South Division. Michigan repeated their title in the Great Lakes Division.

In the conference finals, Carolina defeated South Jersey in the battle of the Eastern division champs. The other quarterfinals were upsets, as the mighty Chicago Reserves were shut out by Boulder in a close match, Cocoa defeated Central Florida and 2nd year Fresno Fuego defeated Orange County. In the semi-finals, Boulder defeated Fresno 3-0 and Central Florida defeated Cocoa on PK’s after a 1-1 draw. The championship saw Central Florida win their first crown by defeating Boulder 1-0. Attendance was up to 214,875, for 554 fans per game average. Reuben Mingo of South Jersey was the league Most Valuable player.

Final 2004 PDL standings and playoff results

Most Valuable Player: Reuben Mingo, South Jersey Barons
Top Scorer:  Daniel Frias, El Paso Patriots (25 goals, 56 points)
Defender of the Year: John Thompson, South Jersey Barons
Rookie of the Year: Justin Moose, Carolina Dynamo
U-19 Player of the Year: Brett Hite, Spokane Shadow
Coach of the Year: Dan Christian, South Jersey Barons

The W-League

After the suspension of the WUSA, the W-league rebounded somewhat, adding 12 teams and signing up many former WUSA players. Among the notables were former NY Power striker Christie Welch who moved to Hampton Roads, and Kelly Smith & Marinette Pichon who were picked up by the New Jersey Wildcats. Defender Nel Fettig and Thori Bryan were two of the half a dozen players signed by the Carolina Dynamo, and Marci Miller signed with the Charlotte Lady Eagles. In all, more than 50 players signed on with W-League or WPSL teams, with the most impressive signings being made by the WPSL’s California Storm.

The infusion of WUSA talent made an immediate impact on the league, and those teams that had stocked up on talent reaped the dividends. Boston Renegades again topped their division, and the Atlantic Division was topped by talent-laden Hampton Roads, with Charlotte finishing a close second. The New Jersey Wildcats went undefeated, and nearly unscored-upon for the season, outscoring their opponents 76-5. In the western divisions the strong teams continued to thrive, with Chicago Cobras and Vancouver Whitecaps again winning their divisions.

The playoffs were consolidated, with the conference champions and Ottawa playing in the final four championship series. New Jersey defeated Ottawa 2-1 and Vancouver defeated Chicago by the same score. The championship game was a high scoring affair, with the Vancouver Whitecaps Women pulling out an exciting 4-2 win over the New Jersey Wildcats to win their first league title. There were many new faces in the top stats lists and awards columns, courtesy of the former WUSA players. Kelly Parker of the Ottawa Fury was league MVP and Marinette Pichon was the league’s top scorer. Attendance was up by a third, due in part to the many new teams. Total attendance was 120,954, with average attendance rising to 508 per game from 398 last season. Unfortunately, eight teams folded after the season, showing that establishing team financial stability was still a major priority for the league.

Final 2004 W-League League Standings

Before the season, Sudbury, Rhode Island, Montreal, Richmond,
Bradenton, Ft. Wayne, Detroit, London, West Michigan, 
St. Louis, Edmonton, Western Mass and Calgary were added.  Columbus 
was inactive this season.  Greensboro became Carolina.

                              GP   W   L   D   GF  GA  Pts
     New England Division
Boston Renegades              14  10   4   0   56  28   30
Western Mass Lady Pioneers    14   7   7   0   30  23   21
New Hampshire Lady Phantoms   14   3  11   0   13  40    9
Rhode Island Lady Stingrays   14   2  12   0   10  68    6

     Northeast Division
New Jersey Wildcats           14  14   0   0   76   5   42
Long Island Lady Riders       14  11   3   0   48  29   33
New Jersey Lady Stallions     14  10   4   0   44  22   30
New York Magic                14   3  11   0   13  47    9
South Jersey Banshees         14   2  12   0   13  65    6

     North Central Division
Ottawa Fury                   14  13   1   0   68   7   39
Montreal Xtreme               14  11   3   0   57  19   33
Rochester Ravens              14   8   6   0   33  26   24
Toronto Inferno               14   3  11   0   18  38    9
Sudbury Canadians             14   1  13   0   15  77    3

     Atlantic Division
Hampton Roads Piranhas        14  12   1   1   30   8   37
Charlotte Lady Eagles         14  11   2   1   45  16   34
Asheville Splash              14   7   4   3   32  13   24
Richmond Kickers Destiny      14   5   7   2   32  29   17
Carolina Dynamo Women         14   5   8   1   24  35   16
Northern Virginia Majestics   14   2  11   1   17  44    7
Bradenton Athletics           14   2  11   1   18  53    7

     Midwest Division
Chicago Cobras                13  12   0   1   42  12   37
Fort Wayne Fever Women        13  10   2   1   48  16   31
Detroit Jaguars               13   8   5   0   33  18   24
Cleveland Internationals Women13   7   6   0   27  16   21
Cincinnati Ladyhawks          13   4   9   0   14  28   12
Windy City Bluez              13   4   9   0   21  39   12
London Gryphons                3   1   2   0    4  16    3
West Michigan Edge Women      13   1  12   0    6  36    3
St. Louis Archers              2   0   2   0    1  15    0
Columbus Lady Shooting Stars   0   0   0   0    0   0    0

Vancouver Whitecaps Women     14  13   0   1   57  11   40
Seattle Sounders Women        14  11   2   1   44  12   34
Edmonton Aviators Women       14   7   5   2   21  16   23
Denver Lady Cougars           14   6   7   1   24  25   19
Arizona Heatwave              14   6   7   1   25  36   19
Mile High Mustangs            14   4   7   3   18  34   15
Calgary Wildfire              14   2  12   0   13  41    6
Fort Collins Force            14   1  10   3   18  45    6

Semi-finals:       New Jersey defeated Ottawa 2-1
                   Vancouver defeated Chicago 2-1
CHAMPIONSHIP:      Vancouver defeated New Jersey 4-2

After the season, Montreal, Rhode Island, Windy City, 
Asheville, Calgary, Edmonton, St. Louis, Toronto, New Jersey
Stallions and Columbus folded.

Leading Scorers:
                                   GP   G  A  Pts
Marinette Pichon, New Jersey       10  21  7   49
Kelly Parker, Ottawa               14  18  9   45
Martina Franko, Vancouver          14  18  6   42
Amy Warner, Fort Wayne             11  15  7   37
Therese Heaton, Detroit            10  16  3   35
AJosee Belanger, Montreal          12  15  5   35
Kristen Graczyk, Chicago           13  16  3   35
Nina Scalzo, Rochester             14  15  5   35
Jennifer Parsons, Richmond         14  14  6   34
Caitlin Munoz, Boston              14  12  9   33

Leading Goalkeepers: (Min 630 minutes)
                                 GP   MIN  GA    GAA
Leisha Alicia, Ottawa Fury       12  1080   3  0.l25
Amanda Brown, New Jersey          9         2  0.260
Cindy Bennett, Hampton Roads     12  1100   7  0.572
Erin McLeod, Vancouver           11  1010   7  0.623
Meghan Miller, Seattle           12  1058  10  0.850
Meaghan Burke, Asheville         12  1113  12  0.970
Molly Schneider, Chicago         13  1032  12  1.046
Shannon Monti-O'Brien, Charlotte 11        11  1.057
Megan Jessee, Western Mass       11        13  1.178
Lauren Karas, Fort Wayne         11            1.247

W-League Award Winners:
Most Valuable Player: Kelly Parker, Ottawa Fury
Goalkeeper: Leisha Alicia, Ottawa Fury
Defender of the Year: Sasha Andrews, Vancouver Whitecaps Women
Rookie of the Year: Caitlin Munoz, Boston Renegades
U-19 Player of the Year: Nicole Krzysik, New Jersey Lady Stallions
Coach of the Year: Rene Tadal, Rochester Ravens

Super Y-League

The Super Y-League entered a period of stability after the rapid growth of the past few years. Now grouped into four regional conferences with 108 clubs fielding over 670 teams. The Y-League was increasingly seen as a developmental resource by MLS, MISL and USL teams to the point that nearly a third of USL’s clubs had youth teams in the Y-League. On the flip side, several prominent youth clubs, such as Cleveland Internationals and CASL Elite of Raleigh, NC, extended their horizons by establishing teams in USL’s Premier Development League. It remained to be seen how this might be affected by MLS’s decision to establish a Reserve League. But this trend of increasing connections between the pro, amateur and youth circuits was a clear sign of the increasingly robust player development systems that were beginning to spring up as an alternative to the college game. The league changed their age cutoff date to January 1, in conformance with international standards and moved the date for the SYL Finals to November to allow teams to participate in league schedules without a scheduling crunch during the summer months.

Men’s Premier Soccer League

After their successful debut last year, the MPSL doubled in size this season with the addition of Albuquerque, Salinas Valley, Sonoma Valley, Sacramento and Idaho. Chico Rooks won the regular season title, while 2003 champion Arizona fell to third, and 2003 regular season champ Utah finished 4th place. Albuquerque Asylum was the best of the expansion clubs, coming within a point of winning the regular season title. In the playoffs, Utah defeated Chico 1-0, and Arizona defeated Albuquerque 4-1. Utah took their first championship by beating Arizona 4-2 in the championship game, as well as the league player scoring title, courtesy of KC Nordfors.

2004 MPSL Final League Standings

Before the season, Albuquerque, Salinas Valley, Sonoma Valley,
Sacramento and Idaho were added.

                            GP   W   L   D   GF  GA  Pts
Chico Rooks                 16  13   2   1   41  40   40
Albuquerque Asylum          16  12   4   0   40  16   36
Arizona Suaharos            16  11   5   0   27  18   33
Utah Salt Ratz              16  11   5   0   44  16   33
Salinas Valley Samba        16   9   6   1   35  21   28
Sonoma Valley FC Sol        16   9   7   0   41  25   27
Sacramento Knights          15   8   7   0   34  20   24
Las Vegas Strikers          16   3  13   0   19  39    9
Northern Nevada Aces        16   2  14   0   12  71    6
Idaho Wolves                15   0  15   0    8  61    0

Semi-finals:     Utah defeated Chico 1-0
                 Arizona defeated Albuquerque 4-1
CHAMPIONSHIP:    Utah defeated Arizona 4-2.

Leading Scorers: 
KC Nordfors, Utah            13
Pio Paul, Chico               8
Luiz Araujo, Arizona          6
Adam Acosta, Utah             6
Jesus Ruiz, Arizona           5
Manoe Coelho, Arizona         5
Bret Shimizu, Utah            5
Arturo Barragan, Chico        5

Most Valuable Player: Mike Hickman, Utah Salt Ratz

MPSL All-Star Team:

G - Dominic Jakubek, Chico Rooks
D - Todd Simmons, Chico Rooks
D - Troy Roberts, Sonoma Sol
D - Ryan Hansen, Utah Salt Ratz
M - David Baca, Albuquerque Asylum
M - Joao Macedo, Chico Rooks
M - Urbaca Ugliesa, Arizona Suaharos
M - Adam Acosta, Utah Salt Ratz
F - Santiago Aguilera, Salinas Valley Samba
F - Manuel Coelho, Arizona Suaharos
F - Chris Wondolowski, Chico Rooks
F - Marc Laws, Albuquerque Asylum

Major Indoor Soccer League

For the 2003-04 season, the MISL added a final refugee from the WISL, the St. Louis Steamers, as well as an expansion team in Mexico, the Monterrey Fury. There were some surprises this season, as Dallas surged to regain their old form, winning the Western Division by a comfortable margin. Baltimore, which had finished at .500 the previous year also took off, bypassing Philadelphia to win the eastern division crown by 5 games. Milwaukee continued their dominance in the heartland, winning the central division with the best record in the league.

St. Louis struggled on the field, finishing at 14-22. Monterrey also struggled on the field and were hampered by having to start their first 11 games on the road while their arena was finished, but once their new venue opened, the fans came in droves, selling in excess of 1,000 tickets per game for the first few games. Despite the enthusiastic crowds, the team finished last in the league, and financial and administrative problems became serious.

The playoffs consisted of single elimination quarterfinals and semi-finals and a best of five championship series. Kansas City defeated Philadelphia and Dallas defeated Cleveland in the first round with the division champs having a bye. The Division champs both romped in the semifinals, with Baltimore defeating Dallas 6-1 and Milwaukee defeating Kansas City 7-3. This led to a rematch of the 2002-03 championships. Once again, Baltimore needed three games to win it all, but this time it was a decisive three-game sweep, 12-3, 8-4 and 6-2, the most decisive championship series in some years.

                 Final MISL 2003-2004 Standings

Before the season, St. Louis joined from the defunct WISL and 
Monterrey was added.

                          GP   W   L    PCT    GB    GF   GA
     Eastern Division
Baltimore Blast           36  25  11   .694    --   241  192
Philadelphia Kixx         36  20  16   .556   5.0   194  184
Cleveland Force           36  15  21   .417  10.0   178  200

     Central Division
Milwaukee Wave            36  26   9   .722    --   235  161
Kansas City Comets        35  17  19   .472   9.0   227  270
St. Louis Steamers        36  14  22   .389  12.0   158  205

     Western Division
Dallas Sidekicks          36  21  15   .583    --   213  167
San Diego Kickers         36  13  23   .361   8.0   160  195
Monterrey Fury            36  10  26   .278  11.0   184  216

Quarterfinals:  Kansas City defeated Philadelphia 8-5
                Dallas defeated Cleveland 7-4
Semi-finals:    Baltimore defeated Dallas 6-1 
                Milwaukee defeated Kansas City 7-3
FINALS:         Baltimore vs. Milwaukee 12-3, 8-4, 6-2

Dallas went on hiatus after the season, eventually folding.  

Leading scorers:  
                                GP  G   A  PTS
Greg Howes, Milwaukee           36  57  28  85
Genoni Martinez, Monterrey      35  39  28  67
Carlos Farias, Baltimore        35  22  43  65
Dino Develski, Kansas City      30  43  20  63
Marco Lopez, Monterrey          35  29  32  61
Todd Dusosky, Milwaukee         31  24  36  60
Denison Cabral, Baltimore       36  36  16  52
Paul Wright, San Diego          31  21  28  49
Steve Butcher, St. Louis        29  31  17  48
Goran Vasic, Philadelphia       35  14  34  48
Giuliano Celenza, Baltimore     35  33  13  46
Jamar Beasley, Kansas City      36  31  15  46
Joe Reininger, Milwaukee        33  28  17  45
Don D'Ambria, Philadelphia      36  35   9  44

Leading Goalkeepers: (min. 1300 minutes)
                           GP    MIN     SF   SV   GA   W  L   AVG
Dan Green, Milwaukee       22  1328.18  360  271   89  18  3  4.02  
Sagu, Dallas               24  1437.27  391  287  104  14  8  4.34
Peter Pappas, Philadelphia 30  1748.09  562  430  132  17 12  4.53
Victor Nogueira, San Diego 33  1872.56  558  403  155  13 20  4.97
Jim Larkin, Cleveland      28  1503.38  512  386  126  11 15  5.03
Scott Hileman, Baltimore   35  2063.22  588  413  175  24 10  5.09
Brett Phillips, St. Louis  31  1712.12  582  429  153  12 18  5.36
Hector Mireles, Monterrey  26  1444.06  509  376  133   9 14  5.53
D. J. Thorvath, Dallas     27  1536.21  487  334  153  12 14  5.98

All-Star Game: On February 29, 2004, the MISL USA defeated MISL International 10-1 at St. Charles, MO. MVP: Giuliano Celenza, Baltimore Blast (3 goals and 1 assist).

Most Valuable Player:  Greg Howes, Milwaukee Wave
Leading goalscorer:  Greg Howes, Milwaukee Wave (85 points, 57 goals)
Coach of the Year: Tatu, Dallas Sidekicks
Rookie of the Year:  Jamar Beasley, Kansas City Comets

First All-MISL Team:

F - Carlos Farias, Baltimore Blast
F - Todd Dusosky, Milwaukee Wave
F - Greg Howes, Milwaukee Wave
D - Pat Morris, Philadelphia Kixx
D - Genoni Martinez, Monterrey Fury
G - Peter Pappas, Philadelphia Kixx

Championsworld Series

Following on the enormous success of the 2003 ChampionsWorld Series, ChampionsWorld 2004 brought some of the top world teams to the United States to play exhibitions in major cities. Once again, the featured attraction was Manchester United, and tickets sold quickly. Also joining ManU were Chelsea, Celtic (Glasgow), Bayern Munich, Liverpool, A. S. Roma, Porto, A. C. Milan, and Galatasaray. Games were scheduled from July 24 through August 1 in Seattle, Chicago, East Rutherford, NJ, East Hartford, CT, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Toronto.

All of Manchester United’s games were eagerly awaited and well attended, but this year, the Red Devils weren’t invincible. At Chicago, ManU battled to a scoreless tie with Bayern Munich before falling in penalty kicks. Three days later, at Philadelphia, they fell to Celtic 2-1. Proceeding to Giants Stadium, they played A. C. Milan to a 1-1 draw before 74,000 fans before again falling on penalty kicks. Returning home winless from an American tour was a first for this team which had had four very successful tours over the past 50 years. Their archrival, Liverpool fared somewhat better, beating Celtic 5-1 at Hartford, CT and A. S. Roma 2-1 at the Meadowlands, while falling to Porto 1-0 at Toronto. Chelsea went 1-2, defeating Celtic 4-2 and A. S. Roma 3-0 before losing to A. C. Milan 2-3.

The series was over all too quickly, and once again the US fans were treated to some excellent soccer courtesy of some of the world’s best. A major concern for Year 3 would be to drum up more support for games not involving Manchester United. Although they consistently crew large crowds, the other US matches were more modestly attended, with crowds ranging from 15,000 to 40,000.

Championsworld Series: July 24, 2004 through August 1, 2004:

7/24/04  Chelsea 4, Celtic 2 (at Seattle; att: 30,504)
7/25/04  Manchester United 0, Bayern Munich 0 (2-4 PK) (at Chicago; att: 58,121)
7/26/04  Liverpool 5, Celtic 1 (at east Hartford, CT; att: 24,271)
7/28/04  Celtic 2, Manchester United 1 (at Philadelphia; att: 55,421)
7/29/04  Chelsea 3, A. S. Roma 0 (at Pittsburgh; att: 25,317)
7/30/04  Porto 1, Liverpool 0 (at Toronto; att: 40,078)
7/31/04  A. C. Milan 1, Manchester United 1 (9-8 PK) (at East Rutherford, NJ; att: 74,511)
7/31/04  A. S. Roma 1, Celtic 0 (at Toronto; att: 50,168)
8/1/04   Galatasaray 2, Porto 1 (at East Rutherford, NJ; att: 15,408)
8/2/04   A. C. Milan 3, Chelsea 2 (at Philadelphia; att: 39,123)
8/3/04   Liverpool 2, A. S. Roma 1 (at East Rutherford, NJ; att: 25,028)

2004 Olympics

Men’s Olympic Competition

The United States men’s team gathered to try and better their precedent setting performance in the 2000 Olympics where they finished fourth. Coach Glenn Myernick gathered together a new roster of talent for the qualifications in Guadalajara, Mexico on Feb 2-12. The team arrived in Mexico several days early to get acclimated and finish practice regimens. Hading the impressive roster was 2000 Olympic veteran Landon Donovan. Also featured were Alecko Eskandarian, Ed Johnson, David Testo, De Marcus Beasley, 17 year old Eddie Gaven, Bobby Convey, Chris Wingert Chad Marshall and Nat Borchers. But the roster was not quite what was hoped for – Edson Buddle and Kyle Martino left training camp with injuries; Conor Casey and Oguchi Onyewu were withheld by their European clubs, and Ricardo Clark, recovering from surgery never made it to camp.

There was a great deal of media coverage, with the Mexicans still smarting from their humiliation at the hands of the Americans at World Cup 2002, and a subsequent home loss during a 2003 friendly. Revenge was on the minds of many fans (despite the fact these were U-23 teams playing), and the fan pressure was intense. There would be no neutral matches in this tournament.

The first match was against Panama in Zapapopan. With the lineup only having 22 first-team pro starts among them, the side’s inexperience showed from the start. The defensive line was porous allowing many scoring opportunities for Panama. Despite this, the US managed a number of good scoring opportunities, and impressive performances were given by Donovan, Beasley and Donovan. The US pulled ahead with steady play in the first half. Panama then mounted a three goal comeback before Bobby Convey’s late goal salvaged a 4-3 win for the Americans.

Canada received a racous show of support from the Mexican fans as they took to the field against the US for the second match. Zak Whitbread was out with a quadriceps tear and his replacement was sidelined with a groin pull. Convey scored two goals for the 2nd straight game, and the US defense shut out Canada’s scoring line to earn a 2-0 win, sending the Americans to the semifinals. Myernick was cautiously optimistic but still saw deficiencies in possession, one-on-one defense and finishing. Meanwhile, Mexico draws Costa Rica 1-1 and finishes 2nd in their group.

The US played for glory with their meaningless victory against the Catrachos (Honduras) on February 9. Six starters were rested, but the US still pulled out a 4-3 win over Honduras, and took a day off while Mexico prepared behind closed doors for this critical match – and chance for revenge. On the 10th, a day before the semifinal, the team received the tragic news that Assistant Coach Thomas Rongen’s step-daughter was killed in a car accident. Rongen flew home while the team scouted out their venue, the 60,000 seat Jalisco Stadium while the Mexican press raised the emotional temperature. At the match, the fans booed the US national anthem and insult Landon Donovan for allegedly urinating on the field the day before. The Tri-Colores were ready for action as they clamped down on the US, scoring four unanswered goals as they cruised to victory.

Quite a sudden turn of events! The US was eliminated from the Olympics for the first time since 1976, and eliminated from a World Championship team (U-17 through World Cup) for the first time since 1995. Their streak of 19 consecutive qualifications had been the best in the world. The victory was doubly sweet for the Mexicans, as the Mexican Baseball team had earlier eliminated the US Baseball team from the Olympics. The Nats went on to play in the meaningless 3rd place game, losing to Honduras on penalty kicks (4-3) after a 1-1 draw. Mexico qualified for the Olympics but was eliminated in pool play.

In the Olympic competition, the US watched from home as a hugely successful competition ensued, with Argentina defeating Paraguay 1-0 to finally win Olympic gold – their nation’s first gold medal in 52 years, their first Olympic soccer gold ever, and South America’s first soccer gold medal since 1928.

Full Results of 2004 Olympci Men’s Competition

Women’s Olympic Competition

The 2004 Olympics were a watershed for the US Women’s team. It was an opportunity for redemption, as the US sought to bury the bitter memories of their silver-medal performance in 2000, and also a final chance for some of the legendary players to win a world championship, as Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy and Joy Fawcett had announced their plans to retire after the tournament. But great things were expected from the next generation of stars including Abby Wambach, Lindsay Tarpley, Heather O’Reilly and Shannon Boxx. The US had been through an extensive training regimen with training camps and exhibition games, and was well conditioned for the grueling schedule. The team was a mixture of veterans and the young stars who would soon assume their places. The USA geared up for qualifications with the Four Nations Tournament and friendlies before cruising through the North American Olympic qualifying series (see separate articles below). A further extensive series of friendlies served as final preparation for the big event.

The US was in Group G, with Brazil, host Greece and Australia, an easier group than at the 2003 World Cup. The US outclassed Greece in the opener on August 11, at Heraklio, totally dominating the offense, but often failing to finish. Mia Hamm was involved with all three US goals, first sending a low cross to Abby Wambach who sent it to Shannon Boxx for the first goal. Hamm then set up the second goal with a run to bring the ball into position for a cross to Wambach who took it in. Then late in the game, she found an opportunity and sent it in for the final goal for a 3-0 win. Three days later, in Thessaloniki, the Americans were up against Brazil in what was expected to be their toughest match in pool play. Despite dominating in the first half with some dazzling play, Brazil was not able to capitalize on scoring opportunities, as two excellent shots hit the goalposts. Early in the 2nd half, Wambach created a penalty situation allowing Mia Hamm to score a penalty kick, giving the US the lead. Late in the game, Lindsay Tarpley she lunged past Daniela to create a scoring opportunity for Abby Wambach who found the net, giving the US a 2-0 victory. This advanced the Nats to the quarterfinals, and they took it easy in their final Group G game, settling for a draw with Australia.

The Americans were matched against Japan in the quarterfinals. With the intensity level up, the US gave a much more impassioned performance against a dogged and determined opponent. After a long defensive stalemate, the US scored first with Kristine Lilly sending in a bouncing ball just before halftime. Early in the 2nd half, Japan scored on a well-placed free kick. In the 58th minute, Japan pulled an off-side trap, but the US was having none of that. Shannon Boxx, who was still onside, passed the ball to Abby Wambach, who went for goal with backup courtesy of Lilly and Foudy. The outcome of this four-on-keeper run was not in doubt. And it was enough for a 2-1 win. The semi-final was against Germany, and with it a chance for revenge to atone for the WWC’03 debacle. And this was not an easy game, with Germany just as determined to continue their winning ways. This was one of the best matches of the tournament, reminiscent of the ’99 and ’03 match-ups, but with a dominant United States this time. Kristine Lilly started off the scoring in the 33rd minute before the teams settled for a long scoreless battle. In a moment of high drama, Germany tied the score well into stoppage time, sending the game into extra periods. Seven minutes in, Heather O’Reilly, who had muffed an empty net opportunity, took Mia Hamm’s pass to finish off Germany, and ensure the US a model.

The Gold medal match against Brazil was tough, tumultuous and ultimately victorious. Brazil was eager for revenge after their earlier humiliation, and the old timers were gunning for a magnificent final performance. But the young stars were also eager to make their mark. Brazil was willing to win by any means possible. As a result, it was a rough, penalty-strewn match, with 47 fouls, great runs and defensive battles – and a few shocking occurrences, much to the frustration of Brazil. The US took the lead late in the first half with a fantastic goal by Lindsay Tarpley, and Pretinha equalized in the 73rd minute. Brazil had two subsequent opportunities to go ahead, but shots by Pretinha and Cristiane struck the posts. With the score deadlocked, they headed into extra time, and the US got a lucky break when the official failed to call a handball by Kate Markgraf. Finally, in the 112th minute, Abby Wambach headed the ball in to give the US the gold. Brazil walked with the silver, and Germany defeated Sweden 1-0 for bronze.

Overall, a fantastic performance by the Americans, which went far towards erasing the bitter memories of 2000 and 2003. The legends went out as winners, and prepared for their victory tour. The only negative was the disappointingly small crowds to attend the women’s competition, showing that in some areas of the world, tradition had not yet given way to the realities of women’s soccer. But throughout the competition, a new 2nd tier of female soccer powers was beginning to emerge, with Japan, Australia, Mexico and Nigeria leading the way. And the ever improving performance by Brazil showed that in a few years they may well join their male counterparts at the top of the world soccer pyramid.

Full Results of 2004 Olympci Women’s Competition

U-19 World Championships

The United States Women’s U-19 team looked to repeat their championship performance of 2002. Qualifications were held in June, and the US qualified, but it was not a walkover by any means. Opening May 28 at Ottawa, the US trounced the Dominican Republic 14-0, and two days later did the same to Trinidad & Tobago 11-1. From there things got harder. After battling Costa Rica to a 0-0 draw, the Americans beat Mexico 6-0. This was good enough to get them into the final, where a feisty Canada beat them 2-1 in overtime. But by then the US had already qualified for the finals in Thailand.

The United States had a good start at the finals. They opened on November 11 with a 3-0 shutout of South Korea and a 4-1 drubbing of Russia, both games at Phuket, Thailand, a city soon to be devastated by the Christmas season tsunami. The US wrapped up in Phuket with a 1-0 win over Spain to win Group C. In the quarterfinals they shut out Australia 2-0, but were stunned by Germany in the semi-finals, losing 3-1 in a match marred by an own goal from which they never recovered. Germany went on to win the Championship by shutting out China 2-0, while the US settled for third place, shutting out Brazil 3-0. The most notable feature of this tournament was the substantial improvement in play across the board; the women’s game was truly coming into its own at the youth level as much as at the senior level.

Men’s National Team

The US National Team had come off a 10-2-4 record for 2003, the best among CONCACAF nations. The big task at hand for 2004 was preparation for qualifications for World Cup 2006. The qualification rounds f ro CONCACAF had been revamped: All teams would have to participate in all rounds, although for the US, the first round was expected to be an easy affair. Several key players were reaching the later part of their careers, so a major impetus on securing new talent was made.

Arena moved Chris Albright to right back for the first game of the year, a friendly against Denmark at the Home Depot Center on January 18. The game featured several younger players, and the US did well, out-shooting Denmark 16-4 on the way to a 1-1 draw. Five more friendlies would follow, as Arena tinkered with the roster as they trained for the first round of qualifying.

One month later, the US traveled to Amsterdam where they lost a close match to the Netherlands 1-0. This game marked the first appearance of a lineup composed primarily of players from the World Cup. The team created some good scoring opportunities despite the pressure and their poor passing. The teams each had 7 shots, but only Robben found the net, in the 57th minute. Corey Gibbs effectively neutralized Ruud van Nistelroy.

On March 13, the US played Haiti to a 1-1 draw in a friendly. Much more impressive was the friendly against Poland in Plock, the first of a home and home series. Despite being outshot 9-4, the US defensive line held admirably, and Brad Friedel made three key saves to shut out the Polish scoring machine, while DaMarcus Beasley found an opening, and scored the game’s only goal, thus giving Bruce Arena his first win in Europe. This was followed by a close-fought match against Mexico in Dallas. It was the first USA game in Dallas in some years and over 45,000 fans turned out, many of them Mexican. But the US was not intimidated and in fact they totally dominated, out-shooting Mexico 14-3. As was frequently the case, finishing was a major problem, but the defensive lines both held as a war of attrition continued well into stoppage time. Finally, in the 93rd minute, Eddie Pope broke through and scored the winning goal. This was sweet revenge for the US after Mexico’s humiliating elimination of the Americans from the Olympics. The match also extended the USA’s unscored-upon streak to 433 minutes. The training regimen continued with an easy 4-0 win over Honduras at Foxboro.

The first round of CONCACAF Qualification saw the busiest weekends in CONCACAF history as 24 teams vied for 12 spots in the semifinals. Those weekends created major challenges for MLS which had full slates of league games scheduled. Arena planned to rely largely on MLS players for this round, and as many as nine other countries were expected to call up MLS players as well. FIFA’s new international schedules would reduce snags related to player call-ups, ending the perennial uncertainties for crucial games like these. CONCACAF boasted four current or former USA Team coaches, in Bruce Arena, Steve Sampson, Fernando Clavijo and Bora Milutinovic. The USA had an easy schedule – two games against Grenada. As expected, the US swept the series, but it was no cakewalk. The first game was a blow-out, with the US out-shooting Grenada 34-6. Despite this, the score was only 3-0. courtesy of a pair of goals by DaMarcus Beasley and a late score by Greg Vanney. The recap, on June 2-0 at Grenada, was even closer, despite the US winning the shot battle 22-6. Donovan opened the scoring six minutes into the game but Roberts soon tied it for Grenada. Wolff then sent the US ahead, and Beasley extended the lead late in the 2nd half. Charles brought Grenada to within 1 a minute later, and the teams battled for the final 12+ minutes. It wasn’t pretty, but the US won 4-3 and advanced. One thing was clear – there were no easy opponents in qualifying.

On July 11, the US returned to Chicago for their first game there in a number of years as they battled Poland to a 1-1 draw before 39,529 fans, many Polish-Americans rooting for the visitors.

A number of challenges presented themselves to Bruce Arena as he assembled his roster for the next round of qualifying. This would involve a six game series with Panama, El Salvador and Jamaica, with the top two teams advancing to the final Hexagonal in 2005. With Brad Friedel recovering from a quadriceps injury, Arena gave playing time to Tim Howard, Kasey Keller, Johnny Walker and Tony Meola. A bigger concern was the back line, where only Frankie Hedjuk was a given. Greg Vanney had performed well, but was recovering from knee surgery. With concerns about the availability of John O’Brien and Claudio Reyna, Landon Donovan was given time at Midfield. Brian McBride was very strong at forward, with Conor Casey and Brian Ching showing promise.

The US opened the second round on August 18, 2004 with a grueling match against Jamaica at Kingston. Undaunted by the 27,000 raucous fans, the US faced down an aggressive opening performance by the Reggae Boyz, frustrating their scoring attempts, but able to muster little on their own. The Reggae Boyz slowed down later in the half, but managed to open scoring early in the 2nd half. The teams settled into a defensive battle for much of the 2nd half, with both sides deflecting numerous scoring opportunities, before Brian Ching, in just his 3rd International match, blasted Landon Donovan’s pass into the net to salvage a tie for the Americans.

The new qualification format means frequent home and away matches scheduled four days apart. Although this created scheduling efficiency, it was a challenge even for the best of teams. The US compounded their challenges when a dominating offensive performance against an exhausted El Salvador nearly came to naught through poor finishing. Despite out-shooting El Salvador 19-1 at Foxboro on September 8, the best they could manage was a 2-0 shutout. Still recovering their nerves four days later, they put on one of their worst performances in years as they settled for a 1-1 draw against a much weaker Panamanian side. Arena made fine lineup changes for this match, but the US was still sluggish, and Panama, coming off a 2-1 win over Jamaica, took control and nearly pulled off a major upset after scoring late in the 2nd half. Only a last desperate shot by a possibly off sides Cobi Jones saved the US from disaster.

The Americans rebounded for their next series, earning a rare away victory on October 9 as they shut out a tired and dispirited El Salvador 2-0. The Salvadorans were never in this game, despite keeping the scoring close. After a sloppy start, the US settled down and took control for the rest of the match. Mathis put them on the scoreboard in the 29th minute, and Eddie Johnson, in his national debut, scored the nightcap in the 75th. Four days later, the US turned the tables on Panama at Washington DC. Dominating from the start, the experienced US lineup shut down Panama from the start, as the front line put on a scoring show. Donovan scored a pair and Eddie Johnson, who had subbed in at the 65th minute in only his second international, scored a hat trick to put the game out of reach. Final score: 6-0, and the US advanced to the hexagonal. This rendered the final match somewhat superfluous, and the US eased off, settling for a 1-1 draw against Jamaica at Columbus OH on November 17, which extended their unbeaten qualification streak to a record 13 games. The goal, by Eddie Johnson gave him 5 goals in his first 61 minutes as an international, and made him the only US National to score in his first three qualification matches. With their ticket to the Hexagonal, the US took the rest of the year off. But by the end of the year, a serious labor dispute was brewing between the USSF and the National team players over salary scales and other issues and the danger arose of players not being signed before World Cup qualificatiomns resumed in February, 2005.

2004 USA Men’s National Team results

                 2004 Totals:   8W, 6D, 1L
Nov 17 04  D 1-1  Jamaica             9,088  Columbus, OH, USA (WCQ’06)
               Johnson (15)
Oct 13 04  W 6-0  Panama             19,793  Washington, DC, USA (WCQ’06)
               Landon Donovan (21,57), Ed Johnson (71,85,88), O.G. (90) 
Oct 09 04  W 2-0  El Salvador        20,000  San Salvador, El Salvador (WCQ’06)
               McBride (29), Johnson (76)
Sep 08 04  D 1-1  Panama             14,200  Panama City, Panama (WCQ’06)
               Jones (92)
Sep 04 04  W 2-0  El Salvador        25,266  Foxboro, MA, USA (WCQ’06)
               Ching (5), Donovan 69)
Aug 18 04  D 1-1  Jamaica            27,000  Kingston, Jamaica (WCQ’06)
               Ching (89)
Jul 11 04  D 1-1  Poland             39,529  Chicago, IL, USA
               Boconegra (88)
Jun 20 04  W 3-2  Grenada            15,267  St. George’s, Grenada (WCQ’06)
               Donovan (6), Wolff (19), Beasley (77)
Jun 13 04  W 3-0  Grenada             9,137  Columbus, OH, USA (WCQ’06)
               Beasley (46,71), Vanney (92)
Jun 02 04  W 4-0  Honduras           11,553  Foxboro, MA, USA
               McBride (22,37), Lewis (77), Sanneh (81) 
Apr 28 04  W 1-0  Mexico             45,048  Dallas, TX, USA
Mar 31 04  W 1-0  Poland             10,000  Plock, Poland
               Beasley (26)
Mar 13 04  D 1-1  Haiti               8,714  Miami, FL, USA
               Califf (94)
Feb 18 04  L 0-1  Netherlands        27,000  Amsterdam, Neth.
Jan 18 04  D 1-1  Denmark            10,461  Carson, CA, USA
               Donovan (77-PK)

Women’s National Team

The US Women’s team launched on an ambitious schedule to prepare for the 2004 Olympics which would be the swan song for several of the team’s stalwarts, and mark the end of a major era for the team. The year was a grueling one, with 35 games, the most outside of the 2000 season.

Te Women’s National team opened with a 3-1 win over Mexico on January 12. Then it was off to the four nations tournament. Tarpley was the star at the four nations tournament, scoring three goals as the US defeated Sweden 3-0, tied China 0-0 and beat Canada 2-0. The team was in pretty good shape heading into the Olympic qualification series.

Unlike the men’ the women had a good time at qualifications. In fact, it was a romp. The USA opened February 25 with a 7-0 trouncing of Trinidad & Tobago, with Shannon Boxx landing a hat trick and Mia Hamm scored a pair. It was Cindy Parlow’s turn for a hat trick when they matched feet against Haiti. Along with her 3 goals, MacMillan, Tarpley, Wambach and Wagner found the net, as did one of Haiti’s players, making for an 8-0 rout. The strongest competition came from Mexico who held the Americans to a single goal, while adding an own goal of their own. But the US shut out their scoring line completely as they took a 2-0 victory.

Moving to the semifinals, the US continued their shutout streak as they defeated Costa Rica 4-0 before again facing the greatly improved Mexico in the finals. In this game, Mexico took the early lead with two quick goals by Dominguez in the opening minutes. The US rallied and shut down the Mexican offense, but took some time to find their own form, with Tarpley scoring just before the half. A close struggle ensued in the second half, with the US finally pulling even with a goal from Wambach in the 79th minute. Five minutes later, Julie Foudy gave the US the lead, which they held to the final whistle. The US would go to Athens, and the legendary stalwarts of the team would have their chance for final glory. Mexico also qualified, having stunned the heavily favored Canada in the semifinals. The US dominance was as expected; not counting the games against México, they had outscored their opponents 19-0 and outshot them 76-2. But Mexico was rapidly becoming a force to be reckoned with in the world of women’s soccer.

The team did not rest for long. Nine days later they found themselves in Portugal for the Algarve Cup. Like many previous encounters, they did well in Portugal. The Nats opened with a 5-1 win over France and a 1-0 shutout of Denmark. Despite then losing the Sweden 3-1, the USA finished in a three-way tie for first place in their division and advanced to the first-place game where they beat Norway 4-1 to win the Cup.

Coach Heinrichs then took the team through an extensive training regimen which included a series of exhibitions throughout the USA. The team’s stellar play continued as they defeated Australia, Mexico and China. Brazil was beaten soundly 5-2, and only Canada and Japan could even keep the score close, with Canada holding the US to 1 goal, and Japan managing a 1-1 draw. The residency camp then broke for two weeks so players could take part in the WUSA Festival (see story above). This was followed by more decisive 3-1 victories against Australia and China in July and early August. Heading into the Olympic Games, the US was looking pretty good, having gone 16-2-1 in 2004.

During July, the Women’s U-21 team played well at the Nordic U-21 Women’s Cup. Pool play was consistent: The US played four teams – Finland, Norway, Germany, and Sweden. Same result: Victory. Same score: 3-0, for all games. The US earned a spot in the final where they beat Sweden by – you guessed it – 3-0, to win the trophy.

Heading into the final weeks before the Olympics, Coach Heinrichs worked on sharpening the team’s focus and cutting the roster down to size although this task appeared almost completed as the last several friendlies involved largely the same roster. The training camps had been grueling and the two-week break for the WUSA festival was a welcome opportunity for the players to rest and for Heinrichs to ponder her final lineup. Brianna Scurry locked down her position early. Shannon Boxx, Kristine Lilly and Aly Wagner were very impressive and secured their midfielder spots early on. Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach were no-brainers for the forward line. The US was placed in Group G with Greece, Brazil and Australia – certainly not the toughest lineup of opponents imaginable. The Olympic Tournament turned out to be a grand final hurrah for the veteran players (see article above).

After the gold medal victory at the Olympics, the team engaged in a well-attended victory tour of the US, to give the local fans one last opportunity to see the legendary players who would soon be retiring. The Nats were again in fine form as their juggernaut made the tour a romp, with the team going 8-1-1. They got off to a slow start, barely edging Iceland 4-3. But they quickly recovered, securing consecutive shutouts of New Zealand (twice – with three goals by Mia Hamm) and Mexico, followed by two convincing victories over Ireland. The second game was a memorable one for Abby Wambach who scored all five goals in the game. Only Denmark proved troublesome, as they forced a draw and then won the recap 3=1 at Philadelphia. The tour concluded with a 5-0 win over Mexico at the Home Depot Center. This marked the end of the road for Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy and Joy Fawcett – at least until their expected enshrinement at the US Soccer Hall of Fame in a couple years’ time. The team then took a break to prepare for the major events of 2005.

2004 USA Women’s National Team results

                2004 Totals:   29W, 4D, 2L
Dec 08 04  W 5-0  Mexico             15,549  Carson, CA, USA
               Wagner (8,66), Wambach (17,24), Boxx (44)
Nov 06 04  L 1-3  Denmark            14,812  Philadelphia, PA, USA
               Wambach (48)
Nov 03 04  D 1-1  Denmark            18,885  East Rutherford, NJ, USA
               Hamm (91)
Oct 23 04  W 5-0  Ireland            16,991  Houston, TX, USA
               Abby Wambach (47,76,79,84,90)
Oct 20 04  W 5-1  Ireland            12,856  Chicago, IL, USA
               Cindy Parlow (35,42,59), Abby Wambach (54), Cat Reddick (56)
Oct 16 04  W 1-0  Mexico             20,435  Kansas City, MO, USA
               Hucles (36)
Oct 10 04  W 6-0  New Zealand        18,806  Cincinnati, OH, USA
               Hamm (25), Lilly (26), Wagner (51), Foudy (55), Parlow (66,77)
Oct 03 04  W 5-0  New Zealand        16,554  Portland, OR, USA
               Hamm (15,55), Wambach (59), Lilly (66), Reddick (81)
Sep 29 04  W 3-0  Iceland             6,386  Pittsburgh, PA, USA
               Parlow (2), Wambach (18), Lilly (61)
Sep 25 04  W 4-3  Iceland            14,870  Rochester, NY, USA
               Wambach (25,42), Hamm (52), Mitts (93)
Aug 26 04  W 2-1  Brazil             10,416  Athens, Greece (OLY’04)
               Tarpley (39), Wambach (112)
Aug 23 04  W 2-1  Germany             5,165  Heraklio, Greece (OLY’04)
               Lilly (32), O’Reilly (99)
Aug 20 04  W 2-1  Japan               1,418  Thessaloniki, Greece (OLY’04)
               Lilly (43), Wambach (58)
Aug 17 04  D 1-1  Australia           3,320  Thessaloniki, Greece (OLY’04)
               Lilly (19)
Aug 14 04  W 2-0  Brazil             17,123  Thessaloniki, Greece (OLY’04)
               Hamm (58), Wambach (78) 
Aug 11 04  W 3-1  Greece             16,000  Heraklio, Greece (OLY’04)
               Boxx (14), Wambach (30), Hamm (81) 
Aug 01 04  W 3-1  China              15,093  Hartford, CT, USA
               Wagner (14), Hamm (33), Wambach (69)
Jul 21 04  W 3-1  Australia          10,276  Blaine, MN, USA
               Boxx (56), Hamm (76), Wambach (81)
Jul 03 04  W 1-0  Canada              9,110  Nashville, TN, USA
               Mitts (73)
Jun 06 04  D 1-1  Japan               7,525  Louisville, KY, USA
               Wambach (50)
May 09 04  W 3-0  Mexico             17,805  Albuquerque, NM, USA
               Parlow (52), Hamm (64), Chalupny (87)
Apr 24 04  W 5-1  Brazil             11,527  Birmingham, AL, USA
                       Foudy (13), Wambach (31,42), Welsh (86), Hamm (87)
Mar 20 04  W 4-1  Norway              1,500  Algarve, Poland (AC ’04)
               Wambach (30, 39, 51), Tarpley (42)
Mar 18 04  L 1-3  Sweden                500  Lagos, Portugal (AC ’04)
               Reddick (86)
Mar 16 04  W 1-0  Denmark               500  Quarteira, Portugal (AC ’04)
               Hucles (62)
Mar 14 04  W 5-1  France                500  Ferreiras, Portugal (AC ’04)
               Wambach (16), Hamm (27-PK), Hucles (31 33), Tarpley (47)
Mar 05 04  W 3-2  Mexico              2,500  San Jose, Costa Rica (OLQ’04)
               Tarpley (45), Wambach (81), Foudy (87)
Mar 03 04  W 4-0  Costa Rica          4,000  San Jose, Costa Rica (OLQ’04)
               Wagner (6), Wambach (27), Lilly (30), Boxx (52)
Feb 29 04  W 2-0  Mexico              3,000  San Jose, Costa Rica (OLQ’04)
               Og (10), Wambach (26)
Feb 27 04  W 8-0  Haiti               2,000  San Jose, Costa rica (OLQ’04)
               Wagner (12), Parlow (17, 73, 87), O.G., MacMillan (47), 
               Tarpley (63), Wambach (81)
Feb 25 04  W 7-0  Trinidad & Tobago     750  San Jose, Costa Rica (OLQ’04)
               Boxx (22, 37, 81), Lilly (25), Hamm (41, 44), Wambach (42) 
Feb 03 04  W 2-0  Canada              1,000  Shenzen, china (FNT)
               Tarpley (13), Fawcett (81-PK) 
Feb 01 04  D 0-0  China               5,000  Shenzen, China (FNT)
Jan 30 04  W 3-0  Sweden             35,000  Zhensen, China (FNT)
               Boxx (11), Tarpley (51, 66)
Jan 12 04  W 3-1  Mexico             23,176  Dallas, TX, USA
               Parlow (18), Wambach (58, 90)

U. S. Open Cup

Once again, there were some surprises in the U. S. Open Cup competition. Three PDL teams advanced to the third round – Boulder Rapids Reserves, Chicago Fire reserves and Cape Cod Crusaders. No upsets in the third round, as the senior league teams defeated their lesser-ranked opponents. But the fourth round was a different story as four MLS teams were ousted by their A-League opponents: Minnesota Thunder defeated the Los Angeles Galaxy 1-0, Charleston Battery defeated the MetroStars 1-0, Rochester Rhinos eliminated the New England Revolution on PK’s after a 1-1 draw, and the Richmond Kickers defeated D. C. United 2-1. In other action, Chicago defeated Columbus, Dallas ousted Colorado 3-0 and San Jose Earthquakes defeated the Portland Timbers 3-0.

The A-League teams made a good effort in the quarterfinals with some strong performances, but the MLS teams prevailed in every interleague match-up. San Jose had to resort to penalty kicks to put away Minnesota after a 2-2 draw. Chicago Fire beat Richmond 1-0, while Kansas City trounced Dallas 4-0. Charleston kept the A-League hopes alive as they advanced by defeating Rochester 1-0, but they fell in overtime in the semi-final to the Chicago Fire 1-0. Kansas City and San Jose were largely stalemated in the other semi-final, with the only score achieved by the Wizards’ Simutenkov on a penalty kick.

The championship match was another defensive battle, with the teams deadlocked until extra time, when Igor Simutenkov scored the golden goal to give the Kansas City Wizards their first Open Cup title. The hometown crowd of 8,819 cheered as Lamar Hunt’s team won the trophy that was named after him.

Americans Abroad

In the 2003-04 european leagues, American players continued to make some of their best showings ever. Brad Friedel and Kasey Keller maintained their starting spots with Blackburn and Tottenham of the English Premiership. Claudio Reyna was in rotation for a starting spot with Manchester City as they fought relegation. Steve Cherundolo was a stalwart with Hannover in the Bundesliga, but earned many yellow cards. Greg Vanney had his most appearances ever with Bastia of France’s Ligue 1, and Tim Howard appeared in 32 games with Manchester United and manned the posts as ManU downed Milwall 3-0 to take the FA Cup. Howard became the first American to play on a FA Cup winning team. For good measure he won the preseason Community Shield. Unfortunately, he lost his starting spot in 2004-05 because of blunders in Champions league and early regular season matches. He rebounded though, notching three League Cup shutouts, earning a starting spot for a Champions League match. Clint Mathis struggled to regain his regular starting spot with Hannover 96.

Gregg Berhalter, Eddie Lewis and Marcus Hahnemann continued to be stalwarts in the lower divisions. After steady work in the 2nd division, Conor Casey landed a spot in the Bundesliga with Mainz and made numerous trips off the bench. Robbie Russell, who had toiled since 2001 at Sogndal Norway, was transferred to Norway’s best club, Rosenborg for a $738,000 transfer fee, where he immediately made an impact, helping to lead Rosenborg to its 13th Norwegian league title. Brian McBride continued with Fulham, battling a bevy of other forwards for a starting spot, and Zak Whitbread signed on with Liverpool. DaMarcus Beasley signed with Dutch club PSV and scored in his first game. By year’s end, he had scored 7 goals in 21 games. Beasley joined Tim Howard and Jonathan Spector (ManU), Zak Whitbread (Liverpool), Robbie Russell (Rosenborg), Peter Philipakos (Olympiakos), and John O’Brien (Ajax Amsterdam) to take part in Champions League competition; a record representation by American players. Daniel Hernandez was a regular with Nexaca, and Claudio Reyna got off to a great 2004-05 start before being sidelined with injury.

International Tours

The ChampionsWorld series again took place, pitting Manchester United and several other prominent European teams against each other in a series of exhibitions at major cities throughout the US. Once again, the series was very successful, drawing large crowds (see separate section above). MLS again sent a number of their teams on tour in Europe as part of their spring training regimen. The US performances continued to improve, with the MetroStars even winning the La Manga Cup.

MetroStars to Spain: February 25, 2004 through March 5, 2004. Results: 3 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss.

2/25/04  MetroStars 0, Viking (Norway D1) 1 (La Manga Cup)
2/28/04  MetroStars 3, Bod/Glint (Norway D1) 1 (La Manga Cup)
3/1/04   MetroStars 3, Dinamo Kiev (Ukraine D1) 2 (La Manga Cup)
3/3/04   MetroStars 0, Real Murcia (Spain D1) 0
3/5/04   MetroStars 1, Viking (Norway, D1) 0 (La Manga Cup)

San Jose Earthquakes to Spain: February 25, 2004 through March 5, 2004. Results: 2 wins, 2 draws, 0 losses.

2/25/04  San Jose 3, Sundsvall (Sweden D1) 1 (La Manga Cup)
2/28/04  San Jose 3, Stabaek (Norway D1) 1 (La Manga Cup)
3/2/04   San Jose 1, Vikings (Norway D1) 1 (La Manga Cup) 
3/5/04   San Jose 1, Dinamo Kiev (D1) 1 (La Manga Cup)

Columbus Crew to Spain: March 3, 2004 through March 11, 2004. Results: 1 win, 2 draws, 0 losses.

3/3/04   Columbus 3, Girona (D3) 3 
3/9/04   Columbus 1, Sabadell (D3) 1 
3/11/04  Columbus 4, Barcelona B (D3) 0

Dallas Burn to Spain: February 26, 2004 through March 4, 2004. Results: 2 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss.

2/26/04  Dallas 1, Odd Grenland (Norway D1) 2 (La Manga Cup)
2/28/04  Dallas 2, Dinamo Kiev (Ukraine D1) 2 (La Manga Cup)
3/1/04   Dallas 2, Stabaek (Norway D1) 1 (La Manga Cup)
3/4/04   Dallas 1, Bodo/Glint (Norway D1) 0 (La Manga Cup)

Chicago Fire to Portugal: February 24, 2004 through March 2, 2004. Results: 2 wins, 2 draws, 0 losses.

2/24/04  Chicago 4, Marinhense (D3) 2
2/26/04  Chicago 2, Academica (D1) 2 (La Manga Cup)
2/29/04  Chicago 4, Uniao de Santarem (D3) 0
3/2/04   Chicago 0, Beleneses (D1) 0

New England Revolution to Portugal: March 6, 2004 through March 12, 2004. Results: 3 wins, 0 draws, 1 losses.

3/6/04   New England 6, Sao Roque (D4) 1
3/9/04   New England 1, Uniao Micalense (D3) 0
3/12/04  New England 3, Rabo de Peixe (D4) 1
3/17/04  New England 2, Santa Clara (D2) 4

Los Angeles Galaxy to France: February 25, 2004 through March 3, 2004. Results:

2/25/04  Los Angeles 0, Istres (D2) 2
3/1/04   Los Angeles 2, St. Raphael (D5) 1
3/3/04   Los Angeles 1, Nice reserves (D4) 0

D. C. United to Mexico: March 4, 2004 through March 11, 2004. Results: 0 wins, 1 draw, 2 losses.

3/4/04   D. C. United 0, UAG (D1) 1
3/9/04   D. C. United 1, Guadalajara (D1) 1
3/11/04  D. C. United 1, Atlas (D1) 2

The College Game

NCAA Soccer lost the services of two esteemed veterans when Jim Lennox retired after 27 seasons at Hartwick State and Fred Schmalz retired from Evansville, being one of three NCAA coaches whose careers spanned five decades. That left Greg Myers at Navy the sole active coach with that honor.

NCAA Division I Men’s tournament: In the quarterfinals, California-Santa Barbara defeated Virginia Commonwealth 4-1, Duke defeated Virginia 5-0, Maryland defeated St. John’s 1-0, and Indiana defeated Tulsa 4-0. In the semi-finals, California-Santa Barbara defeated Duke 5-0 and Indiana defeated Maryland 3-2 (2 OT). In the championship, held at Home Depot Center in Carson, CA, Indiana defeated California-Santa Barbara 1-1 (2 OT, 3-2 PK).
NCAA Division I Women’s tournament: In the quarterfinals, Santa Clara defeated Illinois 2-0, Notre Dame defeated Portland 3-1, UCLA defeated Ohio State 1-0 and Princeton defeated Washington 3-1. In the semi-finals, Notre Dame defeated Santa Clara 1-0 and UCLA defeated Princeton 3-1. In the championship, held at SAS Soccer Stadium in Cary, NC, Notre Dame defeated UCLA 1-1 (2 OT, 4-3 PK).
NCAA Men’s Division II Tournament: In the quarterfinals, SIU Edwardsville defeated Tusculum 3-2, UNC Pembroke defeated Central Arkansas 1-0, Seattle defeated Incarnate Word 1-0 and Dowling defeated Franklin Pierce 1-0. In the semi-finals, SIU Edwardsville defeated UNC Pembroke 4-1 and Seattle defeated Dowling 2-1. In the championship, Seattle defeated SIU Edwardsville 2-1.
NCAA Division II Women’s tournament: In the quarterfinals, Carson-Newman defeated Lincoln Memorial 3-1, Adelphi defeated Franklin Pierce 2-2 (2 OT, shootout), Nebraska-Omaha defeated Ashland 4-0 and Metro State defeated Seattle 1-0. In the semi-finals, Adelphi defeated Carson-Newman 2-1 and Metro State defeated Nebraska-Omaha 2-0. In the championship, held at MSU Soccer Field in Wichita Falls, TX, Metro State defeated Adelphi 3-2.
NCAA Division III Men’s tournament: In the sectionals, UC Santa Cruz defeated Gustavus Adolphus 1-0, Geneseo State defeated Williams 1-0, Messiah defeated Wartburg 2-0 and Salisbury defeated Richard Stockton 1-0. In the semi-finals, UC Santa Cruz defeated Geneseo State 3-1 and Messiah defeated Salisbury 1-0. In the championship, held in Greensboro, NC, Messiah defeated UC Santa Cruz 4-0.
NCAA Division III Women’s tournament: In the sectionals, Wheaton (MA) defeated Oneonta State 3-0, Wheaton (IL) defeated Chris Newport 4-0, Messiah defeated Mary Washington 3-0 and Puget Sound defeated Washington-St. Louis 3-0. In the semi-finals, Wheaton (IL) defeated Wheaton (MA) 3-0 and Puget Sound defeated Messiah 3-0. In the championship, Wheaton (IL) defeated Puget Sound 1-1 (2 OT, shootout).
NAIA Men’s Champion: Lindenwood (MO) defeated Auburn Montgomery 1-0.
NAIA Women’s Champion: Lindsey Wilson (KY) defeated Concordia (OR) 2-0.
NJCAA Division I Men’s Championship: Mercy County CC defeated Georgia Perimeter 3-1.
NJCAA Division III Men’s Championship: Richland College defeated Herkimer County CC 2-1.
NJCAA Division I Women’s Championship: Monroe CC defeated Young Harris College 6-2.
NJCAA Division III Women’s Championship: Richland defeated Mohawk Valley 0-0 (PK).
NCCAA Division 1 Men’s Championship: Midamerica Nazarene defeated The Masters, 2-1.
NCCAA Division 2 Men’s Championship: Northland Baptist Bible defeated Baptist Bible 3-2.
NCCAA Division 1 Women’s Championship: Trinity International defeated Mt. Vernon Nazarene 2-0.
NCCAA Division 2 Women’s Invitational Championship: Baptist Bible (PA) defeated Clearwater Christian 4-0.

Final Men's Division 1 NSCAA Coaches' Poll:

1.  UC Santa Barbara
2.  North Carolina-Greensboro
3.  Southern Methodist
4.  Indiana
5.  Maryland
6.  New México
7.  Notre Dame
8.  Virginia
9.  Wake Forest
10. Boston College

Final Women's Division 1 NSCAA Coaches' Poll:

1.  North Carolina
2.  Notre Dame
3.  Virginia
4.  Santa Clara
5.  Penn State
6.  Portland
7.  Texas A&M;
8.  Ohio State
9.  Florida
10. Tennessee

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

G - Christopher Sawyer, Notre Dame
D - Ugo Ihemelu, Southern Methodist
D - Drew Moor, Indiana
D - Gonzalo Segares, Virginia Commonwealth
M - Mike Enfield, UCLA
M - C. J. Klaas, Washington
M - Sacha Kljestan, Seton Hall
M - Danny O'Rouke, Indiana
F - Justin Moose, Wake Forest
F - Randi Patterson, UNC Greensboro
F - Ryan Pore, Tulsa
F - Jeff Rowland, New Mexico

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

G - Nicole Barnhart, Stanford
D - Keely Dowling, Tennessee
D - Holly Gault, Kansas
D - Natalie Jacobs, Penn State
M - Lori Chalupny, North Carolina
M - Lindsey Huie, Portland
M - Diana Matheson, Princeton
M - Leslie Osborn, Santa Clara
F - Esmerelda Negron, Princeton
F - Heather O'Reilly, North Carolina
F - Christine Sinclair, Portland
F - Tiffany Weiner, Penn State

Men's National Award Winners:

Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy: Danny O'Rourke, Indiana
NSCAA Coach of the Year (Division 1): Tim Vom Steeg, UC Santa Barbara

Women's National Award Winners:

Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy: Christine Sinclair, Portland
NSCAA Coach of the Year (Division 1): Julie Shackford, Princeton

Awards & Tournaments

Women’s Premier Soccer League: California Storm won the WPSL Championship round-robin tournament. Standings | Stats

US Open Cup Championship: Kansas City Wizards (MLS) defeated Chicago Fire (MLS) 1-0.
National Amateur Cup: Assyrian Winged Bill (IL) defeated Denver Kickers 4-3 on August 8, 2004.
National Women’s Amateur Cup: Eclipse Cobras (IL) defeated FC Littleton (CO) 4-0 on August 8, 2004.
USASA National Open Cup: Chico Rooks (MPSL) defeated Legends SC (Dallas, TX) 3-1 in Orlando FL on August 7, 2004.
USASA National Women’s Open Cup Championship: Ajax (So Cal – WPSL) defeated Detroit Jaguars 2-1 on August 7, 2004.

CONCACAF Champions Cup 2004: Quarterfinals: Alajuela (Costa Rica) defeated San Jose Earthquakes 3-0, 0-1 (1-3 aggregate). Chicago fire defeated San Juan Jaboteh (Trinidad & Tobago) 2-3, 4-0 (6-5 aggregate). Semifinals: Saprissa defeated Chicago Fire 2-0, 1-2 (3-2 aggregate). Alajuela defeated Saprissa in the final 1-1 and 4-0 (5-1 aggregate).

World Futsal Championships:The US ended its run in the quarterfinals with an 8-5 loss to Brazil, finishing in 7th place for the tournament. Their best showing since 1992.

Intercontinental Futsal CupWorld United FC represented the United States, and was trounced badly in pool play- losing 13-1 to Playas de Castellón of Spain and 7-1 to PSTC Londrina of Japan. Carlos Barbosa F of Brazil won the cup.

Interligua: Tournament was held in Carson, CA. Participants were Santos Laguna, Morelia, Toluca, Guadalajara in group A and Atlas, America, UANL and Atlante in Group B. The two top teams from each group advanced to the two final matches whose winners were awarded spots in the Copa Liberatores. In these matches, Santos Laguna defeated Atlas 5-3 on penalties after drawing 2-2 in regulation, and America defeated Morelia 3-1.

James P. McGuire Cup (US Youth Soccer Boys U-19):HSC Bulls ’85 (Hawaii)
Andy Stone Cup (US Youth Soccer Boys U-18): Busch SC (MO)
Don Greer Cup (US Youth Soccer Boys U-17): Scott Gallagher (MO)
D.J. Niotis Cup (US Youth Soccer Boys U-16): Casa Mia Bays (MD)
ADIDAS Cup (US Youth Soccer Boys U-15):Arsenal (CA-South)
US Youth Soccer Boys U-14:Celtic Harps (CA-South)
J. Ross Stewart Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-19): Pleasanton Rage (CA-North)
Frank Kelly Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-18): Michigan hawks (MI)
Laura Moynihan Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-17): So Cal United (CA-South)
Patricia Masotto Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-16): Eclipse Select (IL)
Kristine Lilly Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-15): Mustang Blast (CA-North)
Elmer Ehlers Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-14): Eagles (CA-South)

Hall of Fame: In 2004, the US Soccer Hall of Fame inducted Eric Wynalda, Paul Caligiuri, Michelle Akers and Mike Windischmann. The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Hall of Fame inducted John McHern and Tim Schum. The National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association (NISOA) Hall of Fame inducted Brian Hall, Joseph Muntre, Paul Tamberino and Don Wilbur. The American Youth Soccer Organization inducted John Enroth, Carin Jennings-Gabarra and Bill McLean.

Honda Award (Player of the Year): Landon Donovan, Cat Reddick (North Carolina)
USSF Players of the Year: Landon Donovan, Abby Wambach
USSF Young Players of the Year: Ed Johnson, Heather O’Reilly
NSCAA Honor Award: Dr. Thomas B. Fleck, Jr.
NISOA Honor Award: George Faragallah