The Year in American Soccer, 2006

World Cup 2006 | MLS | USL | USL First Division | USL Second Division | USL-PDL | Super Y-League | WPSL | NPSL | W-League | MISL | Men’s National Team | Women’s National Team | U.S. Open Cup | International friendlies | Women’s U-20 World Cup | The College Game | Awards & Tournaments

World Cup 2006 loomed as the year started, with the US having a chance to make their best showing yet, following their success at World Cup 2002. This was high on the minds of most US soccer enthusiasts as the US worked their way through a series of friendlies to get needed practice and conditioning. But there were many other developments happening throughout all levels of US soccer. As always, there were many leagues and tournaments and cups to keep the soccer fan occupied. The United States Soccer Federation elected Sunil Gulati as their new President. He inherited a federation that had come a long way in 20 years, from insolvency to a $45,000,000 surplus, and a minimal national team program to one that was well funded and comprehensive. Late in 2005, a consortium of ABC, ESPN and Univision bought the US rights to FIFA events through 2014 for $425,000,000, with the English rights alone going for over $100m, far ahead of the $40m from the last deal. MLS secured their own broadcasting deal with ABC and ESPN which involved the league being paid for broadcasting rights for the first time.

The major disappointment of 2006 was the USA’s poor performance in World Cup 2006, which was particularly devastating considering its success in 2002 and in the ’06 qualifying tournaments. After this debacle, the USSF began a major review of the USA youth player development program, with a particular eye to improving players’ technical skills, and methods for evaluating youth coaches, possibly away from rewarding them for wins and towards rewarding them for number and quality of players promoted. Prime targets were the national coaching schools and the U-17 residency camp at Bradenton.

In other areas, the MLS rebounded and saw improvement in their newest teams and overall improvement in player quality, USL began their own rebound at the upper divisions, and the NPSL and WPSL both saw major expansions. The Women’s team had a very successful year in terms of wins, although it was light on significant tournaments, and the senior and youth teams made showings in several Cups. The senior team won the Four Nations tournament, drew in the Algarve Cup final, and won the Peace Queen Cup and the Gold Cup, while the U-21 and U-20 teams came close to winning the Nordic Cup and U-20 World Cup respectively. Overall, outside of World Cup 2006, it was a good year for American Soccer.

World Cup 2006

The US had high expectations coming into World Cup 2006. It would be hard to top their performance of 2002, where they made the final eight. The 2006 team was better, but their pool play competition was tougher as well. Czech Republic was ranked #2 at the time, Italy was a perennial top-ten team, and Ghana was an unpredictable team with explosive play. And there were lingering questions about the robustness of the exhibition schedule the US played through to prepare for the big dance.

Bruce Arena selected a mostly veteran team for the Cup. Eleven players returned from the 2002 World Cup team. Two core members, Kasey Keller and Claudio Reyna were coming to their 4th Cup, and Brian McBride and Eddie Pope were now in their third. Brian McBride, Pope and Oguchi Onyewu were expected to provide size and power, with Reyna providing a critical role at midfield. Landon Donovan and Brian McBride would provide scoring punch up front. But it would be a challenging series given the very different styles of their three opponents.

Expectations were high going into the US opener against the Czech Republic on June 12, but reality set in quickly. Just 5 minutes into the game, defender Zdenek Grygera was allowed to run down the right wing, he sent a cross to Jan Koller who eased around Eddie Pope and scored easily. Tomas Rosicky scored in the 36th minute and again in the 76th minute. The US offense never got started and they were lucky to hold the game to a 3-0 shutout.

This left the US already in a precarious position; a tie against Italy would leave them virtually eliminated. The US started out strong and actually dominated through much of the first half, but a botched offside trap in the 22nd minute allowed Alberto Guilardino to score easily off a free kick. The Americans got a lucky break five minutes later when Christian Zaccardo sent the ball into his own net. A few minutes later things looked even brighter when a red card to Daniele De Rossi gave the US a one-man advantage. But things went south from there. A couple minutes before halftime, Pablo Mastroeni received a red card for a wild challenge to Pirlo, and a minute into the 2nd half, Eddie Pope was likewise sent off, leaving the Americans with a 1 man disadvantage. It was all they could do to keep Italy from scoring and they felt lucky to walk away with a draw. Unfortunately, this left the team virtually eliminated.

The US had caught a lucky break when Ghana upset the Czech Republic in their 2nd game; the US could advance if they beat Ghana and Italy beat the Czech Republic. Unfortunately, the US again gave up the first goal, landed by Haminu Dramani in the 22nd minute. Some desperate drives ensued, and Clint Dempsey finally found the net in the 43rd minute, and the US looked set to take a die into halftime. But a thoughtless shove by Oguchi Onyewu in stoppage time earns Ghana a penalty kick which was converted by team captain Stephen Appiah. The US came out fighting in the 2nd half, but try as they might, they simply could not find the net, and Ghana took away a 2-1 victory, and the US left, eliminated.

The US ended up finishing 32nd out of 32 at the games, a bitter disappointment given all the raised hopes and expectations coming into the tournament. Bruce Arena’s contract was not renewed, and the team was left to ponder its future. The games overall were a major success, with the usual mixture of incredible plays and controversy. The final was a close and nail-biting affair between Italy and France, which went into penalty kicks tied at 1-1. Italy ended up winning 5-3 on penalties.

Major League Soccer (Division 1)

The teams sported new uniforms supplied by Adidas, in their first year of a $148,000,000 deal signed last year naming them the exclusive outfit supplier for the league. Major League Soccer officially awarded a franchise in Canada, to be called Toronto FC, and start play in 2007. Real Salt Lake reached an agreement with the suburb of Sandy to built a new soccer-specific stadium. MLS signed a new television deal with Disney/ABC/ESPN and ESPN 2. For the first time, the league was paid for broadcasting rights, as opposed to paying out for broadcast time. It was expected the network-produced broadcasts would focus more on the game and less on side stories, and would be featured on “new media” – video iPod, cell text and online broadcasts. A proposed sale of DC United fell through, but the MetroStars were sold to Red Bull of Austria and renamed Red Bull New York. The Chicago Fire also opened their new Bridgeview Stadium, named Toyota Park, their suburban soccer-specific venue. Kansas City, despite its low attendance stayed put at Arrowhead while work continued towards designing a new stadium. Efforts at San Jose to build a new stadium collapsed, leading to recriminations and criticisms of the current stadium situation by AEG president Tim Lieweke, who had lost $20,000,00 on the Earthquakes over the past four years. Ultimately, a scant couple months before the season opener, the Earthquakes pulled up roots and moved to Houston, becoming briefly 1836 Houston before changing their name to Dynamo. MLS committed itself to returning to San Jose once stadium issues were worked out. This season, the salary cap was raised to $1,910,000 and the maximum salary $310,000.

A major concern for MLS was to shore up the two new clubs, Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA, who had terrible first seasons. Unlike the previous expansion, they were left with relatively little to choose from in the expansion draft. Chivas USA hired Bob Bradley as coach. They had brought in world cup veteran Francisco Palencia late in 2005, and Mexican national team member Juan Pablo Garcia, from Atlas. For 2006, they signed Claudia Suarez, who shared the world record for most caps, and Carlos Llamosa, the Colombian World Cup veteran. They also picked up Ante Razov and midfielder Bret Whitfeld. Although their roster boasted some extensive international experience, age was a major concern. Real Salt lake also stocked up on new talent, starting with midfielder Chris Klein. Real also traded Clint Mathis to Colorado for Jeff Cunningham and added veteran goalkeeper Scott Garlick and midfielder Steve Talley.

Alexi Lalas left New York to assume the general manager position with the Los Angeles Galaxy after the sudden death of GM Doug Hamilton, but not before making some changes, with Bob Bradley replaced as coach by Mo Johnson late in 2005. For 2006, several new players were added to the roster, including Chris Henderson, Steve Jolley, Pete Canero of Scotland and Adrian Serioux of Canada. Some of these signings were questionable, being of old veterans of questionable accomplishments, and with the loss of Jeff Agoos (to retirement), Ante Razov and Sergio Galvan Rey, led to major questions about how well the team would fare. Diego Gutierrez returned to the Chicago Fire, who also signed Ivan Guerrero of Honduras and Thiago of Brazil, while losing Jesse Marsch to Chivas USA. One concern for the Fire was their extended road trip leading up to the opening of Bridgeview Stadium. Kansas City, which fell in a major way from their 2004 conference championship, added Eddie Johnson to fill the holes left by the departure of Chris Klein and Diego Gutierrez. The Revolution and DC United, coming off successful years, made few changes. Both New England and the Los Angeles Galaxy had major concerns about losing key players to World Cup duty.

The Chicago Fire started their extended road trip with three consecutive draws, but the long haul of the road trip eventually took its toll; by the all-star break, they were mired in 5th place, at 5-8-7. New England also fell short of expectations, settling in at .500, with ten draws. The surprise teams were DC United and FC Dallas, both solidly atop their divisions, while Chivas USA was improving greatly on their performance of 2005, partly thanks to some excellent scoring by Ante Razov. Real Salt Lake’s Jeff Cunningham was even better at finding the net, but his team was still in last place, although it had already bettered its performance of the entire 2005 season. New York Red Bull struggled, avoiding the cellar, buoyed somewhat by the signing of Bruce Arena as head coach after his termination by the national team.

When the season ground to an end, DC United and FC Dallas had maintained their leads to win the divisional titles; DC United took the Supporter’s Shield as the team with the rest regular season record. New England and Houston took 2nd place in their respective divisions. Red Bull New York finished an improved 4th place on the late strength of 16-year old Jozy Altidore, and both of the new clubs made marked improvements over their debut seasons, with Chivas USA finishing 3rd and Real Salt Lake more than doubling its points and nearly tripling its wins. DC United, Houston and New England won as expected in the playoff quarterfinals, but Colorado scored a major upset against FC Dallas, eliminating them on penalty kicks after battling them to a draw on aggregate based on a 1-2 loss and a 3-2 win. Houston continued its winning ways in the semifinals, beating Colorado 3-1, while New England upset DC United 1-0.

MLS Cup ’07 was a game of vindication for Houston Dynamo which had pulled so abruptly out of San Jose very shortly before the start of the season. It was also a monumental disappointment for the New England Revolution who had come so close so many times before, only to lose at the last moment. The Cup was held in Frisco TX, and the fans were charged with excitement. The game was a nail biter, as unstoppable force met unmovable object. First half passed without a score, then the second half, then stoppage time, and then overtime. Late in overtime, (113th minute!), Taylor Twellman found the net, and it looked like they finally had the cup at hand. But a minute later, Brian Ching answered for the Dynamo, and the deadlock resumed. Overtime ended with no resolution and it was up to the penalty kicks. With Houston leading in the penalty round 4-3, Pat Onstad’s save eliminated any chance for the Revolution to catch up, and the cup belonged to Houston.

Attendance rose slightly this year to 2,976,787, an average of 15,504 fans per game, up slightly from 2005’s 15,108. Houston was a particular delight, drawing nearly 19,000 per game despite their sudden move and lack of time for marketing. Their MLS Cup win would surely lead to improved attendance in their 32,000 seat stadium. Jeff Cunningham, of Real Salt Lake was the league’s leading goal scorer with 16, and Christian Gomez of DC United was the league’s most valuable player.

Major league Soccer established their “home gown players” program a process by which MLS teams can add “homegrown” players to their roster while bypassing the league draft and other distribution procedures. The player must have lived in the area for one year prior to being placed on the homegrown list, and is eligible for the MLS roster two years after submission. Each team can name up to 18 players (National team pool players were not eligible unless they were called to national service after being placed on a homegrown list). The aim of this concept was to encourage teams to make major efforts to find and develop new talent. A major plus for the players is that opportunities are more affordable. To be determined was how this would mesh with ODP and Generation Adidas (formerly Project-40) programs and not breach NCAA regulations. Chivas USA had already begun building an academy for new players. But it would be a long haul before MLS teams could match their European counterparts which spend $3 million and up per year on player development.

Official 2006 MLS Season Stats
Official MLS History Archives

              Final 2006 Major League Soccer Standings

Before the season, San Jose became Houston 1836 and shortly thereafter
was renamed Houston Dynamo.

                           GP   W   L   D   GF  GA  Pts
     Eastern Division
D. C. United               32  15   7  10   52  38   55
New England Revolution     32  12   8  12   39  35   48
Chicago Fire               32  13  11   8   43  41   47
Red Bull New York          32   9  11  12   41  41   39
Kansas City Wizards        32  10  14   8   43  45   38
Columbus Crew              32   8  15   9   30  42   33

     Western Division
F. C. Dallas               32  16  12   4   48  44   52
Houston Dynamo             32  11   8  13   44  40   46
Chivas USA                 32  10   9  13   45  42   43
Colorado Rapids            32  11  13   8   36  49   41
Los Angeles Galaxy         32  11  15   6   37  37   39
Real Salt Lake             32  10  13   9   45  49   39

Quarterfinals:  D. C. United defeated New York 1-0, 1-1
                Colorado defeated Dallas 1-2, 3-2, 5-4 (PK)
                New England defeated Chicago 0-1, 2-1, 4-2 (PK)
                Houston defeated Chivas USA 1-2, 2-0
Semifinals:     New England defeated D. C. United 1-0
                Houston defeated Colorado 3-1
MLS CUP 2006:   Houston defeated New England 1-1 (4-3 PK)

MLS Reserve League:  League Champ:  Colorado Rapids (12-9-3-0)


Jeff Cunningham, Real Salt Lake    31  16
Christina Gomez, DC United         30  14
Ante Razov, Chivas USA             28  14
Carlos Ruiz, FC Dallas             27  13
Landon Donovan, Los Angeles        24  12
Brian Ching, Houston               21  11
Kenny Cooper, Dallas               31  11
Dwayne De Rosario, Houston         30  11
Jaime Moreno, DC United            32  11
Taylor Twellman, New England       32  11

GOALKEEPING LEADERS  (Minimum 1000 minutes)
                               GP   MIN  SHTS SVS  GA   GAA  SO

Jon Conway, New York           12  1080    66  54  12   1.00  3
Matt Reis, New England         32  2880   176 141  35   1.09 10
Troy Perkins, DC United        30  2700   134 100  34   1.13  8
Kevin Hartman, Los Angeles     28  2520   120  88  32   1.14  9
Preston Burpo, Chivas USA      19  1710    81  58  23   1.21  5
Dario Sala, Dallas             28  2475   127  93  34   1.24  5
Pat Onstad, Houston            32  2880   125  85  40   1.25  5
Zach Thornton, Chicago         24  2160   116  86  30   1.25  7
Scott Garlick, Real Salt Lake  31  2745   151 108  43   1.41  4
Bo Oshonyi, Kansas City        29  2610   136  95  41   1.41  5
Tony Meola, New York           20  1800   120  91  29   1.45  5
Brad Guzan, Chivas USA         13  1170    68  49  19   1.46  5
Joe Cannon, Colorado           28  2440   141  99  42   1.55  7

All-Star Game: Held at Toyota Park, Bridgeview, IL on August 5, 2006. The MLS All-Stars defeated Chelsea 1-0, with Dwayne De Rosario scoring the lone goal in the 70th minute. He earned MVP honors. Attendance: 21,210.

MLS Award Winners:

Most Valuable Player: Christian Gomez, DC United
Coach of the Year: Bob Bradley, Chivas USA
Goalkeeper of the Year: Troy Perkins, DC United
Defender of the Year: Bobby Boswell, DC United
Rookie of the Year: Jonathan Bornstein, Chivas USA
Goal scorer of the Year: Jeff Cunningham, Real Salt Lake
Supporters' Shield Award: DC United (55 Pts)
Fair Play Award: Chris Klein, Real Salt Lake
Referee of the Year: Brian Hall
US Soc Foundation Humanitarian of the Year: Michael Parkhurst, New England Revolution
Ace Comeback Player of the Year: Richard Mulrooney, FC Dallas
Commissioner's Award:  Richard Mulrooney, FC Dallas

MLS Best 11:
G - Brad Guzan, Chivas USA
D - Michael Parkhurst, New England Revolution
D - Eddie Robinson, Houston Dynamo
D - Jonathan Bornstein, Chivas USA
M - Dwayne De Rosario, Houston Dynamo
M - Shalrie Joseph, New England Revolution
M - Christian Gomez, DC United
M - Ben Olsen, DC United
M - Guillermo B. Schelotto, Columbus Crew
F - Luciano Emilio, DC United
F - Juan Pablo Angel, New York Red Bulls

United Soccer Leagues

The United Soccer Leagues continued to see expansion and success at the amateur and youth levels, and was working to stabilize the top divisions. Division 1 expanded to 12 teams, and Division 2 shrank to 9 teams. On the more positive side, both leagues, though small, were becoming stronger in terms of quality of play, and more popular in terms of attendance. The Super Y-League continued to grow, and the new Super-20 League was launched. Replacing the Y-League’s U-19 division, which was eliminated, the Super-Y League provided a place for graduating Y-League players to continue honing their skills and aspiring to the next level. As with the Super Y-League, a number of teams were affiliated with PDL, USL and MLS clubs.

Final 2006 USL standings and playoff results

Final 2006 W-League standings and playoff results

USL Division 1 (USA Division 2)

USL Division 1 scored a coup this season when the 1994 Brazilian World Cup star Romario was signed to a 1 season contract with the extension F. C. Miami. Romario immediately showed that he still had his scoring flair, as he battled through the season with Seattle’s hot young rookie Cam Weaver for the scoring title; they ended the season tied at 10 goals a piece, with Romario contributing 10 assists as well. His feats helped Miami finish in a very respectable 5th place. Vancouver’s Joey Gjertsen came in third in scoring and won the Most Valuable Player award. Montreal and Rochester battled until the end of the season for the regular season championship, with Montreal winning by a nose at the end of the season, thanks to its solid defensive abilities.

Miami’s dream season came to an abrupt end at the hands of Vancouver in the first round of playoffs. Puerto Rico was also eliminated in the first round, by Charleston who then went on to lose to Rochester 1-0, 0-0. Montreal and Vancouver battled to a scoreless draw after two games, with the Whitecaps prevailing 2-0 in overtime to enter the championship match. It was all the way for the Whitecaps in the final match as they shut out Rochester to win their first championship in the league, and in fact their first championship since 1992 when they played in the Canadian Soccer League. The game started as a closely matched fight, with the deadlock broken in the 45th minute when Gjertsen sent a cross into the box which was deflected by Rhino defender Nate Craft into the net for an own goal. Nine minutes into the 2nd half, Gjertsen took a charge into the box and sent the ball into the center of the box to avoid a charge, and the ball found Tony Donatelli fired it over the shoulder of Scott Vallow for the goal. The final goal came in the 8th minute courtesy of Sita-Taly Matondo who picked up a through ball up the middle, from David Testo, just seconds after coming off the bench. He went on a breakaway that drew Vallow out of the box and slipped it home for the win.

Attendance for the season was 783,868, a slight increase mainly due to the new expansion club; average per game rose slightly to 4,666 from 4,527. Overall, this showed clearly that the league had bottomed out and was beginning its resurgence. Only a couple teams drew weakly, and of them, Toronto was relegated to the PDL, due to the impending launch of the MLS club, and Virginia Beach folded.

                   Final USL Division 1 Standings, 2006

Before the season, F. C. Miami was added.

                            GP   W   L   D   GF  GA  Pts
Montreal Impact             28  14   5   9   31  15   51
Rochester Raging Rhinos     28  13   4  11   34  21   50
Charleston Battery          28  13   8   7   33  25   46
Vancouver Whitecaps         28  12   6  10   40  28   36
Miami FC                    28  11  11   6   47  44   39
Puerto Rico Islanders       28  10  10   8   38  36   38
Seattle Sounders            28  11  13   4   42  48   37
Atlanta Silverbacks         28  10  13   5   36  42   35
Virginia Beach Mariners     28   8  12   8   26  37   32
Toronto Lynx                28   8  12   8   30  36   32
Portland Timbers            28   7  15   6   25  39   27
Minnesota Thunder           28   7  15   6   34  45   27

First Round:    Charleston defeated Puerto Rico 2-2, 1-0
                Vancouver defeated Miami 4-1, 2-0
Semi-Finals:    Rochester defeated Charleston 1-0, 0-0
                Vancouver defeated Montreal 0-0, 0-0 (2-0 OT)
CHAMPIONSHIP:   Vancouver defeated Rochester 3-0

After the season, Toronto was relegated to the PDL and Virginia
Beach folded.

Leading Scorers:
                                 GP   G  A  PTS
Romario, Miami FC                23  18 10   39
Cam Weaver, Seattle              27  18  3   39
Joey Gjertsen, Vancouver         28  12  7   31
Alen Marcina, Puerto Rico        26  13  1   27
Gavin Glinton, Charleston        23  11  0   22
Greg Simmonds, Virginia Beach    23   9  4   22
Ben Hollingsworth, Charleston    25   9  4   22
Kevin Jeffrey, Toronto Lynx      22   9  2   20
Jamie Dodds, Toronto Lynx        25          19
Mauricio Salles, Montreal        26   9  1   19
Matthew Delicate, Rochester      28          19

Goalkeeping Leaders: (Min 1000 minutes)
                                 GP   MIN  GA   GAA 

Greg Sutton, Montreal                14   0.50
Andrew Weber, Montreal               14   0.57
Scott Vallow, Rochester              28   0.75
Dusty Hudock, Charleston             20   0.80
Tony Caig, Vancouver                 23   1.09
Chris Doyle, Miami FC                14   1.23
Felipe Quintero, Atlanta             24   1.25
Dan Kennedy, Puerto Rico             27   1.30
Matt Nelson, Virginia Beach          27   1.32
Theo Zagar, Toronto Lynx             21   1.32

All-Star Game: USL All-Stars battled the Sheffield Wednesday Football Club to a 0-0 draw before 5,193 at Cary, NC.  This was the first time the All-Star game had been held in several years.
USL First Division Award Winners:
Most Valuable Player:  Greg Sutton, Montreal Impact
Goalkeeper of the Year:  Greg Sutton, Montreal Impact
Defender of the Year:  Gabriel Gervais, Montreal Impact
Rookie of the Year: Cam Weaver, Seattle Sounders 
Coach of the Year: Mike Anheuser, Charleston Battery
Executive of the Year: Matthew Ford, Rochester Raging Rhinos
Organization of the Year: Montreal Impact

All-League Team:

G - Greg Sutton, Montreal Impact
D - Gabriel Gervais, Montreal Impact
D - Geordie Lyall, Vancouver Whitecaps
D - Mauricio Segovia, Puerto Rico Islanders
M - Andrew Gregor, Seattle Sounders
M - Ben Hollingsworth, Charleston Battery
M - Luke Kreamalmeyer, Portland Timbers
M - Zinho, Miami FC
F - Joey Gjertsen, Vancouver Whitecaps
F - Romario, Miami FC
F - Cam Weaver, Seattle Sounders

USL Second Division

Division 2 welcomed the Richmond Kickers who were relegated from Division 1. The Kickers wasted no time in making a case for promotion as they swamped nearly every opponent they faced, eventually winning the regular season title by a comfortable margin. The Charlotte Eagles, a perennial powerhouse, finished second after fighting through 6-way fight for that spot.

In the playoffs, Charlotte defeated Pittsburgh easily 4-1 and 2-1, while Richmond beat Cincinnati 2-1 and then held on for a 0-0 draw in the second leg to advance on goals. Richmond dominated throughout the championship match, taking the lead nine minutes in on a penalty kick. Robert Ssejemba scored on the penalty. Richmond extended their lead in the 33rd minute when Chris Carrieri took a cross from Kevin Knight and fired a volley which found the lower right corner of the net. The Eagles applied pressure late in the game but the best they could manage was a goal in the 89th minute, and Richmond held on through stoppage time to win their first league title since 1995.

USL total attendance for 2006 was 158,704, a notable increase from 2005 despite the loss of teams, Average per game attendance was up from 1,600 to 1,763. Robert Ssejemba of the Richmond Kickers was league MVP as well as top scorer, with 17 goals and 38 points. USL Division 2 began a rebound on the franchise side, with teams being added in two major urban areas, Cleveland and Baltimore, and another added in the nation of Bermuda.

                    Final 2006 USL Division 2 Standings

Before the season, Richmond was relegated from USL First Division.

                            GP   W   L   D   GF  GA  Pts
Richmond Kickers            20  13   3   4   50  20   43
Charlotte Eagles            20   8   4   8   29  27   32
Pittsburgh Riverhounds      20   8   6   6   27  20   30
Cincinnati Kings            20   9   8   3   28  27   30
New Hampshire Phantoms      20   9  10   1   27  43   27
Western Mass Pioneers       20   8   9   3   31  28   27
Harrisburg City Islanders   20   8   9   3   34  35   27
Wilmington Hammerheads      20   4   9   7   30  31   19
Long Island Rough Riders    20   3  12   5   15  40   14

Semi-Finals:   Charlotte defeated Pittsburgh 4-1, 2-1
               Richmond defeated Cincinnati 2-1, 0-0
CHAMPIONSHIP:  Richmond defeated Charlotte 2-1

After the season, Long Island was relegated to the PDL,
Pittsburgh went on hiatus.

Leading Scorers:
                                 GP   G  A  Pts
Robert Ssejemba, Richmond        19  17  4   38
Michael Burke, Richmond          19   9  5   23
Christopher Bagley, Wilmington   17  10  2   22
Almir Barbosa, New Hampshire     19  10  0   20
Jeff Deren, Western Massachusetts17   9  1   19
Chris Carrieri, Richmond         19   5  9   19
Jamel Mitchell, Harrisburg       18   6  4   14
Dustin Swinehart, Charlotte      19          14
Omar MacFarlane, Western Mass    20   7  0   14

Leading Goalkeepers:  (Min 900 minutes)
                                     GP   GAA
Ronnie Pascale, Richmond             19   0.98
Terry McNelis, Pittsburgh            14   1.11
Jordan James, Cincinnati             19   1.31
Chris McLellan, Charlotte            11   1.36
Eric Masters, Long Island            12   1.41
Bart Creasman, Wilmington            18   1.45
Joshua Cole, Western Mass            15   1.48

Most Valuable Player: Robert Ssejemba, Richmond Kickers
Defender of the Year: Gary Sullivan, Long Island Rough Riders
Rookie of the Year:  Nowaf Jaman, Cincinnati Kings
Coach of the Year: Jon Pickup, Cincinnati Kings
Executive of the Year: Tim Engstrom, Charlotte Eagles
Organization of the Year: Richmond Kickers

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

The PDL expanded by six teams to a record 58. This season was distinguished by a couple unbeaten performances as Cape Cod and Carolina both finished at 14-0-2, something only accomplished 7 times in league history. However, a perfect regular season means nothing in the playoffs, and Carolina was stunned by Bradenton in the first round of Playoffs. Cape Cod fared much better, eliminating Williamsburg 3-0. Chicago, a perennial favorite needed penalty kicks to eliminate Des Moines after a 3-3 draw, but Michigan had little trouble defeating two top 4 seeds, first Boulder 4-0, and then Chicago 4-1 in the conference finals. Upsets were the order of the day at that level; Cape Cod fell to Westchester 2-1, and in fact, none of the top 4 seeds survived this round, after Laredo defeated Bradenton 2-1 and Orange County defeated BYU in penalty kicks after a 2-2 draw.

In the semi-finals, Michigan defeated Orange County 2-0 and Laredo came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat Westchester 3-2. The finals pitted a 2nd year team against a venerable club. Michigan had an excellent record in the regular season and the US Open Cup, but had yet to win a league title. This time they were ready, and put on a convincing display of power. All-League forward Kenny Uzoigwe opened scoring four minutes in, and five minutes later Michigan scored again on a penalty kick. Later, Laredo cut the lead off a corner kick, when Jose Macias put the ball away after it deflected off the post. But it wasn’t enough, and Michigan held on for the victory.

The PDL drew 202,444 fans this season, for an average of 512 per game, a slight drop, but the per game average was up to 502 from 467. Jon Conliffe of Boulder was the league MVP, and shared top scorer award with Frederico Moojen of Augusta with 15 goals.

Final 2006 PDL standings and playoff results

Most Valuable Player: Jon Cunliffe, Boulder Rapids Reserve
Top Scorer:  Jon Cunliffe, Boudler (15 GP, 15 G, 41 Pts), 
Frederico Moojen, Augusta Fireball (15 GP, 15 G, 39 Pts)
Defender of the Year: Osei Telesford, Carolina Dynamo
Goalkeeper of the Year: Eric Reed, Southern California Seahorses
U-19 Player of the Year: P. J. Wilson, Fort Wayne Fever
Coach of the Year: Joe Brown, Carolina Dynamo
Executive of the Year: Dan Duggan, Michigan Bucks
Organization of the Year: Laredo Heat

Super Y-League/Super-20 league

In its 8th season, the Super Y-League expanded to over 700 teams across the United States and Canada. Many of the teams by 2006 were affiliated with parent clubs in USL or MLS. By contrast, young teams were continuing to establish senior clubs in the PDL and W-League. A select group of 18 “1991” players toured Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany, and training with Liverpool FC. Late in 2006, USL announced the creation of USL Super-20 League, designed as a graduating youth league for elite players aged 17-20, which would replace the U-19 age bracket in the Super Y-League, and provide player development opportunities for PDL and W-League teams. The Super-20 League started this year to great success, with West Kendall, FL defeating New York Red Bull 1-1 (7-6 PK) to take the men’s title, and the Washington Freedom defeating Parsippany, NC 1-1 (3-1-PK) to win the women’s title.

Women’s Premier Soccer League

The Women’s Premier Soccer League underwent a major expansion this season, moving for the first time into the southeastern US, and expanding their Midwestern and northeastern divisions, for a total of 39 teams. Once again, the season was a competitive one, with close divisional races, and stellar performances by the undefeated Tampa Bay Elite and Ajax America Women. Numerous national team players found time on WPSL squads, and it was the Long Island Fury who won the league championship.

WPSL Final 2006 Standings

Before the season, Denver returned from Hiatus.  Sonoma County, 
Colorado Springs, River Cities, Tennessee, Memphis, Michigan,
St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Central Florida, Palm Beach,
Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Adirondack, Long Island,
Atlantic City, Northampton, FC Virginia, and
Central Delaware were added.

                          GP   W   L   D   GF  GA  Pts
     East-North Division
Adirondack Lynx           10   7   3   0   22  15   21
Long Island Fury          10   6   2   2   30   8   20
New England Mutiny        10   6   3   1   24  13   19
Massachusetts Stingers    10   5   3   2   16  14   17
Bay State Select          10   5   5   0   19  25   15
New York Athletic Club    10   4   5   1   13  19   13
Boston Aztecs             10   2   2   6   11  11   12
Rhode Island Rays          8   1   7   0    9  25    3

     East-South Division
Atlantic City Diablos     10   8   1   1   19   5   25
Northampton Laurels FC    10   6   2   2   17  11   20
FC Virginia               10   6   3   1   22  11   19
Philadelphia Pirates      10   3   5   2    6  16   11
Maryland Pride             9   2   7   0    6  10    6
Central Delaware SA Future 9   1   7   1    4  13    4

     South Division
Tampa Bay Elite           10  10   0   0   28   5   30
Central Florida Strikers  10   6   3   1   22  13   19
Palm Beach United         10   4   5   0   12  17   13
Orlando Falcons           10   4   5   0    6  17   12
Ft. Lauderdale Fusion      8   2   6   0   12  16    6
Miami Revolution           7   0   7   0    0   9    0

     Midwest Division
River Cities Futbol Club  10   9   1   2   23   5   25
Tennessee Lady Blues      10   7   3   0   24  13   21
FC Indiana                10   5   2   3   25   9   18
Memphis Mercury           10   3   6   1   15  19   10
Michigan Phoenix          10   3   7   0   11  27    9
FC St. Louis              10   1   8   1    7  27    3

     Southwest Conference
Denver Diamonds            5   4   0   1   10   1   13
Colorado Springs Sabers    6   2   4   0    3  12    6
Utah Spiders               2   0   2   0    1   4    0

     West Division
Ajax America Women        12  11   1   0   40   8   33
San Diego WFC SeaLions    12  10   1   1   31   8   31
California Storm          14  10   3   1   47  15   31
Sonoma County FC Sol      14   9   4   1   25  12   28
Lamorinda East Bay Power  14   5   9   0   26  28   15
San Francisco Nighthawks  14   3   9   2   16  34   11
FC Sacramento Pride       14   1  11   2   10  52    5
Las Vegas Tabagators      14   1  12   1   12  40    1

League Champion: Long Island Fury

After the season, Las Vegas, Tennessee, Michigan, Ft. Lauderdale,
Rhode Island, and FC Virginia folded.  Memphis went on hiatus.

Leading Scorers:
                                   G  A  Pts

National Premier Soccer League

The NPSL added four teams this year, allowing them to split the western division. Teams showed improved performance on the field and at the gate, with both western divisions seeing close divisional races between veteran teams. The championship game was a convincing shutout by the Sacramento Knights over the Princeton 56ers. Although the league lost several teams at the end of the season, they were getting increased interest from qualified prospective franchises and planned a significant expansion for the 2007 season.

2006 NPSL Final League Standings

Before the season, Phoenix, Denver, Redwood City, 
and SoCal were added.  Minnesota became NSC United.

                            GP   W   L   D   GF  GA  Pts
     Northwestern Teams
Sacramento Knights          20  12   3   5            41
San Jose Frogs              20  12   4   4            40
Sonoma County Sol           20  11   8   1            34
Redwood City Ruckus         20   6  12   2            20
Chico Rooks                 20   5  10   5            20
Salinas Valley Samba        20   4  13   3            15

     Southwestern Teams
Albuquerque Asylum          20  13   5   2            41
SoCal Fusion                20   9   7   4            31
San Diego Pumitas           20   8   4   8            29
Denver Kickers              20   8   7   5            29
Phoenix Banat Storm         20   6  12   2            20
Las Vegas Strikers          20   3  12   5            14

     Midwestern Teams
Princeton 56ers             10   8   0   2            26
Detroit Arsenal             10   7   2   1            22
St. Paul Twin Stars          9   4   4   1            13
Milwaukee Bavarians         10   4   5   1            13
Minnesota NSC United         9   2   7   0             6
Grand Rapids Alliance       10   1   8   1             4

CHAMPIONSHIP:  Sacramento defeated Princeton 2-0

After the season, Chico, Redwood City, Las Vegas, 
Detroit, Grand Rapids, Phoenix, San Jose, and Minnesota folded.

The W-League

A slight expansion grew the W-League to 37 teams. This year, the powerhouse teams of 2005 continued their winning ways, with the New Jersey Wildcats going 14-0-0 and scoring 61 goals will allowing only 3. Ottawa finished 10-1-1 and Vancouver was 11-0-1. The divisional races were closer in the Central conference, with Charlotte and the Michigan Hawks not securing their divisional titles until near the end of the season. The Toronto Lady Lynx nearly upset Ottawa in the race for the Northern division title, falling just one short. They were quickly dispatched by Ottawa in the playoffs, 3-2. This was followed by Ottawa’s upset of the New Jersey Wildcats by 3-2. Charlotte advanced to the semifinals by defeating Minnesota 1-1 (5-4 PK) and Richmond 1-0, while Vancouver received a bye to the semi-finals.

The semi-finals were a showcase for the Canadian teams as the Fury defeated Charlotte 2-1, and Vancouver, headed by USA National Tiffeny Milbrett and Canadian national Christine Sinclair, trounced Seattle 5-0. The championship match was no contest as Vancouver cruised to a 3-0 shutout, courtesy of goals by Martina Franko, Christine Sinclair and Sasha Andrews.

Attendance was down somewhat at the W-League, falling from 154,531 to 130,444; the game average fell as well, from 628 to 597. This could be attributable to increased competition from the WPSL and the continued expansion into smaller cities. The leading scorer was Kelly Shimin of Western Mass with 17 goals and 41 points. League MVP was Kristi Swaving of the Michigan Hawks.

Final 2006 W-League standings and playoff results

Leading Scorers:
                                 GP   G   A  Pts
Kelly Shimmin, Western Mass      14  17   7   41
Katie Schoepfer, Western Mass    12  14   9   37
Kristi Swaving, Michigan Hawks   14  15   3   33
Sylvia Forbes, Toronto Lady Lynx 10  15   2   32
Ashley Banks, Northern Virginia  11  12   5   29
Lisa Stoia, Boston Renegades     12   9  11   29
Formiga, New Jersey Wildcats     12  13   2   28
Jennifer Parsons, Richmond       14  13   0   26

Leading Goalkeepers: 
                                 GP   GAA
Justine Bernier, Toronto          8   0.25
Katrina LeBlanc, New Jersey       7   0.29
Carianne Betts, Cleveland         8   0.58
Alyssa Naeher, Western Mass      11   0.59
Erin McLeod, Vancouver           10   0.60
Erin Switalski, Cocoa            12   0.65
Melanie Wilson, Atlanta          11   0.92
Kathryn Cumming, Michigan        11   0.93

W-League Award Winners:
Most Valuable Player: Kristi Swaving, Michigan Hawks
Goalkeeper of the Year: Justine Bernier, Toronto Lady Lynx
Defender of the Year: Leslie Gaston, Atlanta Silverbacks
U-19 Player of the Year: Katie Schoepfer, Western Mass Pioneers
Coach of the Year: John Natale, Western Mass Lady Pioneers
Organization of the Year: Western Mass Lady Pioneers

Major Indoor Soccer League

The MISL had had a rough time of it the previous season, with two teams folding early in the season, and two long-time teams announcing they would go on hiatus (both eventually folded). On the brighter side a new team, the Carolina Courage was added. With fewer teams, the season was shortened to 30 games, and a competitive race soon ensued, although the St. Louis Steamers eventually pulled away and won the regular season with ease.

The playoff series was also shortened, with 4 of 6 teams making the cut. St. Louis trounced Chicago 7-1 and 9-2, but it was close between Baltimore and Milwaukee with the Blast splitting the first two games, 10-4 and 8-10, forcing a sudden death period won by Baltimore. Baltimore was in fine form for their championship series against the Steamers, winning the first match 42, and the follow-up by an even more convincing 4-1. Greg Howes of Milwaukee was the leading scorer with 37 goals and 70 points in 29 games, while Adauto Neto of Baltimore won the Hector Marinaro trophy as league MVP.

                 Final MISL 2005-2006 Standings

Before the season, California Cougars were added.

                          GP   W   L    PCT     GB   GF   GA
St. Louis Steamers        30  23   7  0.767    --  199  139
Baltimore Blast           30  17  13  0.567  6.00  184  168
Milwaukee Wave            30  17  13  0.567  6.00  193  167
Chicago Storm             30  13  17  0.453 10.00  145  161
Philadelphia Kixx         30  10  20  0.333 13.00  138  175
California Cougars        30  10  20  0.333 13.00  145  194

Semifinals:     St. Louis defeated Chicago 7-1, 9-2
                Baltimore defeated Milwaukee 10-4, 8-10, s.d.
CHAMPIONSHIP:   Baltimore defeated St. Louis 4-2, 4-1

After the season, St. Louis folded.

Leading scorers:  
                                GP  G   A  PTS
Greg Howes, Milwaukee           28  37  33  70
Aduato Neto, Baltimore          30  36  22  58
Todd Dusosky, Milwaukee         30  27  30  57
Carlos Farias, St. Louis        28  15  34  49
Giuliano Calenza, Baltimore     29  38   8  45
Jamar Beasley, St. Louis        30  33  12  45
John Ball, California           26  14  22  36
Giulano Olivero, Milwaukee      27  14  20  34
Matthew Stewart, Chicago        30  17  15  32
Shaun David, St. Louis          25  20  10  30
Vicente Figueroa, California    26  26   4  30
Marcelo Fontana, Milwaukee      30  24   5  29
Robbie Aristodemo, Baltimore    28  15  13  28
Novica Marojevic, Chicago       30  16  12  28

Leading Goalkeepers: (min. 1,200 minutes)
                           GP    MIN     SF   SV   GA   W  L   AVG
Brett Phillips, St. Louis  27  1483:02  338  223  115  20  4  4.65
Sagu, Baltimore            25  1409:12  418  300  118  15  9  5.02
Nick Vorberg, Milwaukee    25  1443:24  420  298  122  13 11  5.07
Danny Waltman, Chicago     24  1333:20  348  230  118   7 15  5.31
Pete Pappas, Philadelphia  28  1655:23  506  357  149  10 18  5.40
Jim Lankin, California     21  1215:37  388  259  129   5 16  6:37

All-Star Game: On February 11, 2006, the MISL All-Stars defeated the Mexican All-Stars 9-5 before 8,671 in Milwaukee. MVP: Todd Dusosky (Milwaukee – 3 goals, 1 assist).

Most Valuable Player (Hector Marinaro Trophy): Adauto Neto, Baltimore Blast  
Leading Goalscorer:  Greg Howes, Milwaukee Wave
Defender of the Year: Genoni Martinez, St. Louis Steamers
Rookie of the Year:  Vicente Figueroa, California Cougars
Goalkeeper of the Year: Brett Phillips, St. Louis Steamers
Coach of the Year: Omid Hamazi, St. Louis Steamers

First All-MISL Team:

F - Giuliano Celenza, Baltimore Blast
F - Greg Howes, Milwaukee Wave
D - Genni Martinez, St. Louis Steamers
D - Pat Morris, Philadelphia Kixx
G - Brett Phillips, St. Louis Steamers

Men’s National Team

The first task at hand for Bruce Arena was selecting the 23-man squad for the World Cup. Although he had a larger and better core of players than in 2002, it would still be an uphill battle. Despite the USA’s success at the 2002 World Cup, the Nats continued to struggle against European competition, having gone 5-10-4 during Arena’s tenure. There would be no surprise upsets like in 2002, the competition no longer took the Americans for granted. The World Cup Draw put on added pressure as once again, the United States was put into the “Group of Death”, against top ranked Czech Republic and Italy and a very competitive Ghana.

The team started preparations for the World Cup with a series of west coast friendlies. They got off to a middling start against Canada on January 22 at San Diego. Playmaking was sporadic, with midfield support tentative at best. The game was notable mainly as Freddy Adu’s debut with the senior team. A week later, at Carson, CA, the USA played Norway and debuted their midfield diamond formation, although that had less to do with their convincing 5-0 win than good solid, polished play. Clint Dempsey played a tucked-in role at right of midfield, and worked all over the field, helping to set up two scoring opportunities for Taylor Twellman. Twellman earned a hat trick, scoring twice in the first 17 minutes, and again in the 76th. Eddie Pope and Chris Klein scored the remaining two, in the most lopsided victory ever by the US against a European team. On February 10 at San Francisco, it was a closer match against Japan, with Taylor Twellman following up on his hat trick by scoring one goal and assisting on two others as the US beat Japan 3-2. The US ran the score up to 3-0 by the 50th minute. Japan rallied in the second half, but fell short, losing 2-3.

These were followed by a 4-0 drubbing of Guatemala at Frisco, TX, with Chris Klein playing a major role, scoring 1 goal and setting up two more, including a spectacular shot by Ben Olson. The team was back to a 4-3-3 formation. Ten days later, on March 1, the US traveled to one of their future World Cup Venues, at Kaiserslautern, beating a potential world cup opponent, Poland, 1-0. This game was given over primarily to European-based Americans, with Clint Mathis scoring the lone goal after a frustrating first half. Tim Howard and Kasey Keller were both strong at goal. Next at Dortmund, Germany the US took to the field against Germany before 64,500 fans and were beaten soundly 4-1. The lineup was rather makeshift with only two certain WC starters, but they put on a fairly good first half before giving up 4 goals in the second. This was followed on April by a lackluster 1-1 draw against Jamaica which did little to sort out the better players on the squad.

Some concerns were raised in late spring about the quality of the competition. Venezuela, Morocco and Latvia were not exactly heavyweights, and although the US did manage close shutouts against Venezuela and Latvia, their loss to Morocco was inexplicable, simply a poorly played game, and raised some questions about the conditioning and training regimen. Unfortunately, these fears had some basis, and the United States’s performance at the World Cup was heartbreaking to say the least (see World Cup section above), but one could not say it was completely unexpected.

After their disappointing finish at World Cup 2006, the US took the rest of the year off. Bruce Arena’s contract was not renewed, and the USSF commenced a search for his replacement.

2006 USA Men’s National Team results

   DATE    Score  Opponent        Attendance Location (Event)
     2006 Totals:   6W, 3D, 3L
Jun 22 06  L 1-2  Ghana              41,000  Nuremberg, Germany (WC’06)
               Dempsey (43)
Jun 17 06  D 1-1  Italy              46,000  Kaiserslautern, Germany (WC’06)
Jun 12 06  L 0-3  Czech Republic     52,000  Gelsenkirchen, Germany (WC’06)
May 28 06  W 1-0  Latvia             24,646  East Hartford, CT
               McBride (43)
May 26 06  W 2-0  Venezuela          29,745  Cleveland, OH
               Ching (36), Dempsey (69)
May 23 06  L 0-1  Morocco            26,141  Nashville, TN
Apr 11 06  D 1-1  Jamaica             8,093  Cary, NC
               Olsen (25)
Mar 22 06  L 1-4  Germany            64,500  Dortmund, Germany
               Cherundolo (85)
Mar 01 06  W 1-0  Poland             13,395  Kaiserslautern, Germany
               Dempsey (48)
Feb 19 06  W 4-0  Guatemala          14,453  Frisco, TX
               Olsen (38), Ching (45), Johnson (47), Klein (71)
Feb 10 06  W 3-2  Japan              37,365  San Francisco, CA, USA
               Pope (24), Dempsey (39), Twellman (50)
Jan 29 06  W 5-0  Norway             16,366  Carson, CA, USA
               Twellman (5, 17, 76), Pope (67), Klein (87)
Jan 22 06  D 0-0  Canada              6,077  San Diego, CA, USA

Women’s National Team

The Women’s National Team once again performed well at the Four Nations Cup in China, defeating Norway 3-1, and China 2-0 while battling France to a scoreless tie. Kristine Lilly continued her scoring ways, netting both goals against China and a third vs. Norway. This was followed by the Algarve Cup. The Americans started off with a tough scoreless draw against China, but then walloped Denmark 5-0, with Heather O’Reilly scoring a hat trick. They completed group play with a 4-1 victory over France where the scoring was started by Kristine Lilly in the first minute of the match. This earned them a spot in the final where they fought Germany to a 0-0 draw, with Germany winning on penalty kicks to take the Cup.

After Algarve, the US took a trip to Japan, defeating the host country 3-1 on May 7, and two days later winning again 1-0. Abby Wambach scored a hat trick in the first game, with Kai scoring the lone goal in game 2. From mid-July through early October, the US played a series of friendlies against competition as varied as Sweden (they beat them 3-2), China (beat them 4-1) and Chinese Taipei (thrashing them 10-1). This was all to prepare them for the Peace Queen Cup held in Korea.

The US continued its winning ways through the Peace Cup, drawing against Denmark 1-1, then shutting out Australia and the Netherlands by identical 2-0 scores. This qualified them for the final where they defeated Canada 1-0.

The Gold Cup field consisted of 6 teams, and the US received a bye to the semi-finals, where they beat Mexico 2-0. The winning ways continued as they defeated Canada 2-1 to take the title. Overall a very good year for the undefeated Women’s team

2006 USA Women’s National Team results

   DATE    Score  Opponent        Attendance Location (Event)
    2006 Totals:  18W, 3D, 1L
Nov 26 06  W 2-1  Canada              6,749  Carson, CA, USA (GC’06)
               Osborne, Lilly
Nov 22 06  W 2-0  Mexico              6,128  Carson, CA, USA (GC’06)
               Wambach (10,64)
Nov 04 06  W 1-0  Canada             15,881  Seoul, South Korea (PQC)
               Lilly (68)
Nov 02 06  W 2-0  Netherlands         8,900  Suwan, South Korea (PQC)
               Tarpley (27), Whitehill (45)
Oct 31 06  W 2-0  Australia           8,000  Cheonan, South Korea (PQC)
               Lilly (20), Kai (35)
Oct 29 06  D 1-1  Denmark             8,200  Gimhae, South Korea (PQC)
               Lilly (73)
Oct 08 06  W 2-1  Iceland             4,083  Richmond, VA, USA
               Wambach (34,92)
Oct 01 06 W 10-0  Chinese Taipei      5,479  Carson, CA, USA
               Osborne (8), Wambach (13, 51, 62), Tarpley (22, 27), Lilly (49), Lloyd (76), Rapinoe (79,82)
Sep 13 06  W 3-1  Mexico              6,784  Rochester, NY, USA
               Wambach (18, 39), Tarpley (22)
Aug 27 06  W 4-1  China               7,119  Bridgeview, IL, USA
               Whitehill (30), Wagner (59), Lilly (85, 88)
Jul 30 06  W 2-0  Canada              5,292  Cary, NC, USA
               Wambach (45), Kai (80)
Jul 23 06  W 5-0  Ireland             3,574  San Diego, CA, USA
               O’Reilly (20), Whitehill (39, 89), Wambach (62), Kai (74)
Jul 15 06  W 3-2  Sweden              4,996  Blaine, MN, USA
               Wambach (38), Whitehill (89), Lilly (90+)
May 09 06  W 1-0  Japan              15,908  Osaka, Japan
               Kai (65)
May 07 06  W 3-1  Japan               6,681  Kuamoto, Japan
               Wambach (40-PK, 72, 89)
Mar 15 06  L 0-0(PK) Germany             1,000  Faro, Portugal (AC’06)
Mar 13 06  W 4-1  France                400  Faro, Portugal (AC’06)
               Lilly (1), Wagner (49), Tarpley (50), Kai (76)
Mar 11 06  W 5-0  Denmark               500  Quarteira, Portugal (AC’06)
               Wambach (26), O’Reilly (29,31), Lilly (41), Kai (71)
Mar 09 06  D 0-0 China                 250  Faro, Portugal (AC’06)
Jan 22 06  W 2-0  China              15,000  Guangzhou, China (FNT’06)
               Lilly (24-PK, 41)
Jan 20 06  D 0-0  France              2,500  Guangzhou, China (FNT’06)
Jan 18 06  W 3-1  Norway              2,000  Guangzhou, China (FNT’06)
               Lilly (73), Boxx (77), Wambach (85)

U. S. Open Cup

The US Open Cup was not kind to the lower divisions this year. Although Dallas Roma FC carried the USASA banner into the fourth round, only MLS teams survived into the semi-finals. In the quarterfinals, Los Angeles Galaxy defeated Colorado Rapids 3-1 (aet), Houston Dynamo defeated FC Dallas 3-0, DC United defeated New York Red Bulls 3-1 and Chicago Fire defeated New England Revolution 2-1. In the semi-finals, Los Angeles defeated Houston 3-1 and Chicago defeated DC United 2-1. The final was held at Toyota Park, Bridgeview IL on September 27, where the Chicago Fire made their fifth appearance in the final and took the trophy for the fourth time, defeating Los Angeles 3-1.

International club friendlies

The World Series of Soccer was expanded in 2006 to seven teams, and a number of other international exhibitions also took place. This provided MLS fans with some excellent opportunities to see top-notch club soccer. The games were a combination of matches between MLS and touring teams, and touring teams against each other, some of them doubleheaders with MLS games, others stand alone matches at MLS and non-MLS venues. The major highlights were visits by FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Celtic, Chivas Guadalajara and Club America. Two of the more satisfying wins was Chivas USA’s 1-1 draw with Chivas Guadalajara, and DC United’s 1-1 draw against Real Madrid before 66,830 at Seattle. Although DC United dominated more convincingly in their 4-0 win over Celtic at Washington, Celtic hardly comes from a powerhouse national league (Scotland). Although many of the games drew MLS-sized crowds, several sold quite well, including a sellout of 92,650 at Los Angeles for a battle between FC Barcelona and Chivas Guadalajara, and a 70,002 sellout at Giants Stadium that saw FC Barcelona win convincingly over Red Bull New York.

The games served multiple purposes. Besides continuing a tradition of welcoming overseas teams that goes back to the early parts of the 20th century, the games generate interest in MLS cities for top-notch soccer, and are lucrative both for the visiting team and for the league. If the games demonstrated the gap between MLS teams and the best international teams, they also showed that the gap was closing, although no one was saying it wouldn’t be a long haul before reaching parity. As in the past, the tours provided some time for goodwill activities; as Chelsea trained for a week at UCLA, and attended a meet and greet with local dignitaries; and Barcelona players hobnobbed with NASA officials at Houston’s Johnson Space Center. The result of all this was a profit for Soccer United Marketing, and a lot of great soccer.


7/12/06  D. C. United 4, Celtic F. C. 0 (at Washington, att. 15,223)*
7/12/06  Club America 2, Chicago Fire 1 (at Chicago, att. 16,172)*
7/12/06  Nexaca 1, Los Angeles Galaxy 0 (at Los Angeles)*
7/19/06  New England Revolution 1, Celtic FC 1 (at Foxboro, MA, attn. 18,312)*
7/19/06  FC Dallas 2, Tigres UANL 0 (at Frisco, TX, att. 17,176)*
7/19/06  Real Salt Lake 1, Morelia 3 (at Salt Lake City, att. 10,715)
7/20/06  Club America vs. San Luis (at Denver, attn. 28,215)
7/23/06  Chivas USA 1 (5-4 PK), Club America 1 (at Los Angeles, att. 22,586)*
7/26/06  Columbus Crew 1, Everton 1 (at Columbus, OH, att. 10,259)*
7/29/06  Club America vs Everton (at Frisco, TX, att. 18,329)
8/6/06   FC Barcelona 1, Chivas Guadalajara 1 (at Los Angeles; att: 92,650)
8/9/06   D. C. United 1, Real Madrid 1 (at Seattle, att. 66,830)*
8/9/06   FC Barcelona 4, Club America 4 (at Houston, att. 70,550)
8/12/06  FC Barcelona 4, New York Red Bulls 1 (at East Rutherford, NJ, att. 79,002)*
8/12/06  Real Madrid 2, Real Salt Lake 0 (at Salt Lake City, att. 45,511)*
         Club America vs. Morelia (at San Jose, att. 18,221)
         Club America vs. Seattle Sounders (at Seattle, att. 10,200)
         Chivas Guadalajara vs. Celtic (at East Rutherford, att. 17,121)
         Cruz Azul vs. Monterrey (at West Sacramento, CA, att. 15,000)

* - World Series of Soccer


1/25/06  Mexico 2, Norway 1 (at San Francisco, att. 44,729)
2/11/06  Costa Rica 1, South Korea 0 (at San Francisco)
2/15/06  Mexico 0, South Korea 1 (at Los Angeles, att. 64,128)
3/1/06   Mexico 1, Ghana 0 (at Frisco, TX, att. 19,513)
3/30/06  Mexico 2, Paraguay 1 (at Chicago, att. 46,150)
5/5/06   Mexico 1, Venezuela 0 (at Pasadena, CA, att. 58,147)
5/21/06  Northern Ireland 0, Uruguay 1 (at East Rutherford, NJ, att. 4,152)
5/23/06  Uruguay 2, Romania 0 (at Los Angeles, CA, att. 10,000)
5/24/06  Ecuador 1, Colombia 1 (at East Rutherford, NJ, attn. 52,425)
5/26/06  Romania 2, Northern Ireland 0 (at Chicago, att. 15,000)
5/27/07  Colombia 0, Romania 0 (at Chicago, att. 15,000)
8/16/06  Haiti 1, Guatemala 1 (at Miami, att. 15,000)
9/6/06   Ecuador 1, Peru 1 (at east Rutherford, NJ, att. 20,000)
10/3/06  Guatemala 2, Honduras 3 (at Ft. Lauderdale, FL, att. 19,173)
10/10/06 Honduras 2, Guatemala 1 (at Atlanta, att. )

U-20 Women’s World Cup

The United States women’s U-20 team cruised through CONCACAF qualifying for the Women’s U-20 world cup, shutting out El Salvador 5-0, and Mexico 3-0, and defeating Jamaica 4-1 and Canada 3-2. At the Cup tournament, they were placed in Group D with France, Argentina and Congo-Kinshasa, and they had an easy time of it, defeating Congo 2-1, Argentina 4-1 and France 1-0. In the quarterfinals, on August 27, they defeated Germany 4-1, but lost a heartbreaker to China in the semifinals 5-4 on penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw. They lost to Brazil in the 3rd place match, also a scoreless draw, and 6-5 on PK’s. North Korea defeated China decisively 5-0 to win the Cup. This was a disappointment for the Americans, the first time that a women’s team had not finished in the top 3 (“medaled”) in a world tournament.

The College Game

NCAA Division I Men’s tournament:In the quarterfinals, UCLA defeated Duke 3-2 (OT), Virginia defeated Notre Dame 3-2, UC Santa Barbara defeated Northwestern 3-2 and Wake Forest defeated Santa Clara 3-1. In the semi-finals, UCLA defeated Virginia 4-0 and UC Santa Barbara defeated Wake Forest 0-0 (2 OT, PK). In the final, held at St. Louis on December 3, UC Santa Barbara defeated UCLA 2-1.
NCAA Women’s Division I Tournament:In the quarterfinals, North Carolina defeated Texas A&M; 3-2, UCLA defeated Portland 2-1, Florida State defeated Clemson 2-1, and Notre Dame defeated Penn State 4-0. In the semi-finals, Notre Dame defeated Florida State 2-1 and North Carolina defeated UCLA 2-0. In the final, held at Cary, NC on December 3, North Carolina defeated Notre Dame 2-1.
NCAA Men’s Division II Tournament:In the quarterfinals, Lincoln Memorial defeated Northern Kentucky 2-1, Fort Lewis defeated Seattle 5-2, West Florida defeated Queens (NC) 2-0 and Dowling defeated Southern Connecticut State 2-1 (OT). In the semi-finals, Fort Lewis defeated Lincoln memorial 4-2 and Dowling defeated West Florida 3-3 (2 OT, PK). In the final, held at Pensacola, FL on November 18, Dowling defeated Fort Lewis 1-0.
NCAA Division II Women’s tournament:In the quarterfinals, Grand Valley State defeated Nebraska-Omaha 1-0, Tampa defeated Tusculum 5-0, West Chester defeated Franklin Pierce 2-1 and Metro State defeated UC San Diego 2-0. In the semi-finals, Grand Valley State defeated Tampa 2-0 and Metro State defeated West Chester 2-1. In the final, held at Pensacola, FL on November 18, Metro State defeated Grand Valley State 1-0.
NCAA Division III Men’s tournament:In the sectional finals, Wheaton (IL) defeated York (PA) 0-0 (2 OT, PK), Ohio Weslayen defeated Dominican (IL) 2-0, New York Univ. defeated Nazareth (1-0) and Messiah defeated Johns Hopkins 2-1. In the semi-finals, Wheaton (IL) defeated Ohio Weslayen 1-0 and Messiah defeated New York University 3-0. In the final, held at Lake Buena Vista, FL on November 25, Messiah defeated Wheaton (IL) 3-0.
NCAA Division III Women’s tournament:In the sectional finals, Virginia Weslayen defeated Washington & Lee 0-0 (2 OT, PK), Wheaton (IL) defeated Hardin-Simmons 3-0, TCNJ defeated Amherst 0-0 (2 OT, PK), and Messiah defeated Calvin (1-1, 2 OT, PK). In the semi-finals, Wheaton (IL) defeated Virginia Weslayen 2-0 and TCNJ defeated Messiah 1-0 (2 OT). In the final, held at Lake Buena Vista, FL on November 25, Wheaton (IL) defeated TCNJ 2-0.
NAIA Men’s Champion:Graceland defeated Asuza Pacific 0-0 (7-6 PK)
NAIA Women’s Champion:Lindsey Wilson defeated Asuza Pacific 2-1 (4 OT)
NJCAA Division I Men’s Championship:Jefferson defeated Mercer County 2-1 (OT)
NJCAA Division III Men’s Champion:Richland defeated Herkimer County CC 3-1
NJCAA Division I Women’s Champion:Young Harris defeated Iowa Western CC 2-0
NJCAA Division III Women’s Champion:Richland defeated Brookdale CC 1-0
NCCAA Division 1 Men’s Champion:Mid-America Nazarene defeated Cedarville 2-0
NCCAA Division 2 Men’s Champion:Southeastern defeated Philadelphia Biblical 1-0
NCCAA Division 1 Women’s Champion:Mt. Vernon Nazarene defeated The Masters 1-1 (3-2 PK)
NCCAA Division 2 Women’s Champion:Crown defeated Baptist Bible 2-1

Final Men's Division 1 NSCAA Coaches' Poll:

1.  UC Santa Barbara
2.  UCLA
3.  Wake Forest
4.  Virginia
5.  Duke
6.  Notre Dame
7.  Santa Clara
8.  Northwestern
9.  Indiana
10. Maryland

Final Women's Division 1 NSCAA Coaches' Poll:

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

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

G - Nick Noble, West Virginia
D - Andrew Boyens, New Mexico
D - Julius James, Connecticut
D - Jay Needham, Southern Methodist
D - John O'Reilly, Lehigh
M - Greg Dalby, Notre Dame
M - Maurice Edu, Maryland
M - Ryan Maduro, Providence
F - Omar Cummings, Cincinnati
F - Charlie Davies, Boston College
F - Edson Elcock, Old Dominion
F - Joseph Lapira, Notre Dame

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

G - Jillian Loyden, Villanova
D - Ari Krieger, Penn State
D - Kasey Moore, Texas
D - Kelly Rowland, Florida State
M - Yael Averbuch, North Carolina
M - Christina DiMartino, North Carolina
M - Yolanda Odenyo, Oklahoma State
F - Lauren Cheney, UCLA
F - Kerri Hanks, Notre Dame
F - Heather O'Reilly, North Carolina
F - India Trotter, Florida State

Men's National Award Winners:

Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy: Joseph Lapira, Notre Dame
NSCAA Coach of the Year (Division 1): Tim Vom Steeg, UC Santa Barbara

Women's National Award Winners:

Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy: Kerri Hanks, Notre Dame
NSCAA Coach of the Year (Division 1): Anson Dorrance, North Carolina

Awards & Tournaments

US Open Cup Championship: On September 27, Chicago Fire (MLS) defeated Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) 3-1.
National Amateur Cup:Azzurri (TX) defeated HNK Zirinski.
National Women’s Amateur Cup: Eclipse Select (Batavia, IL) were champs.
USASA National Open Cup:Sonoma County Sol (NPSL) were champs.
USASA National Women’s Open Cup Championship:Dallas Roma (TX) were champs.

CONCACAF Champions Cup 2006:In the quarterfinals, Los Angeles Galaxy drew 0-0 with Saprissa (Costa Rica), then lost to them 3-2 in OT, and was eliminated. New England was eliminated by Alajuela (Costa Rica) 0-0 and 1-0. This Cup saw several games played in the US, with Portmere and Club America drawing 8,500 to Houston and the LA Galaxy drawing 8,103 to their home match against Saprissa.

Nordic Cup (Women’s U-21): Held in Finland. On July 16, the US opened pool play by defeating Denmark 3-0, and came against a challenge from Iceland which tied them 1-1. They closed pool play with a convincing 4-0 win over Norway and advanced directly to the finals, where their dream came to an end at the hands of a 2-0 loss to Germany.

Homeless World Cup: The US was in Pool H. They beat Australia 3-2, and lost to Germany 4-1 and Denmark 8-4. In the Group Stage, they beat Norway 6-3, and South Africa 3-0. They lost to Austria 5-5 (PK), Hong Kong 11-3 and Burundi 6-0. In the quarterfinals (places 41-48), they lost to Burundi 7-0, and in the semifinals (45-48) they beat Malawi 3-0. Austria beat the USA 6-0 for 45th place. Russia beat Kazakhstan 1-0 for 1st place.

Interligua: Tournament was held in Carson, CA. Participating teams were Veracruz, Monterrey, Pachuca, Monarcas Morelia, Tigres, Guadalajara, Nexaca and Cruz Azul. Veracruz and Monterrey advanced from Group B and Tigres and Guadalajara advanced from Group B. In the two finals, UANL defeated Monterrey 2-1 in extra time, and Guadalajara defeated Veracruz 2-1. Both winners advanced to Copa Liberatores.

Military Women’s World Championships: In pool play, the US drew with Germany 2-2, then defeated Eastern-Southern Africa Liaison Office 12-0. In the semi-finals, the USA defeated France 4-3, and then fell to the Netherlands 2-0 in the final.

Milk Cup (a European youth cup):In pool play, the USA beat Wales 3-0 and tied Denmark 2-2. In the championship they lost to Paraguay 2-0.

Dallas CupThe Cup moved to the Pizza Hut Park soccer complex for its 27th year, and the Americans accomplished a first, winning for the first time the SuperGroup. The Dallas Texans Red won all 5 matches in a group that included youth teams from Manchester United and Real Madrid, as well as the Premier Academy League U-18 defending champion Blackburn Rovers. The Texans defeated Santos of Mexico 4-2 in the final. The Texans also won the U-16 group, beating Solair of Dallas in the final. FC Dallas Black beat Knowsley Youth of England for the U-19 title.

James P. McGuire Cup (US Youth Soccer Boys U-19):Javanon (KY) FC Delco Black IV
Andy Stone Cup (US Youth Soccer Boys U-18):Dallas Texans Red
Don Greer Cup (US Youth Soccer Boys U-17):Arsenal FC (CA)
D.J. Niotis Cup (US Youth Soccer Boys U-16):Casa Mia’s Bays (MD)
ADIDAS Cup (US Youth Soccer Boys U-15):Real So Cal (CA)
William J. “Billy” Goaziou Cup (US Youth Soccer Boys U-14):Valley United Blast (CA)
J. Ross Stewart Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-19):Colorado Rush Nike
Frank Kelly Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-18):Dallas Texans Red North
Laura Moynihan Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-17):Eclipse Select (IL)
Patricia Masotto Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-16):Real Colorado National
Kristine Lilly Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-15):Eclipse Select (IL)
Elmer Ehlers Cup (US Youth Soccer Girls U-14):Irvine SC Strikers (CA)

Hall of Fame: In 2006, the US Soccer Hall of Fame inducted Alexi Lalas and Carla Overbeck. In addition, the veterans committee inducted Al Trost, and Philip Anshutz was inducted as a Builder. The Hall did not award the Colin Jose Media Award this year. The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Hall of Fame inducted Miller Bugliari. The National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association (NISOA) Hall of Fame inducted Mike Balson, Alex Ivahnenko, and Pierce Richardson. The American Youth Soccer Organization inducted Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett, and Julie Foudy. The United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA) established their hall of fame. Their first class of inductees was Milton Aimi, Ed Nunez, Gianfranco Borroni, Mike Edwards, Gene Edwards, Jack Flamhaft, Werner Fricker, J. Eugene Ringsford, Peter J. peel, Joseph Triner, John Best, Clive Charles, George Donnelly, Tim Fitzgerald, Mike Kabanica, Kurt Lamm, Fritz Marth, Joseph L. Rodrigues, Mario Alarcon, Graham Biles, James Carlson, Paul Dueker, Mike Edwards, John Ellinger, Stephen Flamhaft, Bob Gansler, Gerhard Mengel, Sviatoslav “Stan” Mirza, John Motta, Edward N. Nunez, Kevin Payne, Foster Perry, Everett Polley, Peggy Polley, Salvatore Rapaglia, Gordon Redshaw, Charles Robinson, Julius Ruth, Howard Rubenstein, Roger Schott, Richard Williams, Michael Wuertz, and Joseph Zyzda.

USASA Coach of the Year: Aleks Mihailovic, Lemont, IL
Honda Award (Player of the Year):Clint Dempsey, Heather O’Reilly
USSF Players of the Year:Oguchi Onyewu, Kristine Lilly
USSF Young Players of the Year:Josmer Altidore, Danesha Adams
NSCAA Honor Award: Dr. Jay Martin