American Soccer History
American folklore asserts that Pilgrim Fathers, upon
settling at Plymouth Rock found American Indians along the Massachusetts
coast playing a form of soccer. The Indians called it “Pasuckquakkohowog,”
which means “they gather to play football.”
Many American colleges played soccer, but there was
no intercollegiate competition. Rules were casual and changed often.
The Oneidas of Boston, the first organized soccer
club in America, was formed by Gerritt Miller Smith. The Oneidas were
undefeated from 1862-65. A monument now stands in Boston Common, where the Oneidas played their home matches.
Soccer was initiated as an organized college
sport in the USA
in the years following the Civil War. Princeton and Rutgers
Universities engaged in the first intercollegiate soccer match Nov. 6, 1876, in New Brunswick, N.J. Rutgers won the match 6-4. The game was more similar to both rugby and soccer than gridiron football.
Thousands of British immigrants arrived in the
metropolitan areas of the East, Midwest and Pacific Coast. Communities with textile mills, shipyards, quarries or mines also had soccer teams among its immigrant population, a pattern occurring all over the world during the time of the Industrial Revolution.
The American Football Association was organized in
Newark, N.J., uniting the numerous
metropolitan area enclaves of the East to
maintain uniformity in the
interpretation of rules and provide an orderly and
stable growth of soccer
The U..S. and Canada played a game a year
against each other, representing the first “international”
soccer games to take place outside the British Isles.
The Federation Internationale de Football
Association (FIFA) was formed in Paris on May 21. Charter members included: France, Belgium,
Denmark, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. The
International Board, the authority over the rules and their interpretation
continued under the jurisdiction of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, even though they were not affiliated with FIFA. The Olympic Games of 1904 in St. Louis included soccer as an official Olympic sport where club teams competed under the national team banner. FIFA did not become active in Olympic soccer until 1908.
FIFA became a member of the
increasing their influence on the interpretation of
rules. The U.S. Football
Association (USFA) was granted provisional
membership by FIFA on Aug. 15.
The USFA was
incorporated under the laws of the
state of New York, May 30, and was
granted full membership in FIFA at the annual
congress at Oslo, Norway,
The first USFA Men's National Team
Norway and Sweden. The Americans played six matches on this
Bethlehem (Pa.) Steel
became the first American
professional team to play in Europe when they
The original American Professional
(APSL) began. Franchises were granted to Fall River, Mass.;
City Celtics, N.J.; Todd Shipyard of Brooklyn, N.Y.;
New York FC; Falco FC of
Holyoke, Mass.; and JP Coats of Pawtucket, R.I.
The world’s first indoor soccer league with
11-a-side teams on a full-sized field opened the winter season at the
Commonwealth Calvary Armory in Boston.
The USA was
one of 13 nations to compete in the
first FIFA World Cup competition in
Montevideo, Uruguay. Bert Patenaude (Fall
River, Mass.) was the
third-leading scorer in the tournament and was the first
player to tally
three goals in World Cup play.
At the 10th
Olympiad in Los Angeles, soccer was
eliminated due to a controversy between
FIFA and the IOC over the definition of
an amateur and the reluctance of
most of the strong soccer countries to travel
to California because of the
West Chester State College and Salisbury College
played in the first intercollegiate soccer game under floodlights.
Soccer Coaches Association of America
(NSCAA) was organized by 10 coaches
attending the annual meeting of the
Intercollegiate Soccer Football
Association of America in New York.
The USFA changed its name to the U.S. Soccer
Football Association (USSFA).
Joe Gaetjens’ goal lifts the USA over England 1-0
at the World Cup in Brazil. It was called the biggest upset ever in
international soccer. The first college bowl game was played in St. Louis Jan.
1. Penn State University tied the University of San Francisco 2-2. The
Soccer Hall of Fame was organized by the Philadelphia Old-timers
There were 15 inaugural inductees.
In an agreement
with the Old-timers Soccer
Association, the USSFA assumed administration of
the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
The American Soccer League (ASL) was granted
permission from the USSFA to create an International Soccer League (ISL), made
up of top-class European, South American and U.S. professional league teams
would operate in the cities throughout the United States.
The first NCAA
championship tournament was held in
Storrs, Conn. St. Louis defeated
Bridgeport University 5-2. The first National
Intercollegiate Athletics college championship was held in
Pa.. Pratt Institute was victorious over Elizabethtown College
The International Soccer League began play under
the sponsorship of William Cox
and the ASL. For more than a decade foreign teams
visited the USA to play
American teams. The new league, composed of first class
and South American teams, was an attempt to test the support
soccer fans for a top-flight league.
The Confederation of North, Central America and
Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), the governing body of soccer in this
part of the world, was recognized by
major professional leagues made their debut
in the USA, the
USSFA-sanctioned United Soccer Association (USA) and the
National Professional Soccer League (NPSL). By the end of the year, the
leagues merged at the request of FIFA and the North American Soccer League
(NASL) was established.
Pele retired from international competition after
Yugoslavia 2-2 before 150,000 at Rio de Janiero’s Maracana Stadium.
Kyle Rote, Jr.,
became the first rookie and first
American to win the NASL scoring title
with 10 goals and 10 assists for 30
changed its name to the United States
Soccer Federation (USSF). Kyle Rote,
Jr. won the first of his three victories in
ABC-TV Superstars competitions
against elite athletes from other major sports.
The NASL reached a
membership of 18 teams.
In April, the New York Cosmos signed Pele for $4.5
The NASL signed
a seven-game contract for national
television. On October 1, Pele
participated for both sides in his farewell game
at Giants Stadium between
the Cosmos and Santos, his old team from Brazil, in
front of a crowd of
The Chicago Sting played the Cuban National Team in
an exhibition in Havana,
the first time since 1959 an American professional
sports team had visited
Castro’s island. The New York Cosmos became the first
NASL team to break
one million in home and away attendance.
In September, the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) debuted with six
franchises: Cincinnati Kids, Cleveland Force, Houston Summit, New York Arrows,
Philadelphia Fever and Pittsburgh Spirit.
Under-20 National Team competed in its
first World Youth Championship in
Australia. The U.S. team lost to Uruguay 3-0,
tied Qatar 1-1, and lost to Poland 4-0.
The United States made a formal bid to host the
1986 World Cup. The MISL season
opened with 14 teams, including three teams
participating for a season from
the NASL (San Jose, Chicago and San Diego).
FIFA awarded the 1986 World Cup to Mexico, rejecting the U.S. bid.
The United Soccer League (USL) was formed. The ASL
canceled what would have been its
50th season. Four NASL teams permanently
joined the MISL (New York,
Chicago, San Diego and Minnesota). The American
Indoor Soccer Association
(AISA) was formed.
The NASL and USL ceased operations.
The Western Soccer Alliance (WSA) kicked off with
seven teams. At the UNICEF All-Star
game in Pasadena, Calif., FIFA officials
suggested the USA should bid for
the ‘94 World Cup.
The ASL began play with 10 teams. On July 4, the
United States was awarded the 1994 World Cup during the FIFA Congress in Zurich.
The ASL began
play with 10 teams. On July 4, the
United States was awarded the 1994 World
Cup during the FIFA Congress in Zurich.
Paul Caligiuri scored the biggest goal in U.S.
Soccer history since Gaetjens’ 1950 World
Cup goal against England. Referred to
as the “shot heard around the world,”
Caligiuri’s 35-yard dipping shot found the
net in a 1-0 victory over
Trinidad & Tobago Nov. 19 in front of 35,000
red-clad Trinidadians, clinching the USA’s first appearance in the World Cup
since 1950.The U.S. Indoor Five-A-Side (Futsal)
Team won the bronze medal at the
inaugural FIFA World Championship in the
The U.S. competed in the World Cup for the first
time in 40 years. The WSL and the ASL merged to form the American Professional
Soccer League (APSL).
The U.S. Women’s National Team captured the
Women’s World Championship in China with a 2-1 win over Norway
Nov. 30. The
women qualified for the world championship by defeating its five
CONCACAF opponents by a combined score of 49-0. The U.S. National Team won its
first-ever regional championship July 7 when it captured the CONCACAF Gold Cup
by defeating Honduras 4-3 in penalty kicks. The U.S. U-23 team won the gold
medal at the Pan Am Games in Cuba.
The U.S. National Team won the inaugural U.S. Cup
‘92 in June, defeating Ireland 3-1 and Portugal 1-0, and tying three-time World
Cup champion Italy 1-1. The U.S. Indoor (Five-a-Side) Team won the silver
medal.at the 2nd FIFA Indoor Five-a-Side World Championship in Hong Kong.
The M(I)SL folded after 15 years in existence.
In February, U.S. Soccer held the first-ever
Strategic Summit where more than 250 soccer
leaders and personalities met in
Chicago for four days to plan the
development of soccer into the 21st Century. U.S. Cup ‘93 was used as a
dress rehearsal for World Cup organizers, officials and volunteers, as well
as the U.S. National Team. The USA’s 2-0 defeat of England made headlines
around the world. Attendance and media interest were high, with 286,761
people attending the tournament’s six games, and ABC-TV
broadcasting the June 13 U.S.-Germany match.The U.S.
Under-20 National Team defeated Europe’s number one seed, Turkey,
6-0 in the first game of the World Youth Championship in Australia. FIFA
officials called the trouncing one of the most extraordinary results in the
history of the tournament. The U-20s finished eighth in the world.The NPSL was granted status in the professional indoor division by U.S.
Soccer. The APSL was declared a
Division II professional league. The United
States Interregional Soccer
League (USISL) was given Division III status. Plans
for Major League Soccer
— a Division I league to follow the legacy of World Cup ‘94 — were
presented by U.S. Soccer President Alan Rothenberg.
U.S. Soccer served as host national association for
the 1994 FIFA World Cup and, in conjunction with World Cup USA 1994, Inc., staged the greatest event in FIFA history. More than 3.5 million fans flocked to U.S. stadia — breaking
by more than one million the attendance record
established in Italy in 1990
— and soccer fever in the U.S. was at an all-time high. The U.S. team
advanced beyond the first round for the first time in 64 years, falling to
eventual champion Brazil 1-0 in a July 4 round of 16 showdown
at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, Calif. On June 4,91,123 fans jammed the Rose
Bowl to watch the U.S. defeat Mexico, 1-0, in its final tune-up prior to the
World Cup. Game proceeds netted $1 million in a U.S. Soccer contribution to
UNICEF/Children’s Defense Fund.The Women’s National Team won the Chiquita Cup, a four-team international tournament in which the U.S. hosted Germany, China and Norway. The U.S. went on to successfully defend its CONCACAF championship, qualifying for the 1995 FIFA Women’s World Championship by outscoring the opposition 36-1 en route to winning all four qualification matches. Head coach Anson Dorrance announced his
resignation and U.S. Soccer named assistant coach Tony DiCicco to succeed him.
U.S. Soccer announced in February its intention to
host the 1999 Women’s World Cup and began the formal bid process with FIFA. The
men’s national team won U.S. Cup ‘95 in June, defeating Nigeria and Mexico and
tying Colombia. The 4-0 victory over Mexico during U.S. Cup ‘95 was the most
lopsided U.S. victory in the rivalry’s 61-year history. Later that
month, the women’s team placed third in the Women’s World Cup in Sweden,
falling to eventual champion Norway in the semifinals 1-0, then defeating
China. In July, the men’s team made
international headlines by advancing to the
semifinals of Copa America, one
of the world’s most prestigious tournaments. The U.S. scored its first-ever
victory over Argentina, 3-0, and advanced via penalty kicks (over Mexico)
into the semifinals before falling 1-0 to defending world
champion Brazil. Steve Sampson, who had served as interim national team coach
since April, was named full-time head coach in August.
The women’s national team won the first-ever
women’s soccer gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, defeating China 2-1 in
the championship game. The U.S. posted a 21-1-2 overall record and won the
Brazil Cup and U.S. Women’s Cup ‘96.
The U.S. men’s Olympic team narrowly missed advancing to the quarterfinals
with a 1-1-1 record. Major League Soccer was launched, providing the United
States with its first Division I outdoor pro league since the North American
Soccer League ceased operations in 1984. MLS averaged more than 17,000 fans
per game. The A-League and USISL merged to form a larger and stronger
Division II outdoor league.
awarded the 1999 Women’s World Cup to the United States and U.S. Soccer
pledged it would be the biggest and most successful women’s sporting event ever.
national team finished off their
successful World Cup qualification process
with an historic 0-0 draw in Mexico,
a 3-0 win in Canada and a 4-2 home
victory over El Savlador. Those performances
enabled the team to clinch a
spot in the 1998 World Cup with a game to spare.
The team finished their
grueling 16-game qualifying run with just two losses and
their 4-1-5 final
round record was second by one point in CONCACAF.
The women’s team continued their
impressive play by winning their fourth
straight U.S Women’s Cup and going
undefeated in the six-game Nike Victory Tour,
celebrating their Olympic
Gold Medal a year earlier.
Cup Organizing Committee had awarded the ‘99 games to seven
Boston; Chicago; Los Angeles; New York/New Jersey; Portland,
Francisco Bay Area; and Washington, D.C.
A disappointing World Cup finished with the U.S. in
last place after two difficult match-ups against Germany and Yugoslavia,
heart-breaking loss to Iran. Brian McBride scores the team’s only
goal. The tournament concludes with the resignation of head coach
who is eventually replaced on Oct. 27 by Bruce Arena, who
seemingly won every
major championship he encountered with D.C. United and
the University of
women’s team continued their impressive play, losing just twice in 1998
while playing in front of records crowds all across the country.
In front of
over 90,000 fans at the Rose Bowl in
Pasadena, Calif., the U.S. women won
the 1999 FIFA World Cup by defending China
to a 0-0 tie through regulation
and overtime and then defeating the Chinese
women 5-4 in penalty kicks.
Their road to victory incites soccer hysteria in
America as the women
appear on every top news program, at the White House and on
the cover of
Time, Newsweek, People and Sports Illustrated. U.S. Women’s
Head Coach Tony DiCicco resigned inNovember as the winningest
coach in U.S.
Soccer history with a record of 103-8-8.
In Bruce Arena’s first full year at the
helm of the U.S. Men’s National Team,
the squad achieved a 7-4-2 mark in 13
international matches, which includes two
wins over Germany and victories
over Argentina and Chile. His team earned the
bronze medal at the 1999 FIFA
Confederations Cup in Mexico.
Men’s National Team beat Canada to earn the bronze medal at the 1999
American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, while the U-18 Women took the gold. The
Under-21 Women also earned the 1999 Nordic Cup title.
The U-20s advanced to the second round of
the 1999 FIFA World Youth
Championship in April, with their only two loses
coming to eventual finalists
Spain and Japan. Taylor Twellman scored four
goals to earn himself the Bronze
Boot, the first American male to ever earn
a FIFA scoring award. In November,
the U-17s extended their record unbeaten
streak to 24 games, advancing to the
semifinals of the World Championships
before losing in penalty kicks to
Australia. In addition to an all-time
best fourth-place finish, forward Landon
Donovan and midfielder DaMarcus
Beasley earned the Gold and Silver Balls as the
tournaments top two MVPs.
squad continued to advance toward
their ultimate goal of qualifying for the
2002 World Cup. The team secured 10
out of a possible 12 points in its last
four qualifying matches — all shutouts —
to win their semifinal qualifying
group and advance into the final qualifying
phase. The defense is the story
of qualification, as the Americans allowed only
three goals in six matches,
while the offense exploded for 14 goals. The men
also scored an impressive
win in Chile, shutout Mexico in two wins and kept the
Nike U.S. Cup title
in the United States.
The United States
women maintained the momentum from their historic Women’s
World Cup title
with a record 41 matches in 2000, posting a 26-6-9 record. The
U.S. won a
whopping six tournament titles in 2000, including — for the first
six tries — the prestigious Algarve Cup in Portugal. The women claimed a
silver medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics, losing in overtime to arch-rival
Norway in the Gold Medal Match.
American men and women put on an impressive display for the world at the
Sydney Games, as the U.S. is the only nation to have both its teams advance to
the semifinals. The American men are the surprise team of the tournament,
winning their group and advancing to the semis before grabbing fourth
men’s highest Olympic finish.
The American youth teams used the year to
prepare for qualification into the
2001 FIFA World Youth Championships. The
Under-17s again spend most of the year
in residency with head coach John
Ellinger in Florida and post a 35-14-7 record.
The team outscored their
opponents 167-65 and had three players net more than 20
goals on the year.
The Under-20s, coached by Wolfgang Sunholz, are impressive in
ups for qualification, despite missing many of their regular players,
compiling a 16-8-10 record.
Women win their third Nordic Cup title in the last four years,
world the legacy of the U.S. Women’s National Team is in good hands.
The U.S. Men
qualified for a fourth straight World
Cup appearance, boosted by four wins
and a draw to open the final round of
CONCACAF qualifying. For the first
time in U.S. Soccer history, the Men’s
National Team clinched a spot in the
World Cup at a home qualifier, topping
Jamaica 2-1 behind two goals from
Joe-Max Moore in front of 40,483 fans at the
last soccer match played at
The U.S. Women play only
10 international matches in 2001 as the new Women’s
Association begins play, with the Bay Area CyberRays winning the
Founders Cup. Mia Hamm was named the first-ever FIFA Women’s World
of the Year, beating out teammate Tiffeny Milbrett and Chinese superstar
Sun Wen for the historic award.
Under-21 Women won their third straight Nordic Cup title with a 6-1
Sweden in the final. The U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team prepared
the 2002 U-19 Women’s World Championship by going undefeated in five
international matches, outscoring opponents 23-1.
The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team
advanced to their ninth consecutive
FIFA U-17 World Championship, but were
into the Group of Death in Trinidad &
Tobago with Japan, Nigeria and
France, and were eliminated in the first round.
The U.S. Under-20 Men’s
National Team qualified for their third straight FIFA
Championship, where the team finished second in their group in
and were eliminated in the second round by Egypt.
The National Professional Soccer League,
in existence since 1984-95, merges
with the WISL and is renamed as the
Major Indoor Soccer League.
The U.S. Men’s National Team advanced to the
the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan, the team’s best World Cup
1930. The U.S. shocks the world with a stunning, 3-2 opening game
Portugal, and then earns a difficult draw with the host Koreans to earn
enough points for second place in Group D. The U.S. then posts their first-ever
victory in the World Cup knockout stage, blanking CONCACAF rival Mexico 2-0
the Round of 16 with goals by Brian McBride and Landon Donovan. The
run ended in the quarterfinals with a heartbreaking 1-0 decision
Midfielder Claudio Reyna was named to the All-Tournament Team,
Donovan earned World Cup Honorable Mentions. Prior to the
World Cup, the USA
began 2002 by winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup in January
with a convincing 2-0
victory over Costa Rica at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena,
Calif. It was the first
Gold Cup title for the U.S. since
The U.S. Women’s National Team
qualified for their fourth consecutive FIFA
Women’s World Cup, set for
China 2003, after capturing the 2002 CONCACAF Gold
Cup with a 2-1 overtime
victory over Canada at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
In one of the stories of the year,
the U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team
topped the host Canadians 1-0 in
overtime to win the inaugural FIFA U-19 Women’s
World Championship. The USA
was a perfect 6-0 in the tournament, allowing just
two goals. Forward Kelly
Wilson won the Bronze Ball as the tournament’s third
MVP and the Silver
Boot as the tournament’s second leading scorer, while forward
Tarpley earned the Bronze Boot. Additionally, the U.S. Under-21 Women’s
National Team won the Nordic Cup in Finland, marking the team’s fifth Nordic Cup
title in six years. A new national team, the Under-17 Women’s National
established in October. For the men, the U.S. Under-20 National
for their fourth consecutive FIFA World Youth Championship,
scheduled for the
United Arab Emirates in 2003.
The U.S. National Futsal Team played
their first-ever home matches, defeating
Canada and tying Mexico in March
in Baltimore, Md., and Washington, D.C.,
to the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory
Syndrome, FIFA relocated the
Women’s World Cup out of China. After a successful
bid to host the
tournament, U.S. Soccer faced the unprecedented task of hosting
tournament with just four months of preparation. The U.S. Women’s National
Team easily won Group A and then beat Norway in the quarterfinals 1-0. But
Germany stunned the U.S. with a 3-0 victory in the semifinals, which led the
U.S. to top Canada in the third-place match. Shannon Boxx, Joy Fawcett and
Hamm all earned all-star honors from FIFA.
The Men’s National Team, preparing for
World Cup qualifying in 2004, finished
in third place at the CONCACAF Gold
Cup with a 3-2 come-from-behind win over
On the youth side, the U.S. Under-21 WNT
won their sixth Nordic Cup title in
seven years, and the Men’s Under-17 and
Under-20 squads finished their
respective World Championships with fifth
place finishes after bowing out with
quarterfinal losses to Brazil and
The U.S. Women’s National Team won every tournament
entered, culminating with the 2004 Olympics. Other tournament titles
the Algarve Cup, the Four Nations Tournament and the CONCACAF
qualifying tournament, as the team set a record with 28
victories on the year
(against just four ties and two losses). At the youth
level, the Under-21 Women
won their seventh Nordic Cup in eight years and
the Under-19 Women finished
third at the FIFA U-19 Women’s World
Under head coach Bruce
Arena, the U.S. Men’s National Team qualified for the
final round of World
Cup Qualifying for the CONCACAF region. The U.S. Men also
finished the year
with an 8-1-6 record, losing only to Holland in Amsterdam and
record 13-games undefeated. The U-23 Men failed to qualify for the
for the first time since 1976, losing 4-0 to Mexico in Guadalajara
winning their group only match up against the second-place Mexicans in the
National Futsal Team won the 2004 CONCACAF Championship and
the 2004 FIFA Futsal World Championship, where the team had a
showing with a seventh-place finish.
Manager Bruce Arena led the U.S. Men’s National Team
to a first place finish in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying for the first time
71 years, earning a berth at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Finals in Germany
2-0 win against Mexico in Columbus, Ohio. The U.S. Men also brought
2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup, beating Panama 3-1 in penalty kicks after
draw. The team finished the year with a record 13 wins and
The U.S. Women began a new era, starting off the year with a new coach and a
third consecutive Algarve Cup title, their fourth overall. They ended the
undefeated and without allowing a single goal.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Under-20 Men’s
National Team swept through CONCACAF
Qualifying undefeated, earning a berth
to the FIFA Youth World Championship,
where they finished 11th, bowing out
to Italy in the Round of 16. The Under-17
Men also had a strong 2005,
qualifying for the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship
and finishing fifth
overall after a loss to Holland in the second round.
June of 2006
brought a disappointing World Cup in
Germany for the United States, as the
team failed to advance out of the first
round despite a gallant, nine-man
1-1 draw with eventual World Cup champions
Italy. Later in the summer, the
U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team finished
fourth in Russia. The
disappointing finish marks the first time a U.S. Women’s
National Team has
finished outside the top three in a FIFA or CONCACAF World
The U.S. Women’s National Team,
however, continued their incredible run under
Greg Ryan, winning three of
the four tournaments they entered (the only setback
coming in penalty kicks
to Germany in the final of the Algarve Cup). The year
another Women’s Gold Cup crown and a berth in the 2007 FIFA
Cup in China.
After eight years in
charge, Bruce Arena is replaced at the helm of the U.S.
MNT by Bob Bradley,
on an interim basis.
Bob Bradley became the first head coach in U.S.
Soccer history to win his first three games in charge and was hired full-time to
guide the USA through 2010. In the summer of 2007, the MNT won its second
consecutive Gold Cup, and fourth total title, by defeating Mexico 2-1 in
of a packed house at Soldier Field in Chicago. With the victory, the
entry into the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa, a
tournament they last
took part in during 2003. Soon after, the MNT
travelled to Venezuela to compete
in Copa America for just the second time.
After qualifying for their respective
World Cups to continue impressive
streaks, the U-17 MNT and U-20 MNT took
on the world during the summer in
back-to-back tournaments. The U-20 team
performed admirably in Canada, and
reached the quarterfinals after defeats
of Poland, Brazil and Uruguay. The U-17
team, meanwhile, did well to
qualify from a tough group in South Korea, before
being eliminated by
Germany in the Round of 16.
The U.S. WNT
maintained their two-plus year undefeated run, looking to take
into the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Drawn into the toughest group in
World Cup history, the U.S. WNT qualified in first place after three
difficult games against Korea DPR, Sweden and Nigeria. The U.S. rolled into the
semifinals, but was upended by a quality Brazil side. Eventually, the WNT
third place for the second consecutive World Cup with a convincing win
Wilmer Cabrerra was
named head coach of the U-17 MNT, replacing John
Hackworth. Former Swedish
National Team player and captain Pia Sundhage was
appointed to the position
of WNT coach after Greg Ryan's departure from the
For the first time, U.S. Soccer
hired four full-time referees to enhance
high-level performance, training
and development opportunities for the sport’s
elite officials in the United
Pia Sundhage, the U.S. Women’s National Team
had one of its best years
ever, losing only one game, which ironically came in
the opening match of
the 2008 Beijing Olympics, a tournament the U.S. would
eventually win to
take home their third gold medal. Overall, the U.S. WNT won
tournaments it entered to finish with a 33-1-2 record, giving them the
wins and best winning percentage ever in a calendar year (.944).
The Men’s National Team was successful in
its own right, starting off on the
right foot in 2010 FIFA World Cup
qualifying with a 9-0 aggregate against
Barbados in the second round. The
U.S. opened the semifinal round with 1-0
victories in Guatemala, their
first ever on Guatemalan soil, and during a
once-in-a-lifetime trip to
Havana, Cuba. Coming back to the U.S., Bob Bradley’s
squad earned home
victories against T&T and Cuba to clinch their advancement
games to play.
The MNT also played a
handful of major friendlies on European soil, traveling
to Poland, England
and Spain, before coming back to Giants Stadium to face
Argentina, the No.
1 team in the world at the time, and earning a 0-0 draw.
The U-23 MNT joined the WNT by qualifying
for the 2008 Olympics in March, but
just missed out on the second round
once arriving in Beijing. Despite a 1-0
victory against Japan in their
opening match, the U.S. gave up a late equalizer
against the Netherlands in
a game they otherwise dominated to draw 2-2, and then
fell 2-1 against
eventual silver medalist Nigeria.
youth side, the U-17 and U-20 Women’s National Teams both made the
championship match of their respective FIFA World Cups. In New Zealand, the
U-17s went on an impressive run to the final before finally succumbing to Korea
DPR in the final, but in Chile their older counterparts were able to exact
revenge with a 2-1 victory to bring the World Cup trophy back to the United
States for the first time since 2002.
Building off the initial kickoff in 2007,
U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy
wrapped up its first year with a
collection of dynamic matches during Finals
Week at The Home Depot Center
in Carson, Calif. In the U-15/16 championship,
Carmel United pulled off an
astounding run with a 1-0 victory against PDA, while
the Baltimore Casa Mia
Bays came from behind against LAFC to force overtime and
eventually win 4-2
to take the U-17/18 title.
Slated to have one of its busiest years ever, the
U.S. Men’s National Team started 2009 focused on CONCACAF Final Round qualifying
for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Opening with a 2-0 win over archrival Mexico
Columbus, Ohio, Bob Bradley’s squad proceeded to go undefeated at home
clinch a spot in South Africa with a come-from-behind win in
CONCACAF team to win in San Pedro Sula throughout
qualifying. They finished atop
the CONCACAF table with a tie against Costa
Rica in Washington, D.C. on the last
day of qualifying in
During the summer, the U.S. MNT
traveled to South Africa to compete in the
2009 FIFA Confederations Cup.
The MNT was drawn into a group with Italy, Brazil
and Egypt, and advanced
into the semifinals by virtue of a 3-0 dismantling of
Egypt in the final
game. They kept the nation captivated by beating Spain, the
team in the world in the semifinals before falling 3-2 to Brazil in
final. The championship match was the furthest the U.S. has ever gone in a
FIFA men’s tournament, while Tim Howard was awarded the Golden Gloves as
tournament’s best goalkeeper and Clint Dempsey given the Bronze Ball as the
tournament’s third-best player.
days after landing back stateside, head coach Bob Bradley started
a younger group of national team players to compete in the 2009
Gold Cup. With an almost entirely different roster, the U.S. finished
tournament as runner up after reaching its second championship match in two
The MNT wrapped up 2009 with a
pair of friendlies against Slovakia and
Denmark, before finding out their
group for the 2010 World Cup. Drawn into Group
C, the U.S. will face
England, Slovenia and Algeria in South Africa next
Pia Sunhage’s team had a more
relaxed year after their gold medal winning
exploits in 2008, starting with
the 2009 Algarve Cup in Portugal. After rattling
off three straight shutout
wins against Denmark, Iceland and Norway, the U.S.
WNT drew Sweden 1-1 but
fell in heartbreaking fashion in
They played three friendlies
against Canada, winning all three by a 6-0
combined score. Abby Wambach
cemented her status in Women’s National Team lore
by scoring her 100th
international goal in a 1-0 victory against Canada in her
Rochester, N.Y., on July 19. In the final match of the year,
her charges overseas against perennial women’s power Germany,
host nation 1-0 on October 29.
U-17 and U-20 Men’s National Team competed in their respective FIFA
Cups this year, with the U-17 team advancing out of the group stage in
Nigeria before falling to Italy in the Round of 16. A tough group containing
Germany, Cameroon and Korea Republic saw the U-20s out of the tournament
following the first round in Egypt.
Like the WNT, the youth women’s sides had a slower year after world cups in
2008. The U-20s played three international friendlies in March against Norway,
France and Germany where they won, drew and lost respectively. The U-17s
three successive matches against Germany in February, before
wrapping up the
year in December with a trip to Argentina where they
dispatched the U-17 sides
of Argentina and Chile, a joint U-17/U-20 side
from Uruguay and even Argentina’s
U-20 squad, scoring 16 goals while giving
up only one in the entire trip.
Soccer Development Academy completed its second year of competition
in 2009, once again concluding the season with Finals Week at The Home Depot
Center in Carson, Calif. In the U-15/16 age group, playoff No.1-seed Derby
County Wolves continued their strong season straight through Finals Week,
eventually defeating a Cal Odyssey squad that was the only team representing
California 1-0. For his club’s strong season, Wolves’ head coach Lars
was named U-15/16 Coach of the Year for the
Indiana United Academy, formerly
Carmel United, established precedent by
becoming the first two-time
champion of the Academy; after winning the U-15/16
title in 2008 the club
returned most of their squad and defeated D.C. United in
game to take home the U-17/18 championship