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Newz Forum: SOCCER: Legendary trio to bow out

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posted on Dec, 8 2004 @ 10:49 PM
CHICAGO -- The U.S. Women's National Team will play its final match of the 10-game "Fan Celebration Tour" tonight against Mexico at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. (kickoff 11 p.m. ET live on ESPN Classic). The game will mark the final appearance in the legendary international careers of soccer pioneers Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy.

Joy Fawcett, who played in the last three Women's World Cups and Olympic Games for the USA, will not play due to an injury, but is set to appear at the match so fans can bid farewell to three of the greatest female players in history.

The "Fan Celebration Tour," has been part of the historic and record-setting year for the U.S. women. Currently holding a 27-2-4 record, the team has set a new mark for most wins in a year.

The U.S. team has lost just twice this year, to Sweden and Denmark and has won every tournament it entered in 2004, including the Olympic title.

The match at The Home Depot Center against Mexico, will also feature seven two-time Olympic gold medallists in goalkeeper Briana Scurry, defenders Fawcett and Brandi Chastain, midfielders Kristine Lilly and Foudy and forwards Hamm and Cindy Parlow.

The "Fan Celebration Tour" has given fans across the nation the opportunity to cheer on the USA, celebrate the gold medal victory and see some of the legends of the women's game for a final time. The FCT matches have seen more than 100,000 fans file through the gates, or more than 15,000 per game.

The USA has gone 7-1-1 on the tour so far, tying and losing to Denmark in the two most recent matches, but the squad is excited and ready to send their legendary teammates out on a high note. For the first time on the tour, all 18 members of the 2004 Olympic champions will be in attendance as UNC's Lindsay Tarpley and Heather O'Reilly fly in between final exams to play in the match.

Two U.S. players have achieved major milestones on this tour. On Oct. 3 against New Zealand in Portland, Ore., Lilly became just the fifth player in the history of international soccer to score 100 goals for her country. The 33-year-old Lilly, one of the veterans who plans to keep playing, is currently sitting on a world-record 288 games played for the USA and will likely become the first player in the history of soccer to hit 300 caps.

Forward Abby Wambach, coming off a U.S. record-tying five goals against Ireland on Oct. 23, has a team-leading 29 goals in 2004, the second highest total ever in a calendar year for a U.S. Women's National Team player. The 29 goals, combined with 12 assists, give her a total of 68 points in 2004 and move her past Hamm (60 points in 1998) for the second-most points in a year behind only Michelle Akers (85 pts in 1991).

Hamm has scored five goals on the FCT, improving her world record total of international goals to 158. Her four assists to Wambach against Ireland, one off a U.S. record, moved her even more amazing career assist total to 142, far and away the most in U.S. history.




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