Pretty much the only way to generate soccer news in LA between Christmas and New Year’s Day is to make it yourself.
So we did.
David Beckham is our LA Sports Person of the Year. His move to Carson (of all places) had the entire world watching, as Sports Editor Kevin Modesti puts it, “the LA Bloody Galaxy.” His story is here and don’t forget to vote on whether your agree with the selection.
At the moment most readers believe Kobe Bryant’s trade threat/request was the biggest story of the year.
Just to catch up a little, U.S. Women’s National Team Coach Pia Sundhage has called up a trio of players from USC and UCLA to the six-day camp that opens Thursday in Carson.
U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year Lauren Cheney and midfielder Tina DiMartino, both from UCLA, as well as forward Amy Rodriguez from the newly minted NCAA champion University of Southern California will get an opportunity to impress Sundhage.
Rodriguez, who scored twice in the NCAA semifinal, has played for the U.S. at the 2004 FIFA Under-19 Womens World Championship in Thailand, and along with Cheney, DiMartino and Tobin Heath, at the 2006 FIFA Under-20 Womens World Championship in Russia. Rodriguez has five senior team caps, but did not play for the USA in 2007.
This is the first call-up to the full national team for DiMartino, while Cheney participated in residency training camp last year and has two caps and one goal. Heath will be participating in her third full national team training camp.
Here’s the rest of the 27-player camp roster and some comments from Sundhage from the (edited) U.S. Soccer release:
Sundhage has called in 16 members of the USAs 2007 FIFA Womens World Cup Team including striker Abby Wambach, who was recently named 2007 U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year. Defenders Kate Markgraf and Heather Mitts, and midfielder Aly Wagner were not named to the training camp roster as they continue to rehabilitate injuries. Veteran Kristine Lilly has not yet decided if she will pursue a spot on the roster for what would be her fourth Olympic games.
The additional 11 invitees range from numerous players with extensive youth national team experience to players getting their first-ever call-ups to the full national team as Sundhage continues to evaluate the player pool.
Sundhage called in seven players who recently finished their college seasons, including former University of Portland defender Stephanie Cox, a starter for the USA at the 2007 Womens World Cup who missed the mini-camp in December, in part due to her wedding (she was formerly Stephanie Lopez).
Sundhage will select a 20-player roster to travel to China next month for the 2008 Four Nations Tournament.
This is an exciting tournament as they will be the first games with the new coaching staff, Sundhage said. We want to continue to play with passion and start our change in attacking style. We want to try to dictate the tempo of the matches in the attack and while staying true to the principles in defending. The injuries we have to some veterans will most likely give some young players a chance (during the Four Nations), and it’s important to find a good mix of young inspiration with experience.
The full camp roster – goalkeepers Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.), Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.), Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.); defenders Stephanie Cox (Elk Grove, Calif.), Marian Dalmy (Lakewood, Colo.), Keeley Dowling (Carmel, Ind.), Amy LePeilbet (Crystal Lake, Ill.), Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.), Becky Sauerbrunn (St. Louis, Mo.), India Trotter (Plantation, Fla.), Cat Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala.);
midfielders Shannon Boxx (Torrance), Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.), Tina DiMartino (Massapequa Park, N.Y.), Tobin Heath (Basking Ridge, N.J.), Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.), Ali Krieger (Dumfries, Va.), Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), Joanna Lohman (Silver Spring, Md.), Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis.), Angie Woznuk (El Cajon, Calif.); forwards Lauren Cheney (Indianapolis, Ind.), Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawaii), Heather OReilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), Amy Rodriguez (Lake Forest, Calif.), Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.).
Finally, CONCACAF has announced the match schedule for the Olympic qualifying tournament that takes place in Tampa, Fla., and Carson in March:
Group A (Tampa, Raymond James Stadium)
March 11 Panama- Honduras 5:30 p.m. ET; U.S.-Cuba 8 p.m. ET.
March 13 Honduras- Cuba 5:30 p.m. ET; U.S.-Panama 8 p.m. ET.
March 15 Cuba-Panama 4:30 p.m. ET; U.S.-Honduras 7 p.m. ET.
Group B (Carson, Home Depot Center)
March 12 Haiti-Guatemala 5:30 p.m.; Canada-Mexico 8 p.m.
March 14 Canada-Haiti 5:30 p.m. PT; Mexico-Guatemala 8 p.m.
March 16 Guatemala-Canada 3:30 p.m. PT; Mexico-Haiti 6 p.m.
The semifinals are March 20 and the final is March 23 in Nashville, Tenn. Two from CONCACAF qualify for the Olympics.