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|Timeline of Football/Soccer - USA|
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.
The U.S. Indoor Five-A-Side (Futsal) Team won the bronze medal at the inaugural FIFA World Championship in the Netherlands.
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.
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.
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 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.
FIFA 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.
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.
Women’s World Cup Organizing Committee had awarded the ‘99 games to seven U.S. locations: Boston; Chicago; Los Angeles; New York/New Jersey; Portland, Ore.; San Francisco Bay Area; and Washington, D.C.
The women’s team continued their impressive play, losing just twice in 1998 while playing in front of records crowds all across the country.
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.
The U-23 Men’s National Team beat Canada to earn the bronze medal at the 1999 Pan 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.
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 time in 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.
The 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 place, the 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 their warm ups for qualification, despite missing many of their regular players, compiling a 16-8-10 record.
The Under-21 Women win their third Nordic Cup title in the last four years, showing the world the legacy of the U.S. Women’s National Team is in good hands.
The U.S. Women play only 10 international matches in 2001 as the new Women’s United Soccer Association begins play, with the Bay Area CyberRays winning the inaugural Founders Cup. Mia Hamm was named the first-ever FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, beating out teammate Tiffeny Milbrett and Chinese superstar Sun Wen for the historic award.
The U.S. Under-21 Women won their third straight Nordic Cup title with a 6-1 rout of Sweden in the final. The U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team prepared for 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 World Youth Championship, where the team finished second in their group in Argentina 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. 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 Lindsay 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 Team, was established in October. For the men, the U.S. Under-20 National Team qualified 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., respectively.
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 Costa Rica.
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 Argentina, respectively.
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 going a record 13-games undefeated. The U-23 Men failed to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since 1976, losing 4-0 to Mexico in Guadalajara after winning their group only match up against the second-place Mexicans in the single-elimination qualifier.
The U.S. National Futsal Team won the 2004 CONCACAF Championship and qualified for the 2004 FIFA Futsal World Championship, where the team had a strong showing with a seventh-place finish.
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 year 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.
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 concluded with another Women’s Gold Cup crown and a berth in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World 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.
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 their streak into the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Drawn into the toughest group in Women's 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 took third place for the second consecutive World Cup with a convincing win over Norway.
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 team.
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 States.
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 with two 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.
On the 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.
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 No.1-ranked team in the world in the semifinals before falling 3-2 to Brazil in the 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.
Not two days after landing back stateside, head coach Bob Bradley started training a younger group of national team players to compete in the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup. With an almost entirely different roster, the U.S. finished that tournament as runner up after reaching its second championship match in two months.
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 summer.
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 penalties.
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 hometown of Rochester, N.Y., on July 19. In the final match of the year, Sundhage led her charges overseas against perennial women’s power Germany, defeating the host nation 1-0 on October 29.
Both the U-17 and U-20 Men’s National Team competed in their respective FIFA World 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 played 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.
The U.S. 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 Richters was named U-15/16 Coach of the Year for the Academy.
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 the championship game to take home the U-17/18 championship.
After a surprising loss to Mexico in the semifinals of Women’s CONCACAF qualifying, the U.S. topped Italy 2-0 in a two-game qualifying playoff to earn a spot in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The U.S. won its seventh Algarve Cup with the first of two victories against 2011 hosts Germany.
The U.S. Under-20 Women lost in penalty kicks to Nigeria in the quarterfinals of the 2010 FIFA U-20 World Cup, while the U-17 Women became the first U.S. Women’s team to fail to qualify for a FIFA World Cup event after not advancing out of the CONACACAF qualifying tournament.
No Division II league met U.S. Soccer’s sanctioning standards; the Federation administered a league called USSF D-2 for one year.
During the summer of 2011 at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the U.S. advanced to its third consecutive final, scoring two early goals before falling 4-2 to Mexico. The continental tournament would prove to be Bob Bradley’s last involvement as head coach of the U.S., with former Germany international and FIFA World Cup winner Jurgen Klinsmann taking the helm of the U.S. Men in August. He earned his first win in Miami against Honduras thanks to a Clint Dempsey strike and later led the team to a 3-2 victory against Slovenia in its last game of the year.
The U-17 and U-20 Men’s National Teams both entered another cycle of their respective FIFA World Cups. The U-17 Men reached the knockout round for the seventh time but lost to Germany in the Round of 16. After winning their qualifying group with two shutout victories, the U-20s graduated to the quarterfinals but fell to Guatemala and did not reach the World Cup for the first time since 1995.
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