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Jack Huckel


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The U.S. Women’s First Ever Qualifying Tournament

Written by on February 16, 2012 | No Comments »
Posted in United States

After the recent results at the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament, I was reminded of the first time U.S. women entered a qualifying tournament. Why was I reminded? Because the score lines against the Dominican Republic and Guatemala sounded the same as some of the results in that competition.

So I went searching through U.S. Soccer’s Media Guide to remind myself about that tournament. It was the Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament, hosted by Haiti, in April of 1991. Over five games the U.S. scored 49 goals and allowed, just as in Canada, none. The opponents and scores were:

                    April 18 v Mexico – 12 – 0

                    April 20 v Martinique – 12 – 0

                    April 22 v Trinidad & Tobago – 10 – 0

                    April 25 v Haiti – 10 – 0

                    April 28 v Canada – 5 – 0

Looks familiar! The scores reveal that the competition in the region has improved since that time, but the U.S. remains the class of the region as they have from this first competition.

Rereading about these games reminded me of some of the wonderful players that created the tradition today’s team is living up to. Among those names and remarkable similarities are:

  • Brandi Chastain, the 1999 Women’s World Cup hero, having a 5-goal game as a substitute like Amy Rodriguez and Sydney Leroux  against Mexico,
  • Michelle Akers leading the team in front of the opponents’ goal by scoring 11 goals in the tournament. When I watch Abby Wambach play, I think of her as a reincarnation of Michelle.
  • Captain April Heinrichs who had 8 goals. I see her replacement on the right side of the attack, Heather O’Reilly, as another attacking player who delights in going at defenders.
  • And a young Mia Hamm who put away 5 goals in World Cup qualifying, like the young Sydney Leroux, in her first major competitive appearance, who is always dangerous.

So, kudos to the U.S. Women’s National Team and their successful run in the Olympic Qualification Tournament. I’ll be watching to see whether they will repeat the 1991 team’s record when they compete at the 2012 London Olympics!

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