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US Soccer Team Takes on El Salvador in November - 2002-10-09

The United States Men's National Soccer Team will play its first international opponent since its World Cup quarterfinal finish, when it faces El Salvador November 17 at RFK Stadium here in Washington.

U.S. coach Bruce Arena says the team's performance at the World Cup was a success, but that it is time to begin the next four-year cycle of building a team capable of qualifying for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Arena says he plans to look at many players during the next year, and the match against El Salvador will provide an opportunity to get a first look at some new faces. The two teams last squared off earlier this year in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Brian McBride tallied a hat trick en route to a 4-0 U.S. victory January 27 at the Rose Bowl.

The United States went on to capture the Gold Cup championship, showing the impressive form that carried through to the World Cup in Japan and South Korea. The United States holds an 8-1-4 lifetime advantage against El Salvador, and has never lost a meeting on home soil.

American national soccer team player Landon Donovan has been awarded the 2002 Honda Player of the Year Award during a gala luncheon in Los Angeles.

The 20-year-old Donovan became the youngest ever winner of the prestigious U.S. professional soccer award, which was voted on in a nationwide poll of American sports journalists. Donovan scored two goals in the 2002 FIFA World Cup and six this year for the United States. His first game with the national team came almost two years ago in a match against Mexico. Donovan received 497 points in the voting by a record 277 sports journalists. Brad Friedel, a first-time finalist who traveled with his wife from England to Los Angeles in order to participate in the ceremony, finished second overall with 382 points. Five-time finalist and 2000 winner Claudio Reyna, finished third with 274 points.

Donovan said it was a great honor to win the award and have his name added to the Honda Player of the Year trophy. He will receive a new Honda Accord, and Honda will donate five-thousand dollars to the American Youth Soccer Organization in Donovan's name.