The U.S. Soccer Federation has announced the six venues for the Women's World Cup tournament beginning in September, here in the United States. The venues are a mixture of long-time soccer hosts and newly-minted fields.
U.S. Soccer President Robert Contiguglia says that Washington's RFK Stadium, Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, and PGE Park in Portland, Oregon will host games.
Also two soccer-specific venues, Columbus Crew Stadium in Ohio and the newly opened Home Depot Center in Carson, California, near Los Angeles, will also host games. Home Deport Center will host the final match.
Mr. Contiguglia says the venues were chosen because of a number of factors, including availability, lack of conflict with the NFL and to highlight the women's World Cup. "We felt that it was critical to have a national footprint and we have done that. Secondly, we felt that it was critically important to have events in the WUSA and MLS marketplaces. We also felt that it was important to show the world what the future of soccer is in the United States, namely soccer-specific stadiums," he says.
One venue that did not make the list is New Jersey's Giants Stadium, the home of the NFL's New York Giants and a the Major League Soccer's New York-New Jersey Metrostars. Mr. Contiguglia said that agreements could not be worked out with the stadium in time, so it did not make the list.
One venue is still under construction, Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This tournament will mark the first time in 35 years that Philadelphia has hosted a U.S. soccer team in an official international match.
U.S. women's national team coach April Heinrichs says the choice of venues is another step towards her team's ultimate goal -- defending its title in the women's World Cup. "For our team, our goal is to be playing at the Home Depot Center come October 12th. That has been our goal for two and one half years now since we started developing players and our system and our systems and developing our team to compete at the next World Cup," she says.
Specific information about scheduling and number of matches in each city will be released later. The International Football Federation still has to approve the calendar for the tournament.
The United States was chosen as the tournament host after FIFA moved the event out of China because of the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).