| Tuesday, November 19, 2002 20:03 EST
Match set for Jan. 12 in California
SAN DIEGO -- The U.S. women's national soccer team will open
its 2003 schedule against Japan on Jan. 12 in preparations for the
World Cup in China.
The women will play their first full international game in
Torero Stadium. The team's training base is located near San Diego
in Chula Vista.
The Americans then will travel to China for a late-January
tournament. The Women's World Cup is in the fall of 2003.
Japan is led by captain Homare Sawa, a midfielder for the WUSA's
Atlanta Beat. Sawa scored in the last meeting between the United
States and Japan, a 1-1 tie in Phoenix in December 2000. It was the
first tie for Japan against the U.S. squad after the Americans won
``I'm excited to play Japan because they play a really nice
style of soccer,'' U.S. coach April Heinrichs said. ``They push the
ball around, play with great possession and have a world-class
personality in Homare Sawa.
``The great thing about Japan is that they don't bunker; they
will come out and play. They are gearing up for their Women's World
Cup qualifying and we are counting on them bringing their best
players, who are all trying to make that qualifying team.''
Heinrichs' team has not played since winning the Women's Gold
Cup earlier this month to qualify for the World Cup.