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ON A TOUR OF ITS OWN: U.S. WWC TEAM, USSF BATTLING OFF FIELD

          The U.S. women's soccer team is "determined to promote
     and pay themselves better than they believe the [U.S. Soccer
     Federation] has," and has "arranged" its own 11-match indoor
     tour across the country this fall, playing an "as-yet-
     determined" world all-star team, according to Amy Shipley of
     the WASHINGTON POST.  The U.S. players' plans "conflict with
     recently announced plans" by the USSF to send the U.S. team
     on a tour to South Africa, Egypt and Australia from late
     October through December.  Shipley: "The schedule conflict
     is likely to be among a number of issues between the players
     and the USSF when they meet next week to negotiate a new
     labor agreement."  The U.S. players "agreed unanimously to
     go ahead with" their indoor tour during a meeting Monday in
     N.Y.  Each player would be guaranteed "nearly" $50,000 for
     the tour.  U.S. women's team attorney John Langel: "We're
     committed to this tour. ... It's not a lark -- it's a big
     contract. ... Unless they do this [tour], they literally
     cannot afford to leave their jobs and commit to the Olympic
     and World Cup residency camps."  Shipley writes that the
     players "want to take advantage of their skyrocketing
     popularity and demonstrate that there is a market" for a
     women's pro soccer league.  The tour will be handled "in
     conjunction" with the SFX Sports Group and "has been in the
     works since" April.  SFX Sports Group spokesperson Stan Feig
     said that more than 3,000 tickets have been sold for the
     November 20 game at the MCI Center, even though only one
     local ad "has appeared for the game."  The tour begins
     October 22 in Pittsburgh and concludes December 12 in
     Tacoma, WA (WASHINGTON POST, 7/14).  U.S. co-captain Julie
     Foudy: "The one thing we've learned recently is that our
     fans want to see more of us and more of soccer.  We're
     answering their call" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/14).  SMG GM Hank Abate
     said two months ago that he thought SFX was "crazy to have
     booked" the women's team to play at Civic Arena.  Abate:
     "Now I'm grateful they're not as crazy as I thought.  We got
     lucky, real lucky" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 7/14).

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