AN ABOUT SEPP: BLATTER WANTS WOMEN'S WORLD CUP BEFORE MEN'S
FIFA President Sepp Blatter "wants the next Women's
World Cup tournament to take place before the men's World
Cup in 2002," according to Philip Hersh of the CHICAGO
TRIBUNE, who notes Blatter's stance "represents a change in
the position announced last week by FIFA officials."
Blatter noted the 2002 Men's World Cup starts June 1, and
said the women's tournament "could begin in late March or
early April." Blatter: "It is better to play this before
the men's World Cup and bring people's attention to soccer.
It will be a curtain-raiser" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/13). U.S.
women's team member Brandi Chastain said that FIFA never
discussed moving the Women's World Cup from 2003 to 2002
with departed USSF President Alan Rothenberg. Chastain: "He
was as shocked as we were" (S.F. EXAMINER, 12/12).
COACHING CONTROVERSY: In N.Y., Jere Longman noted
speculation has Univ. of Portland men's and women's soccer
coach Clive Charles being named to replace Tony DiCicco as
the U.S. women's team coach and called the move "a mistake."
Longman: "[The women] are more successful and more popular
that the men, deservedly so. After earning next to nothing
for so long, they have the right to a bigger slice of the
financial pie. The [USSF] has no reason to resent their
achievement or to punish their assertiveness by hiring a
coach from the outside and cleaning house." Longman added
that the "best way to achieve Olympic success is an orderly
transition" from DiCicco to assistant coach Lauren Gregg:
"It is not the politically correct thing to do, just the
correct thing" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/12). In San Jose, Ann
Killion cited sources within the federation as saying that
there "has been internal criticism of how the U.S. women
played during the World Cup." Killion: "Sure, they won, but
apparently it just wasn't dominating enough for some folks.
That works against Gregg" (S.J. MERCURY NEWS, 12/12). In
L.A., Grahame Jones wrote that while Gregg is the "obvious
successor ... sexism looms large in the federation's
thinking." There is "immense jealousy, not to mention
resentment, among some at U.S. Soccer headquarters ... over
the success of the women's program, compared to the frequent
failings ... of the men's teams" (L.A. TIMES, 12/12).
NCAA FINAL: In Charlotte, Scott Fowler wrote on
Ericsson Stadium hosting the NCAA men's soccer tournament
and wrote that the "only disappointing aspect was
attendance." Fowler: "Organizers had dreamed of 20,000-
30,000 fans [for Friday's semifinals] at one point. They
got 13,231 officially, and that was a generous estimate."
(CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/12). The two-day total was 28,670,
down from last year's two-day total of 32,818 in Richmond.
NCAA spokesperson Mark Bedics: "We would have liked to have
seen more people and that's one of the things we'll look at
how we can improve" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/13).