U.S. women's soccer in final preparations for World Cup

Stanford players on the roster of the U.S., Mexico and New Zealand

By Rick Eymer

Palo Alto Online Sports

Since arriving in Dresden on Thursday, the United States women's national soccer team has taken in the sights, including a visit to the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, and worked on their individual skills and teamwork.

In the city that has reinvented itself after being leveled by Allied air strikes during World War II, the Americans, including Stanford grads Kelly O'Hara, Rachel Buehler and Nicole Barnhart, will be trying to reinvent their winning ways.

Team USA meets Korea DPR in group play for the fourth consecutive Women's World Cup when the two squads square off Tuesday in Dresden. The USA won the matches in 1999 and 2003, both by 3-0 scores, but drew 2-2 in 2007.

The tournament kicked off Sunday with host Germany beating Canada, 2-1, in front of a crowd of 73,680 at Berlin's Olympic Stadium. France edged Nigeria, 1-0, in Sinsheim.

The U.S. is looking for its first World Cup title since 1999, when Brandi Chastain scored the Cup-clinching goal at the Rose Bowl and forever changed the way the women's game was viewed with her famous impromptu celebration.

Team USA settled for third place in each 2003 and 2007 while Germany is the two-time defending champion.

Stanford grad Julie Foudy, now an ESPN soccer commentator, was on the gold medal team in 1999 along with Chastain and Mia Hamm.

The U.S. reached the championship match after beating Brazil, 2-0, in a semfinal match played before 73,123 fans at Stanford Stadium on July 4.

Buehler, an All-American defender at Stanford, is eighth on the national team with 56 caps. Barnhart enters with 39 caps and O'Hara, the second youngest member (to Alex Morgan) at age 22, has five caps.

Christie Rampone, the elder statesman of the squad, leads with 234 caps while goalkeeper Jillian Loyden has one cap.

Heather O'Reilly leads Team USA with 28 career goals, followed by Carli Lloyd with 27 and Shannon Boxx with 22. O'Hara has yet to score.

Stanford junior Alina Garciamendez and senior Teresa Noyola play for Team Mexico, which opens against England on Monday in Wolfsburg. Japan and New Zealand are also in Group B with the Mexican team.

Garciamendez, a defender, will be participating in her 20th international match while Noyola will be appearing in her ninth.

Mexico goes into the match seeking to set a new standard for itself after failing to gain a point from their single appearance at the 1999 Women's World Cup.

Cardinal grad Ali Riley plays for New Zealand and will be making her 50th international appearance when the Kiwis meet Japan.

"I'm really excited because I think it there is a good opportunity for us to get out of the group," Riley told "It is a very competitive section but we have played England and Japan before and have some good history. 'm also really excited because I know a number of players in the England and Mexico teams really well so that will make it extra special."

Riley was named Oceania Football Confederation Women's Player of the Year for 2010 last month, her second straight honor. The men's award went to Stanford grad Ryan Nelsen.

Although they have never met at a FIFA Women's World Cup, New Zealand and the Japanese have met four times, with Japan winning three international friendlies and plying to a draw.

"This is going to be a highlight of my playing career," Riley said. "The tournament will be an incredibly exciting time for women's soccer."

USA men's water polo

Stanford grad Layne Beaubien scored for the U.S. national men's water polo team but the Americans were unable to keep up with Croatia, falling to theCroatian national team, 11-5, Sunday in the bronze medal game of the FINA World League Super Final in Florence, Italy.

Beaubien's goal brought Team USA within 2-1 with 1:33 left in the first period. Croatia took control from there, limiting the U.S. to one goal in the second half.

The U.S. will regroup and prepare for the FINA World Championships in Shanghai, which begins on July 16.

Men's crew

The Under-23 and Junior World Championships Trials begin Monday at Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J. Racing will continue through Wednesday morning's finals.

Stanford sophomore Austin Hack, junior Alec Macrae and senior Dean Walker are participating in the U.S. Under-23 camp.

The winner of each event will be selected to represent the United States at either the 2011 World Rowing Under 23 Championships, taking place in Amsterdam from July 21-24, or the 2011 World Rowing Junior Championships, which will be held in Eton, Great Britain, from August 3-6.

USA baseball

Stanford sophomore Brian Ragira was 1-for-1 as a defensive replacement in the U.S. Collegiate National Team's 4-1 win over North Shore on Sunday.

Ragira and the CNT (3-0) take on a local all-star team at Fenway Park at noon Monday.

USA men's basketball

Stanford sophomore Anthony Brown saw seven minutes of action in the U.S. U19 Men's National basketball team's 101-72 loss to the host Lithuania U20 team in Panevezys on Sunday.

Tim Hardaway, Jr. led the Americans with 18 points on 7-of-18 shooting. Joe Jackson added 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds.

Team USA plays Lithuania's U19 national team on Tuesday in Vilnius, Lithuania. The FIBA U19 World Championship is scheduled to begin June 30 in Valmiera, Liepaja and Riga, Latvia.

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