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Ramos Ready to Hang 'Em Up

May 14, 2002 - Major League Soccer (MLS) News Release

NEW YORK (Tuesday, May 14, 2002) - Tab Ramos, the greatest player New Jersey has ever produced and arguably the most accomplished player in U.S. soccer history, announced today that he will retire as a professional soccer player at the conclusion of the 2002 MLS season.

The announcement was made in the Board Room of St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, NJ, the school Ramos put on the soccer map in the early 1980's that has since gone on to four national prep school championships and 12 number one rankings in the state of New Jersey. Joining Ramos for his announcement were MLS Commissioner Don Garber, U.S. men's national team coach Bruce Arena, MetroStars President/GM Nick Sakiewicz and Father Edwin Leahy, the headmaster of St. Benedict's Prep.

"I've lived a dream and it can't get any better than this," said Ramos, the first player ever signed by MLS at its inception and the last active player to be drafted by the NASL (New York Cosmos, 1984). "This is far beyond anything I could have imagined. I would have never thought, in 1982, when at 15 years old I was asked to practice with the Under-20 National team that that would be the beginning of a 20-year incredible journey. Of course it has had its ups and downs, just like anything else. But, when I look back at the whole thing I am surprised that I have been around for this long and that I've been able to live some wonderful, incredible moments."

Ramos, the lone remaining original MetroStar from the 1996 team and the team's career leader in assists (33), has firmly put his stamp on the game at every level--locally, nationally and internationally. After emigrating to the United States from Uruguay at age 11, he earned his U.S. citizenship at age 15--the same age at which he made his international debut as a member of the U.S. under-20 team.

At the same time, he was almost single-handedly turning St. Benedict's Prep around from a perennial local also-ran into one of the top soccer programs in the state. By the time he graduated from the Newark school in 1984, he had set the still-standing New Jersey high school scoring record with 161 goals, earned three All-State selections, two All-America honors and the 1983 national player of the year award.

On the international level, he became one of the first three U.S. players ever, along with MetroStars teammate Marcelo Balboa and Eric Wynalda, to play in three World Cups, and he played a crucial role in making that third World Cup (France '98) a reality when he scored the critical lone goal in a 1-0 World Cup qualifier win over Costa Rica on September 7, 1997.

Professionally, he was one of the first U.S. players ever to excel on the international club level, playing for first-division club teams in Spain (Figueres, Real Betis) and Mexico (Mexican Cup winners Tigres) from 1990 through 1996 before joining the MetroStars and MLS. He was also named one of the world's top 100 players by World Soccer Magazine in 1991, a rarity at the time for a U.S. player.

INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION BECOMES REGULAR FEATURE IN MLS MARKETS: In the span of a week, fans on the East coast of the United States have the chance to witness world stars Alvaro Recoba (Uruguay and Inter Milan), Andriy Shevchenko (Ukraine and A.C. Milan) and Edgar Davids (Holland and Juventus) as international matches on U.S. soil have become commonplace. Both clubs and countries overseas continue to choose to make the U.S. their first choice when it comes to training or exhibition games.

The Los Angeles Galaxy emerged victorious in an exhibition against Guatemalan powerhouse Municipal last Wednesday while the U.S. World Cup team followed that up with a 2-1 defeat of South American World Cup participants Uruguay. The latter match was held as part of a doubleheader, which saw D.C. United and the Columbus Crew lock horns in the second game. The international action continues this week with more matches to whet the appetite of aficionados nationwide.

The Columbus Crew and the MetroStars will welcome European opponents this week. The Crew host FC Nurnberg of the German Bundesliga on Wednesday, May 15 (7:30 p.m. ET at Crew Stadium) while the MetroStars will tangle with A.C. Milan of Italy's Serie A on Thursday, May 16 in the second half of a doubleheader featuring the U.S. World Cup team's clash with Jamaica.

Although not directly involved on the playing field, the San Jose Earthquakes will be hosts of an international friendly between Mexico and Bolivia on Thursday, May 16 at 3Com Park, kicking off at 8:00 p.m. PT. Mexico, which qualified for the World Cup from the CONCACAF region together with the U.S. and Costa Rica, will be playing against Italy, Croatia and Ecuador in Korea/Japan in Group G.

The MetroStars made an announcement this week of another doubleheader night on Saturday, May 25 which will feature Benfica of Portugal battling Emelec of Ecuador at Giants Stadium. That evening will kick off with the MetroStars and Kansas City Wizards facing off in an MLS Regular Season match which begins at 7:30 p.m. ET.

After Municipal, the Los Angeles Galaxy will play another Central American opponent in CD Aguila, one of El Salvador's most popular teams, on May 29 (10:30 p.m. ET) at the Rose Bowl. The match will mark the clubs' first-ever meeting.

Another international series which is yet to have firm dates is the two-leg Football Confederation (CONCACAF) Champions Cup quarterfinal matchup between the Chicago Fire and Monarcas Morelia of Mexico. While the other three semifinalists (including the Kansas City Wizards) have already been determined, this quarterfinal series has yet to be established due to Morelia's participation in the Copa Libertadores quarterfinals. However, if Morelia cannot rebound on the road from a 2-1 setback in the first leg against Club America when the second leg is played on Thursday in Mexico City, the Champions Cup outlook will be that much closer to being defined. The Football Confederation has informed Morelia and Chicago their series must be completed between June 29 and July 10 with semifinal series having to be completed by August 28, 2002.

Upcoming international matches:

Wednesday, May 15, 2002
Columbus Crew vs. FC Nurnberg (Germany) - 7:30 p.m. (ET) Crew Stadium - Columbus, OH

Thursday, May 16, 2002
MetroStars vs. AC Milan (Italy) - 9:30 p.m. (ET) Giants Stadium - East Rutherford, NJ
U.S. National Team vs. Jamaica - 7:30 p.m. (ET) Giants Stadium - East Rutherford, NJ
Mexico vs. Bolivia - 10:30 p.m. (ET) 3Com Park - San Francisco, CA

Saturday, May 25, 2002
Benfica (Portugal) vs. Emelec (Ecuador) - 9:30 p.m. (ET)
Giants Stadium - East Rutherford, NJ
Follows MetroStars vs. Kansas City Wizards MLS Regular Season match which begins at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Wednesday, May 29, 2002
Los Angeles Galaxy vs. CD Aguila (El Salvador) - 10:30 p.m. (ET) Rose Bowl - Pasadena, CA

Wednesday, August 4, 2002
MetroStars vs. Chivas de Guadalajara (Mexico) - 8:00 p.m. (ET) Giants Stadium - East Rutherford, NJ

In a very different vein compared to the scheduled encounters above, Major League Soccer has arranged for a benefit match at Giants Stadium the week of September 11, 2002 to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the tragedies of September 11. Approval of MLS' application to the United States Soccer Federation for the benefit match was recently approved by FIFA, soccer's world governing body. Specifics of the event have not been finalized, but MLS is hoping to feature the 2002 World Cup Champions against a group of FIFA World All-Stars from around the globe.

It will not mark the first time the World Cup champions will kick off against a group of FIFA All-Stars at Giants Stadium. In 1996, reigning world champion Brazil faced a FIFA All-Star lineup in a doubleheader that also featured the inaugural MLS All-Star Game on a magical day for soccer at Giants Stadium. The July 14, 1996 event was a sell-out at Giants Stadium with an attendance of 78,416.

BRUCE ARENA HAS A DECISION TO MAKE: With Chicago Fire midfielder Chris Armas having to miss the World Cup due to a torn ACL in his right knee suffered last Sunday in a World Cup tuneup match against Uruguay, Head Coach Bruce Arena will have to select a substitute both on the field and on the roster. The announcement of Armas' replacement will come on Wednesday in the course of a media teleconference call that Arena will conduct.

His final choice will come from the 10 alternates who are on standby: goalkeepers Tim Howard (MetroStars) and Zach Thornton (Chicago Fire); defenders Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96 - Germany), Richard Mulrooney (San Jose Earthquakes) and Greg Vanney (F.C. Bastia - France); midfielders Brian Maisonneuve (Columbus Crew), Brian West (Columbus Crew) and Richie Williams (D.C. United); and forwards Jovan Kirovski (Crystal Palace - England) and Ante Razov (Chicago Fire).

Arena has several players who can fill the central midfield but few with the tenacious and defensive strengths of an Armas. The tireless and relentless Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids) is arguably the only soccer talent who can come close to matching Armas' contributions. However, any other personnel shuffles could also have a ripple effect on the squad, especially if projected starters John O'Brien (left midfield), Claudio Reyna (central playmaker) and Tony Sanneh (right back) are required to play outside their regular positions.

MLS' YOUTH AT IT AGAIN - TAYLOR TWELLMAN & DAMARCUS BEASLEY WIN ACCOLADES: It was a week marked by America's youth on the professional club and international scene. The New England Revolution's 22-year-old first-year forward, Taylor Twellman, tallied two more goals last Saturday against the Dallas Burn, capturing Player of the Week honors. The Chicago Fire's 19-year-old left-side midfielder, DaMarcus Beasley, left his mark in a World Cup exhibition match against Uruguay on Sunday afternoon at RFK Stadium. The native of Fort Wayne, Indiana netted the game-winning goal and was the unanimous selection for Man of the Match honors.

The 'Beas': One of the last players to be selected to the U.S. World Cup team, Beasley will also be among the youngest players on any roster in the 32-team field in Korea/Japan. Having been told that his planned role was that of a sparkplug off the bench, Beasley took his opportunity at starting on Sunday and made the most of it.

"He played like a man today," Arena complimented Beasley in the post-game press conference. "We can use them (younger players on the roster) and they demonstrate every time out we can. That's why they're on the roster."

One of the most exciting players in the U.S. game today, Beasley has long been considered a player of immense talent but Sunday proved to be the first high-profile match in which he has had the chance to make a name for himself. On a similar platform in the Under-17 World Cup in 1999, he was elected as the second best player of the tournament, standing only behind his good friend Landon Donovan (San Jose Earthquakes). His combination of speed and technique down the left flank are reminiscent of a Ryan Giggs (Manchester United) - someone Beasley looks to match his game with down the line.

Despite his 136-pound lightweight frame, Beasley is fearless on the field of play putting a new soccer attitude on display that is commonplace among players of his generation: confident and irreverent when it comes to the world soccer hierarchies. Should he hold on to his starting spot until June 5, the U.S. opener against Portugal, the World Cup stage should bring out more of the best in him.

Player of the Week award is Taylor-made: Taylor Twellman, a native of the soccer hotbed of St. Louis, Missouri is glad to be back home in the U.S. and is showing it on the field. Not projected to be a starter for the Revolution in preseason, Twellman has won the job to the tune of four goals in his first three starts (a three-game goal streak), assuming the team lead in that all-important category. He has succeeded in outshining the last two Budweiser Scoring champions in Alex Pineda Chacon (19 goals in 2001) and Mamadou Diallo (26 goals in 2000).

"For me it's not a surprise; when we drafted him (No. 2 overall in the 2002 SuperDraft), we knew what he was capable of. He has his opportunities, and he's finishing them right now," said Head Coach Fernando Clavijo of the player who is third among goal scoring leaders in MLS.

The son of a former professional soccer player (Tim Twellman played for the Minnesota Kicks of the NASL), Twellman is a classic goal poacher. Those same skills made him the third leading scorer at the 1999 Under-20 Youth World Championship and won him a contract shortly thereafter with TSV Munich 1860 of the German Bundesliga, where he played in lower division reserve teams. Although he was never part of the running for the 2002 World Cup squad during his two seasons in Europe, his return to MLS with a bang is sure to gain him some consideration for the next tournament in 2006 - to be played on his old stomping grounds of Germany.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW - ASSISTS ON GIVE-AND-GO SCORING PASSES: In order to clarify an incident from last Saturday's match between Colorado and Kansas City, MLS Communications has included below a summary of the official scoring decision from that game.

The situation: A give-and-go between the Rapids Chris Henderson and John Spencer freed Henderson for an 88th minute goal. In the initial aftermath of the goal, statisticians in Colorado mistakenly awarded Carlos Valderrama with a secondary assist on the play, which subsequently would have made the Colombian the first player in League history to reach the 100 career assist milestone (before a correction could be made, Valderrama was honored with a post game ceremony). However, because the sequence leading to the goal included three passes: Valderrama to Henderson, Henderson to Spencer, and finally Spencer back to Henderson. No secondary assist is awarded because Henderson (the goal scorer) played the pass that led to the primary assist, hence nullifying the scoring potential of the pass he received from Valderrama.

Official MLS Statistics mandate that when the play immediately preceding a goal consists of two or more passes by the scoring team (without the defending team interrupting the flow of passes by gaining control of the ball), the players making the final two passes before the goal shall each be awarded an assist. Additionally, Henderson can not be credited with an assist on the goal he scored.

NEW FACES IN NEW PLACES: Midseason changes are a part of every MLS season, with the current regular season campaign proving no different. In recent weeks, there have been several changes on rosters around the League, the last of which involved a trade between D.C. United and the MetroStars.

On May 9, United acquired midfielder Petter Villegas and defender Orlando Perez from the MetroStars in exchange for midfielder Mark Lisi and defender Craig Ziadie. Other transactions included the Colorado Rapids trading a second round selection in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft to the Chicago Fire for midfielder and Chilean international Raul Palacios. All players involved in these transactions saw action in MLS games this past weekend.

Kansas City has also announced that the long-awaited arrival of Argentinian striker Dario Fabbro is close to being completed with Fabbro set to be available this weekend when the Wizards host the Los Angeles Galaxy on May 18 after receiving his visa this week. He is expected to be at practice on Thursday.

SOCCER SATURDAY GAME OF THE WEEK - RAPIDS vs. BURN ON ESPN2: Dallas (2-2-3, 9pts) and their high-scoring forward Jason Kreis (5g, 1a = 11pts) will put the test to Colorado (4-2-1, 13pts) and goalkeeper Scott Garlick, who leads the League with four shutouts this Saturday at 4:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2 in the Soccer Saturday Game of the Week. Coming off mixed results last week, Dallas is seeking to right the ship, while the Rapids will try to continue their winning ways.

Colorado, coming off of an impressive 2-0 victory over the Kansas City Wizards, will look to the scoring tandem of forward John Spencer (3g, 3a = 9pts) and midfielder Chris Henderson (4g, 1a = 9pts) to extinguish the Burn. Spencer scored Colorado's first goal last week by way of the penalty spot and then assisted on Henderson's goal in the 88th minute. Carlos Valderrama will try to become the first MLS player with 100 career assists after sitting at the 99-mark since his assist to Spencer in a 1-0 overtime win against the Los Angeles Galaxy on April 27 at the Rose Bowl.

Meanwhile, Dallas was the victim of the New England Revolution in the CMGI Field opener as the Burn lost 2-0. Revs' forward Taylor Twellman was the difference, as he found the back of the net twice. Kreis looks to get back in the scoring column after having his five game goal-scoring streak stopped in Foxboro. Things look good for Kreis, who has tallied four goals and seven assists against the Western Conference rival Rapids.

The result should be tight with the overall series tied at 10-10-0, with 10 of the 20 games being decided by one goal or less. Colorado has won seven of the last nine meetings between the two clubs, but Dallas won the last meeting 6-3, on June 16, 2001 at Mile High Stadium. Colorado will attempt to continue a winning streak at the Cotton Bowl, winning the last four in Dallas. The Rapids have not lost at the Burn's stadium since May 16, 1998.

ACE/TRU-FIT MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER INJURY REPORT

The following is a brief team-by-team injury overview entering Week 9 of the 2002 MLS Regular Season:

EASTERN CONFERENCE
CHICAGO FIRE - OUT: M Chris Armas (torn ACL-R), F Aleksey Korol (bursitis-left knee), D Evan Whitfield (ACL tear-L), M Jason Moore (concussion, appendicitis), F Hristo Stoitchkov (MCL sprain knee-R); QUESTIONABLE: M Dema Kovalenko (hamstring strain-R), F Ante Razov (bone bruise knee-L)
COLUMBUS CREW - none to report
D.C. UNITED - OUT: GK Mike Amman (elbow surgery), M Ben Olsen (ankle surgery)
METROSTARS - OUT: D Marcelo Balboa (knee bone bruise-R), F Martin Klinger (lower back pain);
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION - OUT: GK Adin Brown (foot stress fracture-R)

WESTERN CONFERENCE
COLORADO RAPIDS - none to report
DALLAS BURN - OUT: F Eddie Johnson (ankle sprain-L)
KANSAS CITY WIZARDS - OUT: D Jose Burciaga (torn ACL-L)
LOS ANGELES GALAXY - OUT: F Chris Albright (broken foot-R), F Isaias Bardales (knee sprain-R), M Peter Vagenas (lower back strain); PROBABLE: M Simon Elliott (ankle sprain-L), D Ezra Hendrickson (strained hamstring-R)
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES - OUT: M Scott Bower (partial peroneal nerve palsy-R); PROBABLE: M Ian Russell (Achilles tendonitis-L)

SUSPENSION SUMMARY

Player/Coach Team Suspension Reason
Diego Serna MetroStars 5/18 vs. DC Red card

WARNING SUMMARY

Player/Coach Team Reason Santino Quaranta D.C. United 11 pts in three games
Nick Garcia K.C. Wizards 11 pts in three games
Diego Gutierrez K.C. Wizards 11 pts in three games
Daniel Hernandez MetroStars 11 pts in three games

WORLD CUP CALL-UPS

Player Team Position
Tony Meola Kansas City Wizards GK
Jeff Agoos San Jose Earthquakes D
Carlos Llamosa New England Revolution D
Pablo Mastroeni Colorado Rapids D
Eddie Pope D.C. United D
DaMarcus Beasley Chicago Fire M
Landon Donovan San Jose Earthquakes M
Cobi Jones Los Angeles Galaxy M
Clint Mathis MetroStars F
Brian McBride Columbus Crew F
Josh Wolff Chicago Fire F

MLS QUOTES OF THE WEEK

"We're still looking forward to establishing ourselves at Cardinal Stadium. We're looking forward to the stadium [seating] being completed. Then the atmosphere will be real special. The proximity of the fans to the field will make it real loud, and it'll feel like the stadiums in England.'' - Chicago Fire Head Coach Bob Bradley on Cardinal Stadium on the campus of North Central College in Naperville, IL (from the Chicago Sun-Times)

"A week from now when this venue is shown back to Europe with the Dutch national team, we really want this venue to be known as the premier soccer venue in the United States. This first showing back to Europe will be critical. And the guys who are coming on this Dutch team all play for major clubs throughout Europe. We want the word of mouth to start with them.'' - Revolution General Manager Todd Smith on CMGI Field and the May 19 twinbill featuring the Chicago Fire-New England Revolution and the U.S. Men's National Team taking on Holland (from the Boston Herald)

"Right now he's [on a path] to get to the national team very fast. I'm going to tell him that if he keeps working as hard as he has the last two or three months, for sure he'll be on the national team next year." - Chicago Fire midfielder Peter Nowak on teammate Kelly Gray (from the Chicago Tribune)

"It's like the outhouse to the penthouse. To come to this big house here, it's just a different class." - New England Revolution defender Ted Chronopoulos on the team's move into CMGI Field (from the Hartford Courant)

"Major League Soccer is quite different from Guatemalan soccer. Here, the game is much quicker and more aggressive. I have seen a lot of great players with a very high standard of play. Most of all, soccer is on the ascent as compared to soccer from other parts of the CONCACAF region." - Los Angeles Galaxy forward Carlos Ruiz on his impression of Major League Soccer (from the Chicago Daily Herald)

"After all those years it was great to finally be able to play in my own backyard again. I mean, I grew up in the upper deck at the Meadowlands, rooting for the Cosmos, and the last few years I've had the privilege of playing there. I just wish we could have won a championship here, like the Cosmos did. Maybe we will this year. It would be a heck of a way to go out, wouldn't it?" - MetroStars midfielder Tab Ramos on his first days in MLS at home with the MetroStars in 1996 (from the Star-Ledger)

"Taylor, I respect very much. He told me that anything I tell him he's going to listen to. Last year in Tampa I played the forward line alone and there was no one to take advantage of things that were happening around me.'' - New England Revolution forward Mamadou Diallo on teammate Taylor Twellman (from the Boston Herald)

''It's a new era, a new building, a new karma,'' Kraft said. ''It was great to see fans actually walking through the new stadium. I told [Twellman] he would be remembered for the next 50 years for scoring the first goal at the new stadium. And he said, `Why not forever?''' - New England Revolution owner Robert Kraft on the first goal scored in CMGI Field by Taylor Twellman (from the Boston Globe)

"Kudos to Tom for having 34-inch arms. That was massive, especially at that time of the game. That breaks D.C.'s heart. Tommy's good at PKs.'' - Columbus Crew head coach Greg Andrulis on Presthus' save on Jaime Moreno's free kick, preserving a tie between the clubs (from the Columbus Dispatch)


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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.


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