***image1***CHICAGO— The U.S. Men’s National Team has scheduled a game against Poland in Kaiserslautern March 1 in one of the most unique games in the team’s 90-year history. The game will be televised live in the United States from a city that is home to almost 50,000 U.S. service personnel.
The match against Poland is being staged by U.S. Soccer at Fritz-Walter-Stadion, the site of the USA’s highly anticipated FIFA World Cup match against Italy June 17. The World Cup game against Italy is the second of three Group E matches for the United States and will be played in the smallest German venue, home to 100,000 Germans.
With tickets for all 64 FIFA World Cup games at a premium worldwide, U.S. Soccer has scheduled this critical World Cup preparation match with the goal of making sure the 50,000 U.S. troops and family members in Kaiserslautern have a chance to be a part of the German World Cup experience.
“We are happy to be playing in a community where so many American military personnel and their families will have the opportunity to be a part of the World Cup experience,” said U.S. Manager Bruce Arena. “We look forward to a great atmosphere at the stadium, and we think Kaiserslautern is going to be a very pro-American venue in March and again in June.” Fritz-Walter-Stadion in Kaiserslautern will seat 48,500 for the World Cup.
A special pre-sale of tickets for members of the U.S. community throughout Germany started yesterday. Tickets for the USA-Poland match range in price levels from 15 € to 125 €. Tickets are available on-line at www.fck.de./usa-pland.php (password – GOUSA) and by phone at 01805 -3188 00, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tickets are also available at the Ramstein Community Center, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday.
Commencing Thursday, tickets will go on sale at FCK Fan Shops and the Fritz-Walter-Stadion ticket office, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
The game couldn’t be any more important in Arena’s preparation for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in that the matchup with Poland falls on the only international fixture date in advance of the tournament, allowing the coach to call in his entire team without restriction.
“The game against Poland accomplishes a number of goals for our preparation for the World Cup,” said Arena. “We get the opportunity to play a European opponent, and we have a chance to play in the stadium where we will face Italy in the World Cup in June. It gives our players the ability to familiarize themselves with the venue.”
The match marks the first time in the 472-game history of the U.S. Men’s National Team that the squad will play a stand alone friendly on neutral ground.
Against Poland, the United States has an all-time record of 5-7-2 in 14 match-ups. The teams have met once before on neutral soil, a 3-1 victory for Poland in the teams’ final Group D match at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Daejeon, Korea Republic.
The USA was drawn into Group E for the 2006 FIFA World Cup along with the Czech Republic, Ghana and Italy. The U.S. plays their opening match against the Czechs June 12 in Gelsenkirchen before meeting Italy and then finishing off group play against Ghana June 22 in Nuremberg. The United States have chosen the northern port city of Hamburg as their base of operations throughout the tournament. (Information provided by U.S. Soccer Communications)