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Looking Back at U.S. WNT’s CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying

This Friday marks the start of the U.S. Women’s National Team’s third CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament. We look back at the previous two competitions in 2004 and 2008.

© Brad Smith/U.S. Soccer

IN THE IMAGE: U.S. goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart made a game-winning save during the USA’s 6-5 shootout win against Canada in the 2008 Olympic qualifier

The three-time, gold-winning U.S. Women’s National Team prepares for the 2012 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament this week in search of
a trip to the 2012 London Olympics. This Friday marks the USA’s third Olympic Qualifying Tournament, and we look back at the previous two
qualifying competitions.

Since the start of the women’s Olympic soccer tournament in 1996, the U.S. Women’s National Team has easily been the most dominant soccer country in
the Summer Games.

The U.S. WNT has won the gold in three of the four tournaments – 1996 in Atlanta, 2004 in Athens, Greece, and 2008 in Beijing, China. The USA also has
a silver medal to its name from the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, falling just short to gold medal-winning Norway on a controversial Dagny
Mellgren goal where replays showed she knocked down the ball with her left arm before tallying the winner.

The Americans are preparing for their third Olympic Qualifying Tournament as the qualification process was introduced in 2004. When women’s soccer
launched in the 1996 Olympics, qualifying was largely determined by the results in the previous year’s World Cup. The U.S. women took third in the 1995
FIFA Women’s World Cup and won the 1999 World Cup and represented the CONCACAF region during the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games.

The eight-team 2012 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament runs from Jan. 19-29 in Vancouver, B.C. The U.S. kicks things off against the
Dominican Republic at 10:30 p.m. ET Friday, followed by Guatemala (7:30 p.m. ET Sunday) and Mexico (10:30 p.m. Tuesday).

Here is a look back at the USA’s previous Olympic qualifiers:

2004 Olympic Qualifying Tournament:

In the 2004 Olympic qualifying, the U.S. under head coach April Heinrichs traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica, and opened with a dominant 7-0 win against
Trinidad Tobago on Feb. 25. Shannon Boxx had three goals and an assist, while Mia Hamm contributed two goals and two assists … The U.S. then
trounced Haiti 8-0 on Feb. 27, with Cindy Parlow netting a hat trick and assisting on two other tallies … The USA won its group with a 2-0 victory
against Mexico on Feb. 29, benefiting from an early own goal and then taking a two-goal lead into halftime with an Abby Wambach goal in the 26th minute
… The USA advanced to the Athens Olympics on the strength of a 4-0 win against host Costa Rica on March 3, with three of the first goals coming in the
first half … With the U.S. and Mexico already qualifying for the Olympics, the two sides squared off in the final on March 6. Mexico, which upset
Canada to reach the final, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half. But the USA netted three unanswered goals, capped off by Julie Foudy’s
87th-minute score, to pull off the 3-2 victory. Mexico’s two goals were the only tallies conceded by the USA during the entire tournament as the team
outscored its opponents by a stellar 24-2 margin.

2008 Olympic Qualifying Tournament:

In the 2008 Olympic qualifying, new U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage’s side traveled to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and breezed past Jamaica 6-0 in the opener
on April 4 in Group A play … Two days later the U.S. won Group A with a 3-1 victory over host Mexico in front of a sold-out crowd of 22,280 at Estadio
Olimpico Benito Juarez. Natasha Kai had two of the USA’s three tallies … The U.S. then earned a spot in the Beijing Olympics with a 3-0 semifinal win
over Costa Rica on April 9. Kai once again produced on the offensive end with two goals … The USA capped off the tournament by edging Canada in a
shootout, 6-5. U.S. goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart sealed the win with a diving save to her left to turn away Brittany Timko’s penalty kick.

On Wednesday, Universal Sports Network announced that it

will provide live coverage

of the entire 2012 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament:

Universal Sports Network/UniversalSports.com

CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Broadcast Schedule

Date Match Time (ET)

Jan. 20 USA vs. Dominican Republic 10:30 p.m.

Jan. 22 USA vs. Guatemala 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 24 USA vs. Mexico 10:30 p.m.

Jan. 27 Semifinal TBD

Jan. 29 Final (live on NBCSN) 8 p.m.

Jan. 29 Final (delayed re-air) 11 p.m.

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