PGE Park to host semifinals of 2003 Women's World Cup

PORTLAND, Ore. - U.S. Soccer and FIFA announced today that Portland's PGE Park has been chosen to host the semifinal matches on October 5 of the FIFA Women's World Cup USA 2003. PGE Park was also selected to host doubleheader matches in the first round on September 28 and the quarterfinals on October 2. The Oregon Sports Authority, which bid for and secured the games, and Metropolitan Sports, operators of the stadium, will install a natural grass field and temporary seating for the event, increasing PGE Park's capacity to approximately 30,000. PGE Park will become the first ever venue to host matches in consecutive FIFA World Cup's.

PGE Park is home to A-League soccer's Portland Timbers, Triple-A Baseball's Portland Beavers, Portland State University Football and a host of other events throughout the year. The stadium played host to the WUSA All-Star Game last September.

"We are absolutely ecstatic," said Drew Mahalic CEO of the Oregon Sports Authority. "To be awarded the semifinals and a total of six games is just remarkable; it is further proof of Oregon's emerging status as a big-league sports destination."

October 5, also the date of the 32nd Portland Marathon, will be a landmark day for sports in the Northwest. "With the marathon in the morning and the World Cup semifinals to follow, October 5 should be one of the most memorable days in Oregon sports history," said Mahalic. The Portland Marathon's status as "the best organized marathon in North America" will enable the two events to coexist and even is complementary (Ultimate Guide to Marathons).

U.S. Soccer President Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia and FIFA Executive Committee member Worawi Makudi unveiled the entire 32-match, 23-day tournament schedule for the FIFA Women's World Cup USA 2003 at a press conference today at RFK Stadium, site of the tournament's first U.S. Women's National Team match and opening ceremonies on Sunday, Sept. 21.

In securing matches at the FIFA Women's World Cup USA 2003, RFK Stadium will join the Rose Bowl (in Pasadena, Calif.) and Stanford Stadium (in Palo Alto, Calif.) as the only stadiums in the world to have hosted matches in a FIFA World Cup, a FIFA Women's World Cup and an Olympic Soccer Tournament.

Following the USA opener, RFK Stadium will see a pair of games played on both Wednesday, Sept. 24 and Saturday, Sept. 27, featuring action from Groups A, B and C. The USA's second match takes place in the sparkling new Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Thursday, Sept. 25. The first game of the 2003 Women's World Cup will actually kickoff in Philadelphia with a doubleheader featuring matches from Groups A and B on Saturday, Sept. 20 at 4 p.m. ET.

First-round group play for the U.S. WNT will end in Columbus, Ohio on Sunday, Sept. 27 at Columbus Crew Stadium, the first major soccer-specific stadium ever constructed in the United States. Crew Stadium will host three sets of doubleheaders, including two matches on the tournament's first day of action on Saturday, Sept. 20, which will feature "Welcome to the Women's World Cup Ceremonies," and games on Wednesday, Sept. 24. All four of those games will feature action from Group C.

The tournament quarterfinals will be played as doubleheaders on Wednesday, Oct. 1 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., and on Thursday, Oct. 2 at PGE Park in Portland, Ore. Should they advance to the knockout stage, the U.S. Women would play their quarterfinal match in Boston. In addition to the game three finales of Group D on Sunday, Sept. 28, PGE Park will also host the tournament semifinals on Sunday, Oct. 5. Gillette Stadium's other matches are game three matches from Group B and C on Saturday, Sept. 27.

"Ultimately, we feel this schedule not only gives our fans an excellent chance to see the 16 greatest women's soccer teams in the world competing on the world's grandest stage, but also will eliminate the need for the four semifinal teams to crisscross the country from west to east and back again," said Contiguglia, in highlighting the fact that the first round matches in Portland and Los Angeles will feature competition exclusively in Group D.

The final and third-place matches of the Women's World Cup will be played as stand alone games on Oct. 11 and Oct. 12, respectively, at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Group D action will kickoff with consecutive doubleheaders at the HDC on Sunday, Sept. 21 and Thursday, Sept. 25.

A complete TV schedule with match times will be released in the near future. Ticketing details will also be announced shortly and will include a private pre-sale for members of the U.S. Soccer community.

The FIFA Women's World Cup USA 2003, which is being presented by MasterCard, will mark the third time in 10 years that the U.S. Soccer Federation has hosted a FIFA World Cup event. In 1994, the FIFA World Cup was introduced to the American public for the first time, resulting in the highest attended event in FIFA history, and in 1999 the groundbreaking FIFA Women's World Cup was, by every measurable yardstick, the most successful women's sporting event ever.

In addition to MasterCard, the event is being supported by FIFA partners adidas, Avaya, Budweiser, Coca-Cola, Deutsche Telekom, Fly Emirates, Fujifilm, Hyundai, McDonald's, Philips, Toshiba and Yahoo!.