SALT LAKE CITY, UT - Major League Soccer today unveiled the full slate of six matches scheduled for the opening weekend of the 2005 regular season on Saturday, April 2, 2005. The League's 10th season will open with First Kick 2005 and the highly anticipated first game in the history of Real Salt Lake, which travels to the New York area to face the MetroStars at Giants Stadium at 5:00 p.m. MT.
Former U.S. Under-17 National Team Head Coach John Ellinger makes his MLS head coaching debut, directing the League's all-time leading scorer Jason Kreis, Jamaican National Team captain Andy Williams, goalkeeper D.J. Countess and the remaining Real Salt Lake roster against the MetroStars and Bob Bradley, the all-time winningest coach in League history.
"We are excited for Real Salt Lake to introduce itself to the League and the soccer world in the media-savvy New York-area," said Real Salt Lake General Manager Steve Pastorino, who added that local broadcast information for this and several other Real Salt Lake games will be announced in January. "I'm certain that our ownership group, led by David W. Checketts, will celebrate its sporting ties to New York on Saturday, April 2, yet another historic day in the evolution of Real Salt Lake."
Club Deportivo Chivas USA joins Real Salt Lake as expansion brethren in 2005, with CD Chivas USA opening their history live on ABC Sports against the defending MLS Cup champion D.C. United at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., at 1:00 p.m. MT.
Other matchups scheduled for the First Kick 2005 opening weekend include: the Los Angeles Galaxy taking on the Columbus Crew, winners of the 2004 MLS Supporters Shield with the best regular season record (5:30 p.m. MT); the MLS Western Conference Champion Kansas City Wizards hosting the new-look Colorado Rapids (6:00 p.m. ET); the first game of the Brimstone Cup rivalry between FC Dallas and the Chicago Fire at Soldier Field (6:30 p.m. ET); and the New England Revolution traveling to meet the San Jose Earthquakes (8:00 p.m. MT).
The complete 2005 regular season schedule will be released in January. The listing of the full slate of matches on opening weekend follows below:
SATURDAY - APRIL 2, 2005 (all times Mountain)
Real Salt Lake @ MetroStars (5:00 p.m. ET)
D.C. United @ CD Chivas USA (ABC Sports, 1:00 p.m. MT)
Los Angeles Galaxy @ Columbus Crew (5:30 p.m. MT)
Colorado Rapids @ Kansas City Wizards (6:00 p.m. MT)
FC Dallas @ Chicago Fire (6:30 p.m. MT)
New England Revolution @ San Jose Earthquakes (8:00 p.m. ET)
10 DAYS REMAIN FOR TRYOUT NOMINATIONS: The Real Salt Lake technical staff is currently accepting nominations from local and regional league presidents for players to participate in Real Salt Lake's invitation-only tryout, to be held on January 22, 2005.
Presidents or leaders of several prominent soccer groups have been asked to submit nominations: Utah Youth Soccer Association, Utah Soccer Association, Liga de Futbol Mexico-Utah, Organizacion Civil Deportivo Utah, Liga Latinoamericana, Utah Blitzz (USL) and Brigham Young University. Players who are not affiliated with one of these organizations may submit nominations directly to Real Salt Lake, but priority for the limited number of tryout spots will go to affiliated players.
Further details for the January 22nd tryout will be announced shortly - but it will consist of 20-30 players and take place in the Salt Lake City area. Should a player perform at a high-caliber level at the tryout, he will earn the opportunity to join Real Salt Lake for the team's preseason training beginning on February 1, 2005.
In order for a player to be nominated, he must have been born no earlier than April 1, 1982. Foreign players must provide proof of Division 1, National Team or U-23 National Team experience. Foreign players should also have permanent residency in the USA, or a valid work visa. Nomination forms can be downloaded currently at www.RealSaltLake.com and will be accepted by mail until 5:00 p.m. MT on December 31, 2004, with invitations to the tryout being extended no later than Friday, January 7, 2005.
Preparations continue for the inaugural season of Real Salt Lake, kicking off in April, 2005. More information on the club can be found on the team's official website at www.RealSaltLake.com or by calling 1-866-9-SOCCER.
Prior to the start of the season, MLS Cup finalists D.C. United and the Kansas City Wizards will participate in the CONCACAF Champions Cup, which crowns the best team in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) since 1962. The two clubs will represent the United States in the competition which will determine the team to represent CONCACAF in the 2005 FIFA Club World Championship to be held in Japan in December 2005 which in turn will crown the world's top club. The CONCACAF Champions Cup quarterfinal series kick off on March 9 with D.C. United hosting Jamaica's Harbour View FC while the Wizards host Deportivo Saprissa of Costa Rica.
Major League Soccer's 12 clubs continue their preparations ahead of the 2005 MLS SuperDraft, which will take place in Baltimore, Maryland on Friday, January 14 in conjunction with the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Convention at the Baltimore Convention Center.