FC's Five Fast Facts for Friday (12 Selections -- July '05-May '06 -- from FC Portland's Monthly Media Notes Email Campaign)
Jul 15, 2005

[On behalf of FC Portland Academy, a monthly media notes email campaign to local Portland soccer- and sports-specific print, radio and TV journalists]

HOST WITH THE MOST: With over 130 teams from six states participating in last weekend's Portland Cup, held at three Hillsboro locations from July 8-10, host FC Portland Academy took home four of the tournament's 16 total titles.

FC's age-group champions included its boys' U-15, U-19 and girls' U-15 and U-17 squads. Both the boys' U-15 and U-19 teams won three straight after losing their first match by the same score, 4-0. FC's girls' U-15 tied a tournament high with 13 goals in a single game. In total, seven of the club's teams made it to the semifinals or finals.

Starting six years ago with just 20 teams participating, the Portland Cup is now one of the premier youth tournaments in the Pacific Northwest.

BUT HOW FAST CAN TIFF TYPE?: While Tiffeny Milbrett is in Sweden to continue her professional career, her former youth club, FC Portland, is helping its members and local fans alike keep tabs on Tiff by posting a special section on its Web site.

Titled "Seven Sidenotes from Skelleftea," in honor of city in which she now plays, Tiffeny will give monthly insights into her daily routine. Topics -- and notes titles fleshing out her experiences -- will remain the same for every edition. Among them: Feeling Fine (an update on her conditioning and strength program); Say What? (discussing a new Swedish word learned); Net Notes (a replay of recent goals), and; Not Forgetting FC (highlighting one thing she learned at FC Portland that helped her in some way off the field that month).

The first update -- to be found at www.fcportland.org -- will be posted later this summer, when Tiffeny returns to Sweden from playing with the U.S. Womens National Team.

SEMI-SWEET 16: Of the 16 state teams that qualified, FC Portland's U-16 girls were the only Oregon squad to make their age group finals at the U.S. Youth Soccer Far West Regional Championships in Aurora, Col. (June 20-25), losing 2-0 to Cal-South Slammers FC (Newport Beach, Calif.).

FC's girls U-15 and boys U-18 made it to the quarterfinals, and its girls U-14 went all the way to the semifinals -- the latter two losing to the eventual champions in their division by a single goal. No other team from Oregon made it past the quarterfinal round.

In Aurora, FC Portland had seven teams representing the state's best in their age group (U-14, U-15, U-16, U-17 and U-18 girls; U-18 boys).

NEED FOR NETIQUETTE: Before heading back to Sweden, Milbrett will lead FC's second and final Striker Finishing Clinic of the summer on July 31, helping to polish each player's instincts around the goal.

Milbrett, known for her nose for the net, will be joined by two FC staff coaches. Among the skills to be taught: different types of kicks at different spots in front of goal, how to see the field and other players -- and moving into goal-scoring position without the ball.

Underlining the need for quick thinking, Milbrett will re-create for the campers the on-the-run chip shot she produced last weekend against Ukraine, giving her her 100th goal as a member of the Women's National Team. The one-day clinic is still accepting signups, and will be held at the Academy's Liberty High School field.

AND WHILE THEIR CLASSMATES WERE WORKING THE DRIVE-THRU: Last year's girls U-18 state champs -- which saw 17 of its 18 members go on to receive college scholarships -- returned to FC Portland this summer to not only prepare for regionals in the U-19 division, but help pass along their skills to the next generation of players.

Sixteen members of that group, including University of Portland's Natalie Budge, an NCAA Freshman All-American, volunteered as coaching assistants at FC's Senior Academy (U-11 to U-14) summer training.

Sessions continue through July 30 and are held three times a week at Hillsboro High School.

PAY IT, FORWARD: Earlier this month, U.S. womens' team striker Tiffeny Milbrett donated half of her $5,000 game bonus for her 200th international cap to former youth soccer club, FC Portland Academy. Milbrett began playing for FC at age 16.

According to FC executive director Joe Wedding, the donation will be set aside for need-based scholarships, a fund Milbrett once benefited from herself. Currently, FC offers 25 full and 40 partial scholarships to its Academy programs.

The second half of Milbrett's game bonus was presented to the University of Portland and the Clive Charles Foundation. Under the tutelage of the late Charles -- who also founded FC Portland in 1987 -- Milbrett went to two-straight NCAA Womens' soccer Final Fours.

FOOTBALL FLATLINING? NOT AT FC: In early July, the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) released its annual sports participation study, ranking the growth of Americans in team sports.

At No. 1 for the second-straight year: basketball. However, soccer was No. 2 with 20 million athletes -- even though participation dropped nearly 10 percent versus 2004. The SGMA study went on to say that the growth of soccer among younger players has remained unchanged over the last decade.

While the sport is leveling off nationally, FC Portland -- one of Oregon's most honored youth clubs -- continues to grow. In May, the club added three additional teams: boys and girls U-11 and girls U-12. At 17 players per squad, the total of 54 new athletes roughly translates to a 10 percent growth for the Academy.

DOUBLE DUTCH: In conjunction with its ongoing relationship with Eurosport Ring -- an organization that coordinates Nike's Manchester United U.S. Finals -- FC Portland will be sending two coaches to the world-renowned Royal Netherlands Soccer Federation (KNVB) coaching school next month: Popo Rodriguez (U-13 boys) and Glen Whitehead (U-18, U-19 girls).

Both were selected among the nation's top 40 youth coaches to attend KNVB's Advanced Coaches Symposium, to be held in Atlanta this weekend (Aug. 4-7). There, they will be a part of both practice sessions and classroom training, with a focus on advanced-level match analysis, training and training preparation.

Along with getting in-depth instruction on the Dutch offensive style of play, Italian defensive schemes will also be highlighted, the latter of which -- according to Wedding -- meets with enthusiastic approval from Piazza Italia proprietor Gino Schettini, a long-time friend to the Academy.

F-SEEING RED: A recent study by two British anthropologists -- using the Athens Games and the Euro 2004 soccer competition as models -- suggested the superiority of sports teams that wear the color red.

According to the research, in nature the reddest animals tend to be the most aggressive and dominant. Like those creatures, human beings also display visible warning signals, such as when a person gets "red-faced." The connotation is that color could then intimidate opposing athletes on the playing field.

In what Wedding calls a coincidence, the club -- which wears traditional white or navy jerseys in competition -- is considering adding a red kit to the uniform mix next season, the same as Manchester United, a team the Portland club has a partnership with through shared sponsor Nike.

FLEET OF FEET (ESPECIALLY AROUND CONES): Memorial Day weekend saw 32 of the top U-14 teams from around the country participate at Nike's Man U Cup on Nike's main campus. With the tournament's host club previously never having finished higher than 12th, FC Portland's girls came in fifth, with the boys taking eighth place.

As top European and U.S. club scouts looked on, players were also put through agility tests to compare each athlete's on-field skills. FC Portland's boys finished first with the highest combined score.


JOGA BONITA? FC KIDS HAVE A BALL WITH FUTSOL: If you're a fan of soccer, there's no doubt you've seen Nike's Joga Bonita television ads, featuring a young Ronaldinho playing futsol, a Brazilian-inspired indoor version of the beautiful game -- complete with a smaller ball and an emphasis on creative footwork and quick thinking.

But the game isn't just being played in South America these days. This past winter, FC Portland Academy led a seven-team, 80-player futsol league, taking place in rec gyms and churches in the Hillsboro area.

This was the third season FC has used the game to improve its players' skills -- and the first time it generated enough interest to organize a league.

FC Portland president Joe Wedding credits the league with improving the offensive mindset of its teams in this year's OYSA state tournament. To date, the Academy's squads have scored more goals than any other club combined.

UPDATE AT STATE: U17 GIRLS NET 22 GOALS: After two weeks of play at the 2005-06 OYSA State Cup Finals, FC Portland is looking to continue its title as Oregon's top youth club.

The club's two boys teams -- U17 (FC Portland Silver) and U18 (Bronze) -- are undefeated at 4-0. As are the girls' U16 (Royal) and U17 (Maroon) squads, the latter leading the tournament in goals scored with 22 in just two matches.

Those same girls' teams took home their respective age-group (girls U15, U16) state title last year, representing just two of FC's six state champions in 2004-05.

This weekend sees eight Academy teams in play, all with a chance to make the quarterfinal round later this month.

NO 'GROUP OF DEATH,' ONLY 'DEATH BY CHOCOLATE': This summer's World Cup may have its so-called Group of Death, pitting four highly ranked national teams against each other in the tournament's first stage.

But in FC Portland's Ice Cream Cup -- held this past winter, ending in February -- there was only Death by Chocolate, one ice cream flavor choice among the many dessert rewards for all teams participating in the club's annual mixed-age competition.

The Ice Cream Cup involved FC's Senior Academy teams (U11 through U14), with each squad choosing one country to represent. Every four years, those countries selected include many of the 32 involved in the actual World Cup. This year's winner: Mexico.

According to club president Joe Wedding, the three-month tournament not only built camaraderie among different age groups within the organization, it gave players the chance to learn more about the nations they represented: their history, geography, language. Some teams even came up with their own country-specific cheers.

The Cup ended with a potluck featuring foods from said countries; and, of course, an assortment of ice cream, including the aforementioned dark chocolate flavor.

BEFORE I GET TO B.C., GOTTA HELP FC: Prior to leaving the States at the end of April for their Canadian pro team, the Vancouver Whitecaps, Tiffeny Milbrett and Christine Sinclair have been donating their time to Hillsboro-based FC Portland Academy.

Among the former University of Portland players' duties: getting kids ready for FC's May 1 fall formation tryouts.

Milbrett played for FC for two years, and Sinclair helped coach at FC during her playing days at UP.

IT WAS THE SUMMER...THE SUMMER, THE SUMMER OF '89: Bryan Adams once sang wistfully for the summer of '69. FC Portland, now the state's top competitive youth soccer club, still looks back at the summer that was: 1989.

It was two years after Clive Charles had founded FC, and three years before it started fielding youth competitive teams.

The goalkeeper of that team, winning the Western Soccer League MVP while taking FC Portland to the semi-finals: a soon-to-be University of Portland junior by the name of Kasey Keller.

Now considered one of the world's top players in net, Keller will start for the U.S. Mens' National Team at this summer's World Cup in Germany.


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