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Hamm is out Sunday; Is DiCicco about to be shown the door?

(Friday, September 23, 1999) -- Star United States striker Mia Hamm has been scratched from the Americans’ Sunday match against Brazil at Mile High Stadium in Denver.

The 5 p.m. (ET) match will be televised live on ESPN.

Hamm will stay home in North Carolina to rest and rehabilitate, hoping to be ready for the U.S. Open Cup which begins October 3 in Columbus, Ohio. She injured herself in September 24’s 5-0 victory over Ireland at Foxboro Stadium near Boston.

Brazil, along with Finland and South Korea will provide the competition for the Americans in the U.S. Cup.

To replace Hamm, U.S. coach Tony DiCicco called in 17-year-old Aleisha Cramer, who plays for local club Colorado Rush’s under-18s.

Cramer, who helped lead the Rush to the U-17 national championship in July, will play in the preliminary match Sunday which has the Rush playing for the Colorado State Cup championship.

Is DiCicco out?

DiCicco Despite a list of accomplishments that include the 1996 Olympic gold medal, the 1999 Women’s World Cup title and a 99-8-8 (.928) record, U.S. women’s coach Tony DiCicco could be on his way out.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported today that the United States Soccer Federation is seriously considering not rehiring DiCicco when his contract expires and there have been no negotiations toward a renewal. "They have been up front and honest with me," DiCicco told the Union-Tribune, "and very much noncommittal in either direction."

DiCicco said during the World Cup he was considering retirement -- "a 50-50 chance" as he termed it -- to spend more time with his family. But just as was the case with the negotiations leading up to his signing this contract, DiCicco is in the dark about his future with U.S. Soccer with three months to go before his deal expires.

"I'm sorry the process takes so long, but that's the process," U.S. Soccer secretary-general Hank Steinbrecher told the Union Tribune, terming speculation "incredibly premature."

It has been assumed that the ’99 World Cup team would stay intact for the 2000 Summer Olympic next September in Australia. Apparently, not everyone in Soccer House in Chicago thinks that is the best course. Because of the success of the U.S. team from both a competitive and commercial standpoint, U.S. Soccer may not be prepared to pay what it will take to keep the team’s veteran players in the fold.

"There's an element within U.S. Soccer -- not outside -- that would love to see this team and this coaching staff go away," the Times-Union quoted a unnamed source.

DiCicco is scheduled to meet with U.S. Soccer president Bob Contiguglia this weekend.

Under-17s host Paraguay

The U.S. under-17 men will play Paraguay Sunday and Tuesday at their home base in Bradenton, Fla., as part of preparations for the FIFA World Championship November 10-17 in New Zealand.

The U.S. is unbeaten in its last 16 outings and over the past two years has compiled a 23-7-7 record against international competition.

"Paraguay plays a very similar style to Uruguay, our third opponent in group play, and these two matches will give our team the opportunity to experience what they can expect from Uruguay at the world championship," U-17 coach John Ellinger said.

Paraguay finished second at the CONMEBOL (South America) qualifying tournament behind current world title holder Brazil with a 3-0-3 record.

Following the games against Paraguay, the U.S. will depart for Germany October 1-11 to play matches against top German youth club teams. Then comes the USA Tournament in Atlanta October 15-17 against other top U-17 national teams.

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