March 5, 2009
By: Britney Wright, FSU Sports Information
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The U.S. Women's National Team invited Florida State Soccer assistant coach Paul Rogers to assist its goalkeepers at the 2009 Algarve Cup. Rogers will join the two-time defending Algarve Cup champions, as they travel to southern Portugal from March 4-11 to compete.
The Algarve Cup invitation comes on the heels of yet another successful year for Rogers and the Seminoles. In just his second season at Florida State, Rogers' goalkeepers, led by junior Kate Milstead, set the school record for lowest goals against average in a single season (0.63). In 2007, Rogers guided Erin McNulty in breaking three freshmen goalkeeping records for most wins (18), shutouts (8) and lowest goals against average (0.94). McNulty's stellar freshman campaign earned her a spot on the Canadian U-20 National Team and earned Rogers the opportunity to coach the goalkeepers for the Canadian Women's National Team during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
"This will be a great opportunity to work with the best athletes in the U.S. which are some of the best athletes in the nation," said Rogers. "I'm looking forward to picking up ideas from Pia (Sundhage), Erica (Walsh) and all the other coaches on the National Team. It will be nice to see how others view the game, not only from a coaching aspect, but from the players as well. There will be some great talent out in Portugal, China is out there, Norway, Denmark; there will be some great teams competing out there.
To have this opportunity to compete against these countries and to see these teams play is just exciting. All of this would not have been possible if it weren't for the tremendous support I have received from Mark (Krikorian), Eric (Bell), all the Seminoles and my family."
The Cup consists of 12 national teams competing in three groups of pool play. The U.S. team will play in Group B facing Denmark on March 4, Iceland on March 6 and Norway on March 9. Group A includes Germany, Sweden, China and Finland, while Group C features Portugal, Poland, Wales and Austria.
"I'm really excited for Paul," said Florida State head coach Mark Krikorian. "I was happy to receive the phone call asking if we would let him go, thrilled to give our blessings and looking forward to him gaining this international experience. He will have a very enjoyable time, but it will be a great learning experience for him as well."
"After traveling with Canada to the Olympics in Beijing and having the bug to work international futbol, the chance to go with the U.S. is a great opportunity and one I am looking forward to," added Rogers.
Since the expansion from eight to 12 teams eight years ago, the Algarve Cup format has been as follows: The winners from the Group A and B pool will play in the championship game on Wednesday, March 11. The two second-place finishers in Groups A and B will play for third place while the third-place finishers in those groups will play for fifth. The Group C teams will be competing for a chance to play for spots 7-12 as the winner of Group C will play the best fourth place team from Groups A or B for seventh place. The second place team in Group C will play the worst fourth place team from Groups A or B for ninth place and the third and fourth place finishers in Group C will play each other for 11th place.