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January 2000, Week 2
|Beer Ads Remain for Iran Game||January 14|
|Americans Seem Like the Visitors||January 14|
|Iran 2, Ecuador 1||January 12|
|Iranians at Home in Southern California||January 12|
|Six Cut From U.S. Soccer Roster||January 11|
|Democracy in Iran Dealt Blow||January 10|
|Mexico 2, Iran 1||January 9|
Beer Ads Remain for Iran Game
The Associated Press|
CHICAGO -While an Iranian group objects to a brewery's sponsorship, beer ads will remain on the field for their nation's exhibition game against the United States on Sunday.
"We have tremendous respect for Muslim tradition, and understand that abstinence is an Islamic tradition," the Chicago-based U.S. Soccer Federation said in a statement Thursday.
"However, because the game is being played in the U.S. ... Budweiser will remain one of several event sponsors."
It was unclear who complained about the Bud ads.
"A U.S-based Muslim group expressed concerns about Budweiser's involvement with the match, so we put out the statement to clarify our relationship with all our sponsors," USSF spokesman Jim Moorhouse said, declining to identify the group.
In addition to Budweiser, the U.S. soccer team is sponsored by Allstate, Chevrolet, Gatorade, Motrin, Nike, Quaker Oats and Texaco.
"The family of U.S. Soccer sponsors is comprised of eight national and multinational corporations who have contributed to the growth of the sport in the United States," the USSF said. "Without this support, the United States would be unable to field competitive national teams."
The game Sunday in Pasadena, Calif., is the first meeting of the U.S. and Iranian teams since Iran's 2-1 upset win in Lyon, France, in the 1998 World Cup.
Americans Seem Like the Visitors
By Ken Peters|
AP Sports Writer
CLAREMONT, Calif. - When the U.S. soccer team plays in the Los Angeles area, players usually hear jeers, not cheers.
For Sunday's exhibition game against Iran at the Rose Bowl, the predominant flag is expected to be green, white and red, not red, white and blue.
"Welcome to Southern California," U.S. coach Bruce Arena said, shaking his head and smiling.
The Americans seem like the visitors when they play Mexico and other Latin teams, although they were cheered during their 1994 World Cup upset of Colombia at the Rose Bowl.
There are as many as 600,000 Iranian-Americans living in and around Los Angeles, and for many of them, Sunday's game will be their first chance to see Iran's national team, which this month is playing its first three games in the United States.
"I have many relatives flying in from San Francisco, Texas, New Mexico, and Washington, D.C.," said Ali Ghalambor, a native of Iran who came to the United States in 1984. "We are very excited about it. I went to games in Iran and have watched the team on TV, but this is my first chance see them in many years."
Ghalambor is taking his 7-year-old son, Moji.
"I'm sure it will be something for him to remember," Ghalambor said.
U.S. midfielder Claudio Reyna said he and his teammates are accustomed to fan opposition.
"I've been around it so many times, so I'm used to it and I think everybody knows it's going to be like that again," Reyna said. "In California, where you have so many ethnic people from different countries, when their national team comes to play, they'll travel for 10 hours for a game because it's their only chance to watch them play."
Goalkeeper Tony Meola, the starter at the 1990 and '94 World Cups, thinks the U.S. team still will have lots of support.
"We've been lucky with our fans the last five or six years, as far as pro-American crowds," he said. "It might be a pro-Iranian crowd. I'm sure any part of the Iranian population here would want to see their national team I'm certain there's a lot of pride in the people that are from Iran and living in America."
A crowd of about 50,000 is expected at the Rose Bowl for a rematch of the 1998 World Cup game, when Iran shocked the United States 2-1 at Lyon, France. The Americans then lost to Yugoslavia and finished last in the 32-nation field.
Not all those cheering for Iran will be doing it in that country's language, and some in the crowd are likely to have the flags of both nations painted on their cheeks.
"A lot of them will be American-born Iranians, like my kids," said Reza Ghalambor. "Most of them don't even speak Farsi."
Whether they're yelling in Farsi or English, Reyna thinks the crowd will be lively.
"It makes a great atmosphere. It's good for us and it makes the game fun on the field when you have fans that are into it," he said. "And they are going to be into it."
Reyna hopes that spirit will rub off on American fans.
"It shows the passion that these fans have in other parts of the world and hopefully it makes people here realize how important soccer is in other countries," he said.
Arena wishes soccer moms and pops would pack their kids into minivans and head to Pasadena.
"California has one of the biggest youth soccer populations in the country and we'd love to have some of their support," he said. "The time has come that our country has to get behind our national team if we're going to be successful. Sunday would be a nice day to get some of those people out."
Iran 2, Ecuador 1
By Ken Peters|
AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES -An hour after the game, there were singing, joyful fans lingering in the Coliseum tunnel outside the Iranian locker room.
For many of the Iranian-Americans, it was perhaps their first time to see the soccer team from their native country.
They also had reason to celebrate Iran's national team beat Ecuador 2-1 Wednesday night before an appreciative crowd, with their supporters constituting some 25,000 of the estimated crowd of 35,000.
Now 1-1 on their U.S. tour, the Iranian players move on to their highly anticipated rematch against the Americans on Sunday at the Rose Bowl.
Iran surprised the United States 2-1 in France in the 1998 World Cup, a forgettable tournament for the Americans.
Cheered by the large, loud contingent of fans at the Coliseum, many wearing green, white and red face paint and waving Iranian flags, Iran took a 1-0 lead in the first half against Ecuador, built a 2-0 lead in the second, and limited Ecuador to a late goal.
Iran began its U.S. tour last weekend in San Jose, Calif., losing its first match 2-1 to Mexico.
Against Ecuador, Iran held on to win after Ecuador's Moises Candelario scored off an indirect kick in the box in the 88th minute.
Ali Daei, who also had Iran's lone goal against Mexico, opened the scoring against Ecuador in the 27th minute. Ali Mosavi extended the lead with his goal in the 68th minute.
After Iran had two apparent goals wiped out by offside calls, Daei knocked in a header.
Mosavi's goal came when, timing his charge to the goal so he was not offside, he got a step on the defense, trapped a long free kick in the box and beat the goalie with a left-footed drive.
Iran's soccer team is the second sports team from that nation to tour the United States since the Iranian hostage crisis that began in 1979, when militants seized the U.S. Embassy and held 52 Americans for 444 days. An Iranian wrestling team visited the United States in 1998.
In the first match of a doubleheader at the Coliseum on Wednesday, Daniel Osorno scored in the 52nd minute as Mexico's Under-23 team tied Guatemala's national team 1-1. Juan Carlos Plata scored for Guatemala in the 16th minute.
Iranians at Home in Southern California
By Tessie Borden|
Associated Press Writer
LOS ANGELES -As the popular singer Siavash took the stage at the foot of the Hollywood Hills, tiny pinpoints illuminated a darkened concert hall crowded with Iranian teen-agers.
They weren't holding up lighters they were cell phones.
Half a world away, dozens of relatives listened to the percussion-heavy Eastern beats of an emerging Iranian music industry. Daring for conservative Iran, the freewheeling sounds tied them to a city they have nicknamed "Tehrangeles."
In the generation since the Iranian revolution overthrew the U.S.-supported Shah, hundreds of thousands of Iranians have settled in Southern California, cobbling together a community as hardworking as it is eclectic. They are flexing newfound power as they make Los Angeles their largest community outside Iran.
That community is in the spotlight as Iran's soccer team visits this week for its first game against a U.S. team on U.S. soil since the 1979 revolution. It plays the U.S. team Sunday at the Rose Bowl.
"They have a word in Persian, 'do-hava'," said Sanam Ansari, president of the Iranian Students Group at the University of California, Los Angeles. "It means 'two-weathered.' You're not completely American and not completely Iranian."
Along Westwood Boulevard and in the San Fernando Valley, signs in Farsi's delicate, cursive script advertise Persian rug merchants, restaurants serving a staple rice-and-meat dish called chello kebab and grocery stores stocking biryani paste, lavash bread and halva, a nougat made with sesame seeds.
In Studio City, the young spend weekend nights dancing to Persian and American pop at Cabaret Tehran. In Irvine, thousands gather to celebrate the Persian new year.
The pull from Iran remains, though. Students here followed last July's clashes in Tehran between student protesters and Islamic hard-liners through e-mail and cell phones.
In Iran, youths get a taste of Los Angeles, Iranian-style, through music, which makes its way from Southern California.
"They love anything that's American," Ansari said.
The community in Southern California numbers as many as 600,000. While the majority are Muslims, Jews and Bahai figure prominently in the community, although their exact numbers are not known.
Soccer, known in Iran and elsewhere as football, brings them together.
The Iranian team, cheered on by thousands, defeated Ecuador, 2-1, late Wednesday at the Coliseum. Tickets for the rematch against the United States are selling briskly.
"When the national team comes from your motherland, it touches you," said Shayan Afshar, who works at the Ketab Bookstore in Westwood. "You may not be able to define it, but it's significant."
Enthusiasm for the game grew out of the teams' 1998 World Cup meeting in France, when players exchanged flowers and jerseys. After the Iranians' 2-1 victory, celebrations in Iran went on for days and signaled political defiance of the Islamic regime as women took off head scarves and mingled with men. Similar boisterous celebrations took place even earlier when Iran unexpectedly qualified for the World Cup.
"Some people called it the Football Revolution," said Nayereh Tohidi, who teaches at California State University-Northridge.
The soccer federation originally planned this week's game on the East Coast to give Iranian players a shorter trip. But the response in Los Angeles was so intense that officials changed their minds. Spokesman Jim Moorhouse said Iranian media have flooded the federation with credential requests.
In politics, too, the community has begun to emerge, fielding its own candidates for public office.
Maziar Mafi is a Democratic candidate for Congress in a district held by powerful Republican Christopher Cox. In state government, Sara Amir is running for a West Los Angeles district of the California Assembly under the Green Party.
Neither candidate is expected to win. But Amir says she has moved Iranians to action here and in her home country.
When she first entered politics two years ago as a Green Party candidate in the lieutenant governor race, she organized voter registration drives, bringing dozens of Iranian-Americans to the polls.
Her campaign speeches, meanwhile, were broadcast to Iran by the BBC and the Voice of America, inspiring activists there, she said.
"I have heard so many comments from people there," Amir said. "They were saying, 'You're giving us hope. We know that you're one of us.' I'm running here and I get all these nice e-mails from Iran."
Six Cut From U.S. Soccer Roster
The Associated Press|
CLAREMONT, Calif-Six players were cut from the U.S. soccer team Wednesday.
The cuts, who include Los Angeles Galaxy goalie Kevin Hartman and midfielder Clint Mathis, Miami Fusion midfielder Henry Gutierrez and Tampa Bay Mutiny midfielder Steve Ralston, come just four days before the U.S. team's exhibition against Iran.
Steve Cherundolo, a midfielder from San Diego who plays for Germany's Hanover 96, and John O'Brien, a midfielder from Playa del Rey, Calif., who plays for Ajax in Holland, were assigned to the under-23 national team, currently training in Chula Vista, Calif. The team faces Armenia after the U.S.-Iran match.
All six players will be considered for other national team matches this year, a U.S. Soccer spokesman said.
Sunday's match is the first between the nations since Iran's 2-1 upset in the 1998 World Cup. It is also the first time they have met on U.S. soil since relations between the countries declined during the 1979-81 hostage crisis.
Democracy in Iran Dealt Blow
The Associated Press|
TEHRAN, Iran -A hard-line council has disqualified at least 69 reformists from legislative polls, newspapers reported today, possibly endangering the president's efforts to bring greater democracy to Iran.
The pro-reform Fath daily said the Guardian Council disqualified the hopefuls mainly for alleged "lack of commitment to Islam and the Islamic establishment" and lack of support for Iran's hard-line supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
With Iranians chafing under the strict Islamic rules imposed by the hard-liners, reformists looked to sweep the Feb. 18 election. But reformists say hard-liners are trying to dash those hopes by fixing the rules in their own favor.
Among those disqualified was Abdollah Nouri, a former interior minister and close ally of President Mohammad Khatami, newspapers quoted the council as saying. In November, a hard-line court sentenced Nouri to five years in jail for charges including religious dissent.
"The council's decision in disqualifying reformist candidates has no legal basis. Its decisions are unconstitutional," journalists Abbas Abdi told Fath.
Newspapers said at least 30 deputies in the present Majlis, or parliament, were also rejected by the council, preventing them from running for another four-year term.
The Majlis is controlled by hard-liners. Without the Majlis on his side, Khatami is powerless to go ahead with plans to grant greater democracy to Iran's 60 million population.
One of the barred hopefuls, Hashem Aqajari, told the Iran newspaper he will file a complaint against the "unjust and arbitrary decision."
But complaints go back before the same council, which is made up of six clerics appointed by Khamenei and six legal experts named by the Majlis.
A record 6,860 hopefuls had registered and the final list of candidates is to be published before Feb. 9.
Mexico 2, Iran 1
The Associated Press|
OAKLAND, Calif. - In Iran's first soccer game in the United States, Mexico beat the Iranians 2-1 in an exhibition game Sunday that drew an enthusiastic crowd of 34,289 to the Oakland Coliseum.
Support for the Iranians was in abundance as thousands of flags were proudly displayed and the crowd kept up a continuous chant. In one section of the Coliseum, there were four rows each of green, white and red colored shirts that formed horizontal bars in the shape of the Iranian flag. One banner hanging from the second deck read "Viva Iran."
Mexican flags were also waved with pride, and those fans had more to cheer about as Mexico scored in the third minute and never trailed.
Luis Hernandez scored the game's first goal on a header from five yards out, set up by Juan Pablo Rodriguez's free kick from just outside the left edge of the penalty area.
Mexico scored again in the 18th minute when Rodriguez took a free kick from just outside the right edge of the penalty area and Cuauhtemoc Blanco connected on a header.
Ali Daei scored for Iran on a 26th-minute penalty kick after Ramon Ramirez tripped Esmaeil Halai in the penalty area.
Iran plays Ecuador at Los Angeles on Wednesday and the United States at the Rose Bowl next Sunday. Relations between the United States and Iran grew strained during the 1979-81 hostage crisis.
The game follows an exchange of wrestling teams in 1998 and highlights what appears to be a partial thaw in relations.
"This is the latest step in the process of the United States and Iran coming back together," said John Marks, president of Washington-based Search for Common Ground, a private group promoting international understanding.
"The two countries are feeling each other out in a slow way. There are substantial differences that won't be settled on the soccer field or the wrestling mat, but these build confidence and make possible other exchanges."
Sunday's game will be the first meeting between the U.S. team and Iran since the 1998 World Cup, when the Iranians won 2-1 at Lyon, France.