A victory over Jamaica on October 7, 2001, qualified the U.S. men’s team for the 2002 World Cup. What event prevented live television coverage of that pivotal game?
Between 1994 and 2005, soccer had bad luck with U.S. television coverage. The opening ceremonies of the 1994 World Cup were pre-empted by coverage of O.J. Simpson’s slow-speed chase. JFK Jr.’s death in 1999 replaced ABC’s live telecast of the MLS all-star game. In 2004, ABC bumped a Chicago/D.C. game to ESPN to cover Ronald Reagan’s death. Then the passing of Pope John Paul II in 2005 pushed the league’s 10th opening game from ABC to ESPN.
To answer the question about the Jamaica match, the date is very important. On Oct. 7, 2001—not quite a month since the September 11th terrorist attacks—ABC was planning live coverage of the qualifier. The U.S. won the game 2-1, earning a ticket to the finals in Asia. However, the game was shown later on ESPN, because ABC was broadcasting coverage of the U.S. military’s launch of Operation Enduring Freedom, the invasion of Afghanistan.
Excerpt from The First American Soccer Trivia Book by Jamie Clary; Copyright 2007 FreeFalling Graffiti. www.soccerprofessor.com
** The trivia questions come courtesy of Jamie Clary. Mr. Clary is the author of the First American Soccer Trivia Book, available through soccerprofessor.com. He has played, coached, refereed and reported the game. During national team games, he often works with USSF compiling stats and helping media. Goalies, he feels, get too much respect from officials. Mexico and France, respectively, are his most hated teams. He plays and lives in Hendersonville, Tennessee. The excerpts are from The First American Soccer Trivia Book by Jamie Clary; Copyright 2007 FreeFalling Graffiti
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