Tim Howard retrieves a corner kick against Jamaica at Sporting Park on Oct. 11, 2013 in Kansas City, Kansas.
As the FIFA World Cup stage gets closer for the U.S. men’s soccer team, the squad’s final dress rehearsal will take place Saturday at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. The U.S. men will face Nigeria in their last game before heading to Brazil. The men’s soccer team won’t be the only athletes donning red, white and blue this weekend as many other athletes will be representing Team USA at other venues across the nation and the world. The FIVB World League schedule has the No. 4-ranked U.S. men taking on No. 2 Russia and the USA Water Polo men’s national team is hosting Serbia. Meanwhile, some of the nation’s top shooting Olympians are in Munich, Germany, for an ISSF World Cup event and the USA Field Hockey women’s national team is chasing after a medal at the Rabobank Hockey World Cup in the Netherlands.
As we ready for the weekend, here’s a look at five events to follow:
The final send-off game for the U.S. Men’s National Team will be Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida.
After that, it’ll be off to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The Americans will be looking for their third straight victory in the send-off tour after defeating Turkey, 2-1, this past Sunday at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, and Azerbaijan, 2-0, at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. On Saturday, Team USA will play Nigeria.
Goalkeeper Tim Howard, a 2000 Olympian, made U.S. history by earning his 54th career international win against Turkey. If he plays against Nigeria, he would become the third goalkeeper in U.S. Men’s National Team history to have 100 international caps.
The squad also features team captain Clint Dempsey, an attacker who scored his 37th career goal in the Turkey game. Three others U.S. Olympians are on the World Cup squad. They are midfielder Michael Bradley, forward Jozy Altidore and goalie Brad Guzan. All three played for Team USA at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Team USA’s World Cup opener will be June 16 against Ghana at Estadio das Dunas in Natal, Brazil.
“It’s important not to overanalyze these (send-off) games,” Bradley told The Washington Post. “I understand everybody wants to because it’s exciting and there’s a World Cup coming up and everybody wants to look at every play and every minute in every game, but it’s important to look at these games in the context of the bigger picture. Our main goal is not Nigeria. It’s not Turkey. It’s Ghana.”
TV: 6 p.m. ET Saturday, ESPN, Univision
2) Field Hockey
The U.S. Women’s National Team, which is off to an impressive start at the 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup, will face Germany Sunday and Russia Tuesday in The Hague, Netherlands. The United States defeated No. 3-ranked England, 2-1, in its opening match and then tied 2010 World Cup champion Argentina, 2-2, Tuesday.
A first- or second-place finish in pool play would put the United States, which is ranked No. 10 in the world, in the semifinals June 12.
Only a called-back goal in the first half kept the Americans from knocking off rival Argentina. Kelsey Kolojejchick tied the score at 2-2 on a goal with nine minutes left.
“From our point of view, there was a good flow to the game,” U.S. coach Craig Parnham said. “Going against the world champions, our forward line managed well.”
Webcast: 8:30 a.m. ET Sunday, ESPN3
Hot off two consecutive wins over Bulgaria in the opening round of the FIVB World League, the U.S. Men’s National Team is in Long Beach, California, this weekend for the first of three consecutive stateside matches.
The United States, ranked No. 4 in the world, will take on No. 2 Russia Friday and Saturday at the Walter Pyramid at California State University Long Beach. Those matches will be followed by meetings with Serbia June 13 and 14 in Chicago and Bulgaria June 20 and 21 in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
The team will be without three-time Olympian Reid Priddy, who injured his knee May 24 in a win over Bulgaria. He will miss the rest of the season because of surgery and is now aiming for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games.
“The goal is still the same, going for gold in Rio,” Priddy said. “I will do everything in my power to recover fully and get back on the court.”
TV: 12 a.m.-1:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.-4 p.m. ET Sunday, NBC Sports Network
Five-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode, four-time Olympian Emil Milev and two-time Olympic gold medalist Vincent Hancock are among 14 Olympians on the 35-member USA Shooting National Team which begins competition in the biggest ISSF World Cup event of the season in Munich, Germany.
Nearly 1,300 shooters from 96 nations are competing in the world cup, which begins Friday and is a bit of a preview for the 2014 ISSF World Championships that will be held in September in Granada, Spain.
Rhode, who is back in competition following the birth of her son, has already won gold and bronze medals in world cups this year. She is a top medal contender in women‘s skeet.
Trap shooters Janessa Beaman, Ashley Carroll, Ryan Hadden, Seth Inman and Jake Wallace begin the competition for the United States in qualifying rounds Friday. The event continues through June 12.
Back home, a record 16 U.S. shooters are competing in a Paralympic world cup at the home of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit in Fort Benning, Georgia. The United States is hosting the IPC World Cup for the first time since 2011.
Nick Beach (R1) and Mike Tagliapietra (P3) each had fourth-place finishes in the opening day of competition Tuesday, and Tammy Delano placed sixth in R2. Jazmin Almlie-Ryan qualified for her first world cup final and placed eighth. The tournament continues through Saturday and is a qualifier for the IPC Shooting World Championships.
5) Water Polo
The USA Men’s Senior National Team will play the final two games of its four-game series against Serbia on Saturday at the University of California’s Spieker Aquatics Complex in Berkeley, and Sunday at Stanford University’s Avery Aquatic Center in Palo Alto. A portion of the ticket proceeds will benefit flood relief efforts in Serbia.
Alex Bowen and Josh Samuels each scored two goals Wednesday in a 13-6 loss to Serbia played in front of a packed stadium at the University of Pacific in Stockton, California.
Webcast: 6 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday, CoachesAid.com