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Soccer Vets Face Young Turks Today; Messing to Tend Goal for Olympics


It's the veterans against the neophytes. The old pros against the upstarts. The tried and true against the young and tough.

It's a match between the senior members of the soccer squad against the juniors, freshmen and sophomores today at the Business School field at 5:45 p.m. Outgoing captain Charlie Thomas will lead the veterans against captain Rick Scott's squad in a game that's too close to call.

"The way we see it, it's our last chance to show how the game should be played," said one of the seniors who asked not to be identified.

"We'll clobber 'em," said an equally unidentifiable junior.

Shep Messing, senior goalie, struck a different note. "Basically, it's the last chance a lot of us will have to get together," he said.

For Messing, however, it will certainly not be an end to soccer. He'll be traveling to Munich with the American Olympic team, the first team in many, many years to have a shot at making the soccer finals. The first team in a long time, in fact, to get by the first round. The whole story, Messing added, appears in this week's Sports Illustrated.

By the end of the North America-Carribean Zone playoffs, the field had narrowed to Mexico, Guatamala, Jamaica and the United States. With two games left, against Mexico and Jamaica, the U.S. could do no worse to win one and tie one to avoid elimination.

The Americans managed to hold a heavily favored Mexican team to a 2-2 deadlock, and beat Jamaica in St. Louis, 2-1, thus guaranteeing them one of the two places allotted to their zone.

"We've been playing together for over a year and a half, and we didn't have the wildest hopes of getting this far," Messing said. "We had to play each game 100 per cent, and that's what we'll have to keep doing."

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