Dec. 8, 2003
UC Santa Barbara men's soccer standouts Neil Jones and Tony Lochhead have both been named to New Zealand's Olympic Team for the upcoming OFC qualifying tournament it was announced last week by head coach Ricki Herbert. Jones and Lochhead have both been confirmed on the 20-man roster for qualifying for the upcoming 2004 Olympic games in Athens, Greece.
"I am extremely excited," commented Jones who will be making his second appearance with the under-23 national team, "It is an honor to represent my country. And I am looking forward to opportunity to qualify for the world's biggest sporting event."
Lochhead, who recently earned his first cap playing with the World Cup squad playing in a friendly match against Iran, and Jones will assemble with the team on January 9th in Auckland, New Zealand. The two Gauchos both started for the Olympic squad in its last match on May 21, 2003 against Japan in a friendly at Kobe Wing Stadium.
New Zealand will host Group B of the Oceana Qualifying Tournament, while Australia will host Group A. The winner of each group will go on to face each other in a home and away series to determine the OCF's representative in the 2004 Games.
On his hopes of representing his country in Athens Jones said, "I definitely feel I have a chance. If I play well, score a few goals, and help our country qualify for the Olympics, hopefully it will persuade the coaches to give me a chance at the full team."
For more information on New Zealand's National soccer team visit www.nzsoccer.com.