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LABOR WOES STRIKE WORLD CUP STARS

Labor strife has followed success for the U.S. women's soccer team.

Angered by stalled contract negotiations with the U.S. Soccer Federation, players on the Women's World Cup champions said Wednesday they will boycott the Australia Cup next month. The USSF responded by saying it will send young players to the four-nation tournament.

"You can imagine the frustration and disappointment we feel as a team," U.S. co-captain Julie Foudy said. "It was important to all of us to meet right after the World Cup to reach a new agreement in order that we could focus exclusively on our Olympic training beginning in January 2000. U.S. Soccer refused to listen and have now asked us to accept their last-minute proposal."

The contract the players signed in 1996 expired six months ago and, according to John B. Langel, a lawyer for the players, the USSF said it will not make a new proposal in the near future.

Instead, the federation proposed the players work under terms of the expired agreement.

"In our efforts to promote women's soccer throughout the country over the past decade, we feel we have behaved professionally and therefore deserve the same respect and communication from U.S. Soccer," co-captain Carla Overbeck said.

"They have essentially ignored our successes over the past three years -- including a World Cup win and Olympic gold medal -- and are now asking us to do the same."

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