This spring, instead of traveling to Portugal for the Algarve Cup (a tournament that the United States has won nine times in the last 13 years), the U.S. women will host a new international competition, one that will showcase four of the world’s best teams.
The SheBelieves Cup will take place March 3-9 in Tampa, Boca Raton, and Nashville.
Team USA (ranked No. 1 in the world) will be joined by Germany (No. 2), France (No. 3), and England (No. 5) in what will be the world’s premier women’s soccer tournament in advance of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“When I took this job,” U.S. coach Jill Ellis said, “one of my main objectives was to play the best teams in the world during our preparation periods, and you can’t ask for better matches. …These are the kinds of games where you get tested all over the field and can really evaluate players and learn a lot about ourselves”
The format: Each team will play the other three, round-robin style. A win is worth three points, a draw one. The team with the most total points is the cup winner.
Tie-breakers. If needed, in this order:
• Overall goal difference
• Tournament goals scored
• Head-to-head results
• World ranking
The schedule. (All times Central):
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
Germany vs. France, 4 p.m.
United States vs. England, 6:30 p.m.
Nissan Stadium, Nashville
United States vs. France, 2 p.m.
Germany vs. England, 4:30 p.m.
FAU Stadium, Boca Raton
France vs. England, 4 p.m.
United States vs. Germany, 6:30 p.m.
TV/online: The March 3 game between the United States and England will be on Fox Sports 1. The other two U.S. games will stream live on ESPN3. There are no plans to broadcast games not involving the Americans.
#SheBelieves: The tournament is an outgrowth of #SheBelieves, a movement conceived by the U.S. players last year “to inspire young girls and encourage them to accomplish all their goals and dreams, athletic or otherwise.” Here’s a letter from the players to fans, describing their vision for the initiative.
Soccer camp: In conjunction with The SheBelieves Cup, there will be a girls’ soccer fantasy camp March 4-7 in Nashville. Participants must have been born in 2001, 2002, or 2003.
It’s expensive — $3,395 per person — but the proceeds support various charitable initiatives of U.S. Soccer, and the camp dues are tax-deductible. Details and registration information are here.