5 things you might not know about the Olympic qualifier

Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan, Jan. 23, 2016. (Gregory Bull/AP)

Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan, Jan. 23, 2016. (Gregory Bull/AP)

On Wednesday (Feb. 10), the U.S. women’s team officially begins its march to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

That journey starts in Frisco, Texas.

toyota stadiumToyota Stadium will host the first leg of the Olympic qualifying tournament for teams from the the CONCACAF region, which encompasses North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.

Joining Team USA in the qualifier are Canada, Costa Rica, Guyana, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad & Tobago.

The tournament concludes next week at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.

At stake are two spots in this summer’s Olympic Games.

Here are five oddities, curiosities or (possibly) interesting facts about the qualifying tournament and its participants:

 

1.

Julie Foudy (11) and Lorrie Fair of Team USA in the 2000 Olympic gold medal match against Norway. Norway won 3-2. (Diether Endlicher/AP)

Julie Foudy (11) and Lorrie Fair of Team USA in the 2000 Olympic gold medal match against Norway. Norway won 3-2. (Diether Endlicher/AP)

Team USA has qualified for every Olympic Games since 1996, when women’s soccer became an Olympic sport.

The Americans have brought home the gold medal each time, except in 2000, when they lost to Norway in the championship game and had to settle for silver.

 

2.

The U.S. women have never lost a game in an Olympic qualifying tournament

 

3.

The qualifier for the 2012 London Olympics took place at BC Place in Vancouver — the same stadium where, last July,  the U.S. women won the World Cup.

 

4.

Twelve national teams will compete in Rio. Seven have already qualified: Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and New Zealand..2016-Rio-Olympic-Logo-7

In addition to the two teams that will come from the United States’ region, two will be chosen from Asia.

The 12th and final spot will go the the winner of a March tournament featuring Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

 

5.

The United States is ranked No. 1 in the world. The average of the rankings of the other seven teams in the CONCACAF qualifier is 56th.

 

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