The U.S. Soccer Federation recently announced the creation of a new women’s football tournament. Called the “SheBelieves Cup,” it stems from the SheBelieves initiative initiated last May by the Federation in support of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. For those unaware, SheBelieves “is a movement to inspire young girls and encourage them to accomplish all their goals and dreams, athletic or otherwise.”
This tournament hits at the same time as two other invitationals: the Algarve Cup and the Cyprus Cup. It also hits near the end of the remaining Summer Olympic Qualifying tournaments. That’s a lot of women’s football in a condensed timeframe. Exciting, isn’t it?!
Four countries are participating in this Cup, all of which are ranked within the top 5 women’s national teams in the world. We’re talking Germany (2), France (3), England (5), and the U.S. (1). We’re talking the ‘best of the best’. In case you hadn’t guessed, this Cup is being positioned as the new “elite” invitational tournament for women’s football.
Matches will take place March 3-9 in Florida and Tennessee. Below is the anticipated schedule for the games; the winner will be decided based on total points earned. Tickets are on sale now and range from $25 – $165 USD.
March 3: Germany vs France; U.S. vs England
March 6: France vs England; U.S. vs Germany
March 9: Germany vs England; U.S. vs France
ESPN will be airing the U.S. games only. Here’s hoping the media rights to the non-U.S. games are picked up too, if only for selfish reasons. Those are the games I’m most interested in watching. 😉
The Algarve Cup is one of the more prestigious women’s football events outside of the Women’s World Cup and the Summer Olympics. Sponsored by the Portuguese Football Federation (PFF), this annual invitational event has been the battleground for top tier teams over the past 22 years. Ten-time winners, the U.S. is the current Cup holder with France as runner-up and Germany third.
Teams confirmed thus far for the 2016 edition (FIFA ranking) taking place March 2-9: Belgium (28), New Zealand (16), Brazil (7), Canada (11), Iceland (19), Portugal (40), Russia (22), and Denmark (15). New Zealand and Belgium are new participants this year, while Denmark and host country Portugal are participating in their 22nd year.
Four more teams should be added in the next few weeks. There is a possibility the tournament will shrink to an 8-team format this year, due to the timing of the Summer Olympic qualifying tournaments. No schedule has been released yet.
The Cyprus Cup has been around since 2008, and is the product of a partnership between British, Scottish, Finnish, and Dutch football associations. England is the reigning Cup holder, having narrowly beat Canada 1-0 in the final last year.
There were rumours last Fall this year’s event would be cancelled, due to so many past participants busy with other tournaments. Good news emerged on December 23 that the following teams had been invited to participate: Austria (27), Czech Republic (33), Hungary (42), Poland (31), Republic of Ireland (32), South Africa (56), and Wales (36). This is normally a 12-team tournament, like the Algarve Cup, but looks like it may be reduced to 8 teams this year as well.
Below is the tentative schedule:
March 2: 14:30 and 17:30
March 4: 14:30 and 17:30
March 7: 14:30 and 17:30
March 9: Finals