CHICAGO -- U.S. Soccer has announced "Countdown to the Cup," the schedule of matches and venues for the U.S. Women's National Team in 2019 that will lead into next summer's FIFA Women's World Cup. Countdown to the Cup will run from January to May with the USA playing a total of 10 games – two in Europe followed by eight domestic, including a match against England in Nashville on March 2 – before departing for France in pursuit of another World Cup title.
"This schedule checks a lot of important boxes in our preparation for the World Cup," said U.S. WNT head coach Jill Ellis. "We'll get to experience a variety of teams in regard to their strengths and styles of play and almost all of the countries will be in their World Cup preparation as well. We are playing tough games in Europe, which is vitally important, and also get to play quality opponents in front of our home fans at venues all across the USA. It will go fast, but these games will be a major factor in pushing us to be at our peak once we arrive in France next summer."
The USA will hit the ground running to open the schedule, taking on Women's World Cup host France on January 19 at Stade Océane in Le Havre, France, which is one of the nine 2019 Women's World Cup venues. Three days later, the USA will face Spain for the first time in team history. That match will be played at Estadio José Rico Perez in Alicante, located on the east coast about 100 miles south of Valencia, in what will also be the first match for the U.S. Women in Spain.
Next up will be the 2019 SheBelieves Cup, which features the USA, England, Japan and Brazil playing doubleheaders at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa. on Feb. 27, Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. on March 2 and Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on March 5.
The team will regroup in early April for two important matches: against Australia on April 4 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo., and against Belgium on April 7 at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.
In May, the U.S. team will gather for the three matches of the Send-Off Series, Presented by Volpi Foods. The first match will take place on May 12 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. against South Africa, followed by a game on May 16 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo. against a team to be determined. The players will then take their final break before the World Cup and regroup for the last match before departing for France, taking on Mexico on May 26 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.
The schedule currently features seven teams that will participate in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, and Countdown to the Cup will take the WNT to all four continental U.S. time zones, giving fans across the country a chance to cheer the team on to France!
WATCH THE WWC FINAL DRAW ON DEC. 8
The USA will learn its group opponents and schedule for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup on Dec. 8 when the Final Draw is held in Paris. The show starts at 12 p.m. ET on FS2, Telemundo, Universo and the FOX Sports App. FOX Sports will offer extensive draw coverage beginning at 11:30 a.m. ET. Five Things to Know on the Draw.
COUNTDOWN TO THE CUP TICKETS Tickets for all domestic matches will go on sale to the public Thursday, Dec. 13 through ussoccer.com at 10 a.m. local time for that venue. Groups of 20 or more can order directly at ussoccer.com.
For all eight domestic matches, Ultimate Fan Tickets (special VIP packages that include a premium ticket, a custom-made official U.S. National Team jersey with name and number, VIP access to the field before and after the game, and other unique benefits) are also available exclusively through ussoccer.com.
Coaches Circle and Presidents Circle members supporting the U.S. Soccer Development Fund can receive individual customer support and concierge services for their ticketing needs. Contact email@example.com for more information.
U.S. SOCCER MEMBERSHIP (INCLUDES EARLY ACCESS TO TICKETS)
For the opportunity to buy tickets before either the general public or those on U.S. Soccer's social media channels, fans should consider purchasing a U.S. Soccer Membership (only $55 for a one-year term at membership.ussoccer.com). New Members who join by Sunday, Dec. 9, at 11:59 p.m. ET will have the opportunity to buy tickets for the 2019 Countdown to the Cup before those on U.S. Soccer's social media channels, plus receive other benefits, like a Member-exclusive scarf and a ten-percent discount on purchases at store.ussoccer.com.
FANTASY CAMP SET FOR NASHVILLE
U.S. Soccer will offer a Girls' Fantasy Camp around the SheBelieves Cup match in Nashville, running March 1-4, 2019. The camp is a fundraiser to support the U.S. Soccer Development Fund and includes training sessions led by former Women's National Team players, premium match tickets, behind-the-scenes access, accommodations, meals, U.S. Soccer apparel, and more. The camp is open to girls born in 2005, 2006 and 2007. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
2019 U.S. WNT Schedule Facts
- Six of the USA's nine confirmed pre-World Cup opponents for the Countdown to the Cup are in the top 12 of the current FIFA Women's World Rankings.
- The USA also began its 2015 schedule with a road game against France, falling 2-0 in Lorient on artificial turf. It was a result the USA avenged just a month later in the 2015 Algarve Cup in Portugal, defeating France 2-0. Heading into the WNT's 34th year of competition, this will mark the 25th time the U.S. has started the year against a European nation.
- During Countdown to the Cup, the USA is set to play teams from five Confederations: Europe, Asia, South America, Africa and Concacaf.
- Countdown to the Cup will take the USA to four MLS stadiums, three NFL stadiums, and one MLB park when it visits Busch Stadium in St. Louis for the second time.
- The eight domestic venues will take the U.S. team to the home areas of numerous current players
- TV broadcast information for pre-World Cup matches in 2019 will be announced next year.
- The meeting with France will be the 23rd all-time between the teams and first since a 1-1 draw in March during the 2018 SheBelieves Cup. It would be just the fourth meeting between the teams in France.
- The match between and the USA and Spain will mark the 53rd country the USA has played in its history. Spain will also be the 26th country in which the U.S. Women have played a match.
- Spain, ranked 12th in the world, is one of several up-and-coming European nations. Spain earned its World Cup berth by cruising to a first-place finish in UEFA Women's World Cup Qualifying Group 7, going 8-0-0 while out-scoring its opponents 25-2. Austria finished second, followed by Finland, Serbia and Israel.
- With France and Germany staying in Europe to prepare for the World Cup, and with the Tournament of Nations not being held in World Cup or Olympic years, Brazil and Japan will join England in this year's SheBelieves Cup, maintaining the elite level of competition that the tournament has featured in its first three editions. Brazil and Japan participated in both the 2017 and 2018 Tournament of Nations.
- The USA and Japan have played some of the most historic matches in women's soccer history. The countries have met four times since the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Final with the USA going 3-0-1 in the games. The most recent meeting was a 4-2 victory last summer at the 2018 Tournament of Nations.
- Japan qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup by defeating China PR, 3-1, in the semifinal of the 2018 AFC Women's Asian Cup and then downed Australia, 1-0, in the championship game.
- The rapid development of women's soccer in England has ramped up this rivalry quite a bit. Since 2015, the USA and England have played four consecutive one-goal games with the USA winning three of them 1-0 and losing the other 1-0. The most recent was the USA's 1-0 win at the 2018 SheBelieves Cup.
- England qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup by winning UEFA Group 1, going unbeaten in its eight games (7-0-1) and outscoring its opponents 29-1.
- The USA vs. Brazil rivalry is an epic one, and the most recent meetings have produced wildly entertaining games. At the 2017 Tournament of Nations, the USA came back from a 3-1 deficit to score three times in the final 12 minutes and won 4-3. At the 2018 Tournament of Nations, the USA needed a two-goal win to take the title, fell behind 1-0 on an own goal, and then scored four unanswered to win the tourney.
- Brazil qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup by winning the final stage group at the 2018 Copa America Femenina. Brazil went 7-0-0 in the tournament, outscoring its opponents 29-2.
- The USA-Australia match will be another world class game. After the USA went unbeaten in the first 26 matches between the teams, the last three games have produced a 3-1 win for the USA in the opening game of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, a 1-0 loss at the 2017 Tournament of Nations and a 1-1 draw on a late goal by Lindsey Horan at the 2018 Tournament of Nations.
- Australia qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup by defeating Thailand in penalty kicks in the semifinal of the AFC Women's Asian Cup, before falling to Japan, 1-0, in the championship game.
- The meeting with Belgium, another fast-improving European nation, will be the first between the teams and mark the 54th opponent for the USA in its history. Belgium finished second in UEFA Women's World Cup Qualifying Group 6, two points behind Italy, and earned a playoff berth, but fell to Switzerland in the two-leg semifinal playoff. The series was tied 3-3 on aggregate, but Switzerland went through on away goals.
- The USA played South Africa prior to the 2016 Olympics, winning 1-0 on a goal from Crystal Dunn in the only meeting between these countries thus far.
- South Africa recently qualified for the 2019 Women's World Cup by defeating Mali, 2-0, in the semifinal of the 2018 African Women's Cup of Nations before falling to Nigeria in penalty kicks in the championship game after tying 0-0 through regulation and overtime.
- The USA will finish the schedule with the most familiar of opponents, taking on Mexico, a team the USA defeated 6-0 to open its 2018 Concacaf Women's Championship run. Mexico failed to qualify for the World Cup as it did not advance out of first-round group after also falling to Panama.
- To open the SheBelieves Cup, the USA will visit Talen Energy Stadium for the seventh time. The USA is 5-0-1 all-time at the home of Major League Soccer's Philadelphia Union.
- The USA's SheBelieves Cup visit to Nissan Stadium will be the fourth match for the U.S. Women at the venue. The USA beat Canada there in 2004 and France in 2016 (on a late goal from Alex Morgan), both by 1-0 scores. The USA also beat Scotland there 3-1 in 2013.
- The USA will make its sixth trip to Dick's Sporting Goods Park, home of Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids. The USA is 4-0-1 at the venue.
- The USA will play its first game at the newest sports venue in Los Angeles when it visits Banc of California Stadium, home to Los Angeles Football Club of MLS.
- For the match at Levi's Stadium, the USA will play at its fifth different venue in Northern California. The U.S. Women played one game at Candlestick Park, the former home of the San Francisco 49ers, and will now play its first at the NFL team's current home.
- The USA has played at a few baseball stadiums in its history, but the match at Busch Stadium in 2015 in the lead up to the Women's World Cup was a rousing success with the USA defeating New Zealand, 4-0, in front of 35,817 fans. St. Louis native Lori Chalupny scored in that match.
- The USA also played its final send-off match before the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup at Red Bull Arena, drawing with 0-0 with the Korea Republic. This will be the sixth match for the U.S. Women at the home of the New York Red Bulls.