CHICAGO – U.S. Soccer will host an elite, four-team international tournament featuring four of the top five ranked women's national teams in the world as England, France and Germany join the USA for the SheBelieves Cup to be held from March 3-9 at three venues in the southeastern United States. The SheBelieves Cup underlines U.S. Soccer's continued commitment to investing in the growth of women's soccer, and will be the globe's premier women's soccer tournament staged in advance of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Conceived and developed by the USWNT players, #SheBelieves is a movement to inspire young girls and encourage them to accomplish all their goals and dreams, athletic or otherwise. The campaign launched in the run-up to the 2015 Women's World Cup and has grown since then as the team and its fans have taken its powerful message into their communities. The SheBelieves Cup is a showcase event for the campaign, which will continue to spread its positive message to young women and girls.
The USA's hosting of the 2016 SheBelieves Cup, which will be the top four-nation women's international tournament in the world this year, means the U.S. Women will not attend the Algarve Cup in Portugal, an annual spring tournament it has attended for the past 18 consecutive years and 20 times overall. Instead, U.S. Soccer will pit four of the world's top-ranked teams in three doubleheaders taking place on March 3 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida (Germany vs. France and USA vs. England), March 6 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee (USA vs. France and Germany vs. England) and March 9 at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Florida (France vs. England and USA vs. Germany). The USA's first match against England will be broadcast on FS1, and its following two games against France and Germany will both be broadcast on ESPN3. None of the non-USA matches are scheduled to be broadcast at this time.
"We are very excited to have the opportunity to host these elite international teams in Nashville," said Megan Barry, Mayor of Nashville, Tenn. "Our city continues to grow and attract big-time events, and this is another opportunity to showcase our city both regionally and internationally. I hope that soccer fans traveling to Nashville will take this opportunity to enjoy all that our city has to offer. I also want to congratulate the Titans organization for finding events beyond football games that bring people here and add to what makes Nashville great."
Said Titans VP of Facilities and Game Day Operations Bob Flynn: "We are thrilled to host one of the dates for this new elite soccer tournament. We have built a great relationship with U.S. Soccer over the years and the sports community responds in numbers every time the national team plays in Nashville. The ability to bring four of the top five women's teams in the world to Nissan Stadium and to the soccer community in this region is very exciting. These are matchups that occur in World Cups and Olympic competitions, so the quality is very high and we are looking forward to a fantastic day of soccer on March 6th."
2016 SheBelieves Cup Schedule
Mar. 3 Germany vs. France / Raymond James Stadium - Tampa, Fla. - 5 p.m. ET
Mar. 3 USA vs. England / Raymond James Stadium - Tampa, Fla. - 7:30 p.m. ET
Mar. 6 USA vs. France / Nissan Stadium - Nashville, Tenn. - 2 p.m. CT
Mar. 6 Germany vs. England / Nissan Stadium - Nashville, Tenn. - 4:30 p.m. CT
Mar. 9 France vs. England / FAU Stadium - Boca Raton, Fla. - 5 p.m. ET
Mar. 9 USA vs. Germany / FAU Stadium - Boca Raton, Fla. - 7:30 p.m. ET
Tickets for all three doubleheaders go on sale to the public Friday, Jan. 15, at 10 a.m. local time through ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000 and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers in the local venue areas. [Note: Tickets are not sold at either Raymond James Stadium or FAU Stadium except on the day of the event.] Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com. 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 available for the Nashville event only, exclusively through ussoccer.com.
U.S. Soccer will also offer a four-day Girls Fantasy Camp around the second set of matches during the tournament. The Camp will be held in Nashville, Tennessee from March 4-7 and is open to girls born in 2001, 2002 and 2003. This exclusive fan-player opportunity includes training sessions with former Women's National Team stars, VIP access to a WNT training session, on-field match tickets, a pre-game stadium tour and field-level access to watch warm-ups, U.S. Soccer training apparel and jersey, accommodations, meals and more. The Camp is a fundraiser to support U.S. Soccer development initiatives and includes a tax-deductible donation. For more information and to register, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The winner of the tournament will be based on total points (three for a win, one for a tie), with the first tie-breaker being overall goal difference, followed by most total tournament goals scored, then head-to-head result and lastly, FIFA Ranking if necessary.
The USA is currently first in the FIFA Women's World Rankings. Germany is ranked second, France is third and England is fifth. The USA, Germany and England all advanced to semifinals of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup with Germany beating France in a quarterfinal penalty kick shootout to earn its spot in the last four.
"When I took this job, 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," said Ellis. "This is another sign of U.S. Soccer's dedication to the women's game to organize a tournament like this, which will bring some of the world's best teams and players to the USA. To get the chance to play these great teams on home soil is a treat for our fans and extremely valuable in the further evolution of our team. 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."
All three matches carry some significant storylines for the USA. The meeting with Germany will be the first since the epic 2015 Women's World Cup semifinal, a 2-0 U.S. victory. The meeting with France will be the first since the 2015 Algarve Cup championship game, a 2-0 U.S. win that reversed a 2-0 loss in the teams' first match of 2015. The meeting with England will be the first since the USA's narrow 1-0 victory in Milton Keynes, England in early February of last year that sparked a 24-game unbeaten streak which included the run to the World Cup title.
In addition, the other matches carry tremendous intrigue with Germany facing France in a rematch of their Women's World Cup quarterfinal, and England taking on Germany, the team it defeated in the third-place match of the Women's World Cup.
• The USA is 19-4-7 all-time against Germany and 2-0-0 against West Germany in matches played in 1988 and 1990. The most recent meeting between the teams came on June 30 in Montreal as the USA defeated Germany 2-0 in the 2015 Women's World Cup semifinal on goals from Carli Lloyd and Kelley O'Hara.
• The USA is 15-1-2 all-time against France, with the lone loss coming on Feb. 8 of last year, a 2-0 setback in Lorient, France that kicked off the 2015 schedule. The USA avenged the loss with a 2-0 victory in the championship game of the 2015 Algarve Cup in Portugal as Julie Johnston and Christen Press scored. The losing team in both those games had a penalty kick saved as Sarah Bouhaddi denied Abby Wambach in Lorient and Hope Solo denied Amandine Henry in Faro.
• The USA is 7-3-1 all-time against England, which includes the most recent match between the teams: a 1-0 victory on Feb. 13, 2015, in Milton Keynes, England with the lone goal coming from an Alex Morgan header.
• The USA has played six times in Tampa, Fla., including two games at Raymond James Stadium. Most recently, the USA defeated France, 1-0, in June of 2014 on a goal from Sydney Leroux.
• The USA has played just five times in the state of Tennessee (three in Chattanooga and two in Nashville at what is currently Nissan Stadium). Most recently, the USA defeated Scotland 3-1 in February of 2013.
• The USA has played five matches in Boca Raton, including two at FAU Stadium, a 4-1 win against China PR in 2012 and a 7-0 victory against Russia in 2014.