CHICAGO (Nov. 23, 2015) – The schedule for the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship has been set after the Final Draw held in Miami today and the U.S. Women’s National Team will open its Group A play against Costa Rica on Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m. CT.
The two venues for the competition are BBVA Compass Stadium, home to the Houston Dash of the NWSL and the Houston Dynamo of MLS, and Toyota Stadium, located in the Dallas suburb of Frisco and home to FC Dallas of MLS.
The round-robin stage of the tournament will be conducted with three doubleheaders in each group. Group A will play doubleheaders at Toyota Stadium on Feb. 10, 13 and 15 and Group B – which features Canada, Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana – will play doubleheaders at BBVA Compass Stadium on Feb. 11, 14 and 16. The all-important semifinal matches will be on Feb. 19 in Houston, with the winners qualifying for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. The championship game on Feb. 21 will also be in Houston.
After opening against Costa Rica, the USA will then face Mexico on Saturday, Feb. 13 (3 p.m. CT) and finish group play against Puerto Rico on Monday, Feb. 15 (7:30 p.m. CT).
“It’s great for CONCACAF that we’ve got new participants in the qualifying and it bodes well for our region that other countries are developing the women’s game,” said U.S. head coach Jill Ellis. “In our group, we’ve got two very familiar opponents in Costa Rica and Mexico and we’ll have to be well-prepared as they are both coming off World Cup runs and have experienced teams.”
Ticket and TV information will be released at a later date.
The U.S. will attempt to qualify for a sixth consecutive Olympic Games and win the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying event for the fourth consecutive time. In 2012, the USA won the Olympic Qualifying tournament in Vancouver, B.C. (on the same field where it would win the Women’s World Cup three years later) and then went on to win the gold medal in London.
In 2008, the USA won the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Mexico and went on to win gold in Beijing. In 2004, the U.S. won the tournament in Costa Rica and went on to win gold in Athens, Greece. The U.S. qualified for the 1996 Atlanta Games as host and for the 2000 Sydney Games as a top-seven finisher at the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Four teams have already qualified for the 12-team Olympic Football Tournament: Brazil and Colombia from South America, and France and Germany from Europe by virtue of their finish at the 2015 Women’s World Cup. Two teams will qualify from CONCACAF, Africa and Asia and one more will qualify from Europe after a mini-tournament in March featuring Sweden, Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland. New Zealand is the likely qualifier from Oceania.
The USA has played Costa Rica 10 times in its history, seven of those meetings coming in CONCACAF Qualifying competitions and three in Olympic qualifiers. The most recent meeting in Olympic qualifying came in January of 2012 as the USA defeated Costa Rica, 3-0, in the semifinal of the tournament to qualify for the London Olympics. The USA has never lost to Costa Rica.
The USA and Mexico have met 33 times, four of those coming in Olympic qualifying tournaments. At 2012 Olympic qualifying the USA prevailed 4-0 during group play as Carli Lloyd scored her first career hat trick. The USA is 31-1-1 all-time against Mexico. The U.S. Women have never before faced Puerto Rico, which will be participating in its first women’s CONCACAF qualifying tournament at the senior level.
U.S. head coach Jill Ellis will hold a training camp in January at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Carson, Calif., from which she will pick her 20-player Olympic qualifying roster.
2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying
Frisco, Texas – Toyota Stadium
Houston, Texas – BBVA Compass Stadium
Times U.S. Central (U.S. Eastern in parentheses)
Group A: USA, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Costa Rica
Group B: Canada, Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana
Wednesday, Feb. 10 (Frisco)
Puerto Rico vs. Mexico 5 p.m. (6 p.m.)
USA vs. Costa Rica 7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.)
Thursday, Feb. 11 (Houston)
Guatemala vs. Trinidad & Tobago 5 p.m. (6 p.m.)
Canada vs. Guyana 7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.)
Saturday, Feb. 13 (Frisco)
Costa Rica vs. Puerto Rico 12:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m.)
USA vs. Mexico 3 p.m. (4 p.m.)
Sunday, Feb. 14 (Houston)
Guyana vs. Guatemala 12:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m.)
Trinidad vs. Canada 3 p.m. (4 p.m.)
Monday, Feb. 15 (Frisco)
Mexico vs. Costa Rica 5 p.m. (6 p.m.)
USA vs. Puerto Rico 7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.)
Tuesday, Feb. 16 (Houston)
Trinidad & Tobago vs. Guyana 5 p.m. (6 p.m.)
Canada vs. Guatemala 7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.)
Friday, Feb. 19 (Houston)
Group B winner vs. Group A runner-up 4:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m.)
Group A winner vs. Group B runner-up 7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.)
Sunday, Feb. 21 (Houston)
Semifinal winners 4 p.m. (5 p.m.)