USA Opens 2021 Shebelieves Cup Presented by Visa With Showdown Against CanadaMATCH PREVIEW
The U.S. Women’s National Team will kick off the 2021 SheBelieves Cup presented by Visa against a very familiar foe, taking on longtime rival Canada on Thursday, Feb. 18 at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida. Coverage of USA-Canada begins at 7 p.m. ET on FS1 and TUDN. South American rivals Brazil and Argentina will meet in the opening match of the tournament earlier that day, with a 4 p.m. ET kickoff (FS1, TUDN app, tudn.tv). For the first time in tournament history, all six matches of the SheBelieves Cup will be carried live in the United States in both English and Spanish. Fans will also be able to follow the action via Twitter (@USWNT), Instagram (@USWNT), Facebook and the official U.S. Soccer App.
Thursday’s game will be the 61st meeting all-time between the USA and Canada, a rivalry that dates back to 1986 and is the most frequently played matchup in USWNT history. The USA is 50-3-7 all-time against Canada and while the Americans have had a long history of success in this series, the 14 meetings since 2011 have featured three ties and four one-goal wins for the USA. The USA is currently ranked #1 in the world while Canada is tied for eighth.
Having qualified for the Tokyo Olympics at the beginning of 2020, the USA enters the SheBelieves Cup on a 34-match unbeaten streak and defeated Colombia 6-0 in its most recent outing on January 22. The USA is currently on a 50-game home unbeaten streak which includes 45 wins and five draws. During this unbeaten streak, the USA has outscored the opposition 179-27, including a margin of 46-1 during its last 11 matches on home soil.
Off to a perfect 13-0-0 start in his tenure as head coach of the USWNT, head coach Vlatko Andonovski has called in 23 players for the sixth annual staging of the SheBelieves Cup and all 23 players will dress for the games.
So far this year, seven players have scored the USA’s 10 goals: Samantha Mewis (3), Megan Rapinoe, Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, Catarina Macario, Kristie Mewis, Margaret Purce and Lynn Williams. Five different players have tallied an assist in 2021: Carli Lloyd (3), Crystal Dunn, Ali Krieger, Samantha Mewis, Megan Rapinoe and Emily Sonnett.
The staging of the camp and the match is being done under the comprehensive U.S. Soccer Return to Play Protocols and Guidelines and in accordance with the Concacaf Return to Play Protocols and capacity for each match will be limited to no more than 4,000 ticketed fans.
On Feb. 1, USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski named the 23 players for the 2021 SheBelieves Cup roster, 15 of whom were on the roster for the 2020 tournament. Andonovski was then forced to make two roster changes since that announcement, replacing defender Alana Cook – due to FIFA Circular 1749, issued on Feb. 5, 2021, Paris Saint-Germain exercised their right to deny the release of Cook due to the mandatory 7-day quarantine that would be required upon her re-entry into France – with Chicago Red Stars defender Casey Krueger.
After camp began, it was determined that Samantha Mewis would stay in England to continue to recover from an ankle injury suffered Jan. 22 vs. Colombia, and she was replaced by Florida State junior Jaelin Howell, who was already in Orlando as a training player. The current U.S. roster for this year’s competition features 16 players currently playing in the National Women’s Soccer League, six currently playing in Europe and one in college. Forwards Alex Morgan and Christen Press, both of whom missed the January training camp as they regained fitness after illness, give the USA a remarkably experienced group of forwards, even if the roster is missing Tobin Heath, who was injured during training with Manchester United in January and will be out likely until the end of April. All 23 players will suit up for all three matches and each team has six substitutes. Just nine players on the roster have experience in the Olympic Games. The tournament mimics the rhythm of group play at the Olympics with two days of rest between the matches.
U.S. Women’s National Team 2021 SheBelieves Cup Roster by Position (Club; Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 4), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 65)
DEFENDERS (8): Abby Dahlkemper (Manchester City, ENG; 63/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 27/1), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 107/24), Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars; 32/0), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit; 133/2), Margaret Purce (Sky Blue FC; 4/1), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 179/0), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 48/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 105/20), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 88/20), Jaelin Howell (Florida State; 1/0), Rose Lavelle (Manchester City, ENG; 48/13), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyonnais, FRA; 2/1), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash; 18/3)
FORWARDS (6): Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 296/123), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 170/107), Christen Press (Manchester United, ENG; 139/58), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign; 170/54), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 1/0), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage; 31/10)
61st MEETING BETWEEN USA AND CANADA KICKS OFF USWNT’S RUN IN THE 2021 SHEBELIEVES CUP:
The U.S. Women’s National Team returned to game action at home for the first time in 313 days when it defeated Colombia on Jan. 18 by a 4-0 score at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida and then took the second match of the two-game set by a 6-0 score on Jan. 22 at the same venue. The matches marked the start of the 37th year of competition for the U.S. Women’s National Team. Now, the USA turns its attention to the 2021 SheBelieves Cup, Presented by Visa, which kicks off on Feb. 18 with the third of five consecutive games for the USA at Exploria Stadium. The opening match will mark the first meeting with Canada since the title game of the 2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship. When the USA and Canada last met -- on Feb. 9, 2020 -- there were just about five and half months until the start of the 2020 Olympics. Now, as the teams meet again, once again there is just more than five months before the 2021 Olympics. The USA will be trying to win the SheBelieves Cup for the fourth time at this sixth annual edition of the tournament which will stage all six matches at Exploria Stadium due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The USA comes into 2021 ranked #1 in the world while Brazil and Canada are tied for 8th and Argentina, which replaced Japan in the tourney due to the current state of the pandemic in Japan, is 31st.
The tournament format for the 2021 SheBelieves Cup will be the same as the first five years. The winner will be determined by total points (three for a win, one for a draw), with the first tiebreaker being overall goal difference, followed by goals scored, then head-to-head result. If teams are still tied, the next tiebreaker will be the Fair Play ranking based on yellow and red cards. Each team is allowed six substitutes per game at the SheBelieves Cup. This will be the second appearance for Brazil at the SheBelieves Cup, after participating in 2019, and the first for Canada and Argentina.
RUN FOR OLYMPIC ROSTER RAMPS BACK UP:
When Vlatko Andonovski was hired as head coach for the USWNT in late October of 2019, he thought he had a short run-up to prepare the team for the 2020 Olympics. When the global pandemic hit and the Olympics were postponed to 2021, his plans were altered to say the least, and without having a game or practice for more than seven months, he and his coaching staff took in NWSL Challenge Cup matches, Fall Series matches and matches from Europe to watch the players. Viewing those games, combined with countless video meetings and review of matches and video clips, helped prepare the coaching staff to resume the difficult job of eventually choosing the 18-player Olympic Team. That process finally got back on-field at the October 2020 training camp in Colorado, then with a game against one of the world’s best teams – the Netherlands -- in late November, and two matches vs. Colombia in January, giving Andonovski and his staff even more valuable information as they ramp the process back up to choose an Olympic roster which will feature just 16 field players and two goalkeepers (plus four alternates). That is a Herculean task for any National Team coach, but even more so with a U.S. player pool featuring enviable depth at almost every position.
SHEBELIEVES CUP ONCE AGAIN HIGHLIGHTS WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT AND ELITE WOMEN’S INTERNATIONAL MATCHES:
The SheBelieves Cup, Presented by Visa, is just one part of U.S. Soccer’s SheBelieves initiative to inspire and empower women and girls to achieve their goals in sport and beyond. The tournament, which will feature many of the world’s best players in the six-game tournament, was first played in 2016. The USA won the inaugural edition, France took top honors in 2017, the USA won again in 2018, England finished first in 2019 and the USA returned to the top of the podium in 2020. As part of U.S. Soccer’s ongoing commitment to the initiative to grow women’s soccer in the United States and across the globe, this year’s SheBelieves Summit, presented by Deloitte, took place virtually on Feb. 11 and 12. With U.S. Soccer and Deloitte’s shared vision of inspiring the next generation, the 2021 SheBelieves Summit provided college students and young professionals the opportunity to gain valuable insights through panels and workshops centered around the SheBelieves core pillars of Confidence, Career, and Community.
The Summit is part of U.S. Soccer’s overall SheBelieves platform, which is focused on providing women and girls the tools to pursue their dreams in sport and beyond. Now in its sixth year, U.S. Soccer has added additional SheBelieves programming, including the SheBelieves Hero, the SheBelieves Internship Program and SheBelieves Online Academy to increase its reach and provide access to more young girls across the country.
Canada Soccer Association
FIFA World Ranking: 8
CONCACAF Ranking: 2
Olympic Appearances: 3 (2008, 2012, 2016)
Best Olympic finish: 3rd in both 2012 and 2016
Record vs. USA: 3-50-7
Head Coach: Bev Priestman
CANADA WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Stephanie Labbé (FC Rosengård, SWE), 12-Rylee Foster (Liverpool FC, ENG), 18-Kailen Sheridan (Sky Blue FC, USA)
DEFENDERS (9): 2-Allysha Chapman (Houston Dash, USA), 3-Jade Rose (UnionvilleMilliken SC), 4-Shelina Zadorsky (Tottenham Hotspur, ENG), 5-Quinn (OL Reign, USA), 14-Gabrielle Carle (Florida State Univ., USA), 20-Jayde Riviere (Univ. of Michigan, USA), 21-Jordyn Listro (Orlando Pride, USA), 22-Lindsay Agnew (NC Courage, USA), 23-Vanessa Gilles (FC Girondins de Bordeaux, FRA)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 7-Julia Grosso (Univ. of Texas, USA), 8-Samantha Chang (Univ. of South Carolina, USA), 10-Sarah Stratigakis (Oakville Blue Devils FC), 11-Desiree Scott (Kansas City NWSL, USA), 13-Sophie Schmidt (Houston Dash, USA), 17-Jessie Fleming (Chelsea, ENG)
FORWARDS (5): 6-Deanne Rose (Univ. of Florida, USA), 9-Evelyne Viens (Paris FC, FRA), 15-Nichelle Prince (Houston Dash, USA), 16-Janine Beckie (Manchester City, ENG), 19-Adriana Leon (West HamUnited, ENG)
The USA and Canada have played each other 60 times previously, making Canada the common opponent in U.S. WNT history. The USA and Canada have been playing since the second year of the U.S. WNT program in 1986 and met in the fifth and sixth matches in U.S. history, which also were the first domestic games for the U.S. Women.
The USA is 50-3-7 all-time against Canada and while the Americans have had a long history of success in this series, the 14 meetings since 2011 have featured three ties and four one-goal wins for the USA. The two most recent meeting between the teams took place during qualifying for the past two world championships. The teams met on Feb. 9, 2020, in Carson, Calif., a 3-0 U.S. victory in the title game of the Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Both countries had already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics heading into the match, which featured goals from Lynn Williams, Lindsey Horan and Megan Rapinoe. During qualifying for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in October of 2018, the USA won 2-0 in Frisco, Texas, on an early goal from Rose Lavelle and a late score from Alex Morgan.
Seven players on the USWNT’s SheBelieves Cup roster have scored against Canada, led by Alex Morgan’s nine goals. Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe have scored three times each.
This is just the second meeting all-time between the USA and Canada in the state of Florida. The only previous game in the Sunshine state came on August 2, 1998. The USA's 4-0 win over the Canadians at the Citrus Bowl was half of a double header with the 1998 MLS All-Star game witnessed by 34,416 fans.
The teams have met three times in world championship competition, the first coming in the third-place match of the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup a 3-1 U.S. victory at StubHub Center in Carson, California. The USA earned a 2-1 overtime win in the quarterfinals of the 2004 Olympics as Natasha Kai scored the game-winner in Shanghai, China, and of course the teams played an epic semifinal in the 2012 Olympics, a match the USA won 4-3 in the last minute of overtime stoppage time on a header from Alex Morgan.
Of the 14 USWNT players who played against the Canada in the 2020 Olympic Qualifying, 13 are on this SBC roster, including all three goal scorers – Lynn Williams, Lindsey Horan and Megan Rapinoe.