Five Things to Know: 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup

After a nearly two-month break in programming, the U.S. Women’s National Team is back in action in Southern California, preparing to open play at the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup.

As the Americans get ready to take the field, learn more about the region’s new flagship competition for women’s soccer with Five Things to Know about the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup.

NEW YEAR, NEW TOURNAMENT

The first edition of Concacaf’s new flagship competition for women’s soccer, the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup will be played from February 17 – March 10.  The competition kicks off with a Preliminary Round on Feb. 17 at Dignity Health Sports Park Track and Field Stadium to determine the three teams that will join the rest of the field in the Group Stage. The U.S. opens Group A play on Tuesday, February 20 against the winner of the Preliminary Match between Guyana and the Dominican Republic, will face Argentina on Friday, Feb. 23 and then close out the group against Mexico on Feb. 26. All of the USA’s group stage games will be played at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. and will kick off at 10:15 p.m. ET / 7:15 p.m. PT.

The top two finishers from each group will advance to the knockout rounds, along with the two best third-place teams overall. The knockout rounds begin with the Quarterfinal Round, with the pairings to be determined by the group stage standings. The team accumulating the most points overall in group play (with various tie-breakers in place to for teams which accumulate the same amount of points) will face the country that finishes eighth, the second place team will face the seventh place team, and so on, so the #1 seed will face the #8 seed, #2 will play #7, #3 will play #6 and #4 will play #5.

The winners of the single-match elimination games will then advance to the semifinal and final rounds.

TOURNAMENT FIELD

The field for the Concacaf W Gold Cup is comprised of 15 total teams: nine that have already qualified for the Group Stage and the six prelim participants. The USA, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico and Panama directly for the group stage along with CONMEBOL participants Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Paraguay. The Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti and Puerto Rico will participate in the Preliminary Round with the victors advancing to the Group Stage.

Comprised of the top teams from Concacaf along with the four invitees from CONMEBOL, the W Gold Cup features four teams ranked in the Top 25 in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings in the USA (#2), Canada (#10), Brazil (#11) and Colombia (#23).

Seven of the nine teams already in the Group Stage participated in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand – Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama and the USA. Haiti, which faces Puerto Rico in the Preliminary Round on Feb. 17, made – and impressed – in its World Cup debut Down Under this summer.

SIGHTS ON SAN DIEGO

The 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup will be played in four venues across the United States, with matches being played at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif., Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, Shell Energy Stadium in Houston and BMO Stadium in Los Angeles.

Group A, comprised of the USA, Argentina, Mexico and the winner of Guyana-Dominican Republic will be played entirely at Dignity Health Sports Park, while Group B, which features Brazil, Colombia, Panama and the winner of Haiti-Puerto Rico  will play all its group matches at Snapdragon Stadium. Canada, Costa Rica, Paraguay and the winner of El Salvador-Guatemala make up Group C, which will play its group games at Shell Energy Stadium.

The Quarterfinals will be played on March 2 and 3 at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles, home of Angel City FC in the NWSL and LAFC of Major League Soccer while the Semifinals and Final will all be contested in San Diego at Snapdragon Stadium, home of the 2023 NWSL Shield Winners San Diego Wave FC.

The USWNT played its first ever match at Snapdragon Stadium this October, a 3-0 win over fellow W Gold Cup participant Colombia on Oct. 29. The Americans will be looking for a return trip to the venue as they look to win the inaugural Concacaf W Gold Cup. The USWNT has a long history of success in Concacaf competitions, winning 14 of the 15 Concacaf Championship tournaments in which it has participated.

ROSTER SET TO COMPETE FOR REGIONAL CROWN

The roster selected by interim head coach Twila Kilgore builds upon the foundation set last fall, bringing together many newer players eager to prove their talents on the international stage alongside veterans with extensive experience in tournament play. Five of the 23 players on this roster – defender Jenna Nighswonger, midfielders Korbin Albert and Olivia Moultrie and forwards Mia Fishel and Jaedyn Shaw, made their international debuts late in 2023 while, on the other end of the spectrum, eleven players on this roster were on the USA’s roster at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and eight – Abby Dahlkemper, Tierna Davidson, Crystal Dunn, Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, Alyssa Naeher, Becky Sauerbrunn and Emily Sonnett -  were on the roster for the 2019 Women’s World Cup champions.

Seattle Reign FC center back Alana Cook was originally named to the roster but was ruled out due to a minor knee injury suffered during NWSL preseason training and has been replaced by Sauerbrunn.

U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB) – 2024 CONCACAF W GOLD CUP

GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)
DEFENDERS (8): Abby Dahlkemper (San Diego Wave FC), Crystal Dunn (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Tierna Davidson (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Emily Fox (Arsenal FC, ENG), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC), Casey Krueger (Washington Spirit), Jenna Nighswonger (NY/NJ Gotham FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Korbin Albert (Paris Saint-Germain, FRA), Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA), Rose Lavelle (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Olivia Moultrie (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Sonnett (NJ/NY Gotham FC)
FORWARDS (6): Mia Fishel (Chelsea FC, ENG), Midge Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Jaedyn Shaw (San Diego Wave FC), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC)

PREPARATIONS FOR PARIS

The Concacaf W Gold Cup marks the first games of the year for the USWNT and serves as a valuable launching point as the Americans kick off the 2024 Olympic campaign. With less than six months until the Summer Games begin in France, the W Gold Cup closely mirrors the cadence of the Olympics, with a possibility of six games played in a less-than three-week span and two days rest between group stage games. The U.S. qualified for the 2024 Olympics – and this Concacaf W Gold Cup - by winning the Concacaf W Championship in July of 2022. Canada, which finished runner-up to the USA at the 2022 Concacaf W Championship, qualified for the Olympics by defeating Jamaica – the third-place team at the CWC – in the Concacaf Olympic Playoff in September of 2023. Brazil and Colombia punched their tickets to Paris during the summer of 2022, qualifying by finishing first and second, respectively, at the 2022 Copa America Femenina.

Ten players called up for the W Gold Cup were on the USWNT’s roster at the delayed 2021 Tokyo Olympics, where the U.S. captured bronze.