There had been rumblings of a summer tournament for the United States Women's National Team for a few weeks but yesterday, Women Soccer Weekly reported that the tournament was a done deal, according to Globo Esporte in Brazil.
With other major tournaments due to be involved in the 2017 UEFA Women's European Championships at the same time, this particular FIFA window needed to be filled and US Soccer has reportedly decided to fill that window with a mini-tournament involving some of the best nations around.
Set your calendars for July to August
According to the Brazilian media outlet, the tournament will be set to happen from July 22nd, 2017 to August 3rd, 2017. No details have emerged from US Soccer as of yet so the tournament format is still largely unknown. What is known, however, is that Australia, Japan, and Brazil will be the three other teams set to play the USWNT during this tournament as the team prepares for the next World Cup by playing some of the more higher ranked teams that are not involved in Euro 2017 this year.
The move is also seen as something all teams can manage financially as many of their top players will be in season with their National Women's Soccer League teams and thus, will likely not have to travel too far to make it to the United States for this tournament. As of right now, no venues have been selected but since this will be in the summer, the federation has a bevy of choices due to the likely warm weather in the country at that time.
The NWSL could be impacted in a few ways
As previously noted, many of the above countries have players in the NWSL and although this tournament is set to be held during a FIFA window, players would have to leave their clubs early to report for training camp and probably only return after August 3rd. That is usually the business end of the season for the NWSL as teams begin to push for the playoffs, and thus, may not please many of the fans who were looking forward to having an uninterrupted season (due to international duty) for the first time since 2014. The team most affected by this tournament will likely be the Orlando Pride as they have a large number of players currently on their roster that will be involved for the USWNT, Brazil, and Australia. Other teams will be set to lose at most five players on their roster, depending on who is selected for this tournament, and will likely miss out on at least two weeks' worth of matchdays.
On the more positive side, the tournament will spark even more interest in women's soccer due to the high ranking of the teams involved. All the teams are in the top ten of the world with Australia at 6, Japan at 7 and Brazil at 8. With the players at the disposal of these teams, most of whom are well-known in the women's game, there's a likely guarantee that all of the games will be those of high quality for any fan who manages to go out and see them.