First-ever CONCACAF W Gold Cup kicks off next year in US
The first CONCACAF W Gold Cup, a women's edition of the long-running men's tournament, will be played in the United States early next year.
The governing body for soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean announced Wednesday that qualification for teams that have not already earned berths will start in September. The host cities for the event will be announced later.
The W Gold Cup is part of the confederation’s overall strategy to create more opportunities for elite competition among women’s teams in the region.
“While there remains more work to do, I believe we are now truly beginning to see the benefits of that strategy, not least through the performances of the record six CONCACAF teams who have qualified for the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Australia and New Zealand,” confederation President Victor Montagliani said in a statement.
The tournament opens on Feb. 17. After a six-team preliminary round, 12 teams will play in a group stage, including eight teams from CONCACAF and four teams from CONMEBOL, the South American region. The top teams advance to a knockout round ahead of the final on March 10, 2024.
The Gold Cup tournament will be played when the annual SheBelieves Cup is normally held. As a result, U.S. Soccer said it is looking at different dates for the domestic tournament next year.
The United States has already qualified for the tournament after winning the W Championship last summer, which also earned the Americans a spot in the Women's World Cup this summer and next year's Olympic Games.
The winner of the two-legged Olympic play-in between Canada and Jamaica in September will determine another automatic berth.
Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Paraguay also secured spots in the tournament based on the results of the 2022 Women’s Copa America.
The remaining participants among 33 participating nations will be determined via the Road to CONCACAF W Gold Cup qualifying tournament to be played during international competition windows this year. The draw for that tournament will be held in May.
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Anne M. Peterson, The Associated Press