XI WoSo Moments of 2016: USWNT hosts inaugural SheBelieves Cup

Allison Lee December 22, 2016 61
The USWNT competed against France in the Nashville leg of the inaugural SheBelieves Cup. (photo by Allison Lee)

The USWNT competed against France in the Nashville leg of the inaugural SheBelieves Cup. (photo by Allison Lee)

In January U.S. Soccer announced that the U.S. women’s national team would be hosting the inaugural SheBelieves Cup, an international tournament named after the #SheBelieves campaign created by members of the 2015 World Cup-winning team.

The round-robin style tournament featured the national teams of the U.S., England, France and Germany, four of the top five teams in the world, and was part of the USWNT’s preparation for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

“When I took this job, one of my main objectives was to play the best teams in the world during our preparation periods and you can’t ask for better matches,” said Jill Ellis, head coach of the USWNT. “This is another sign of U.S. Soccer’s dedication to the women’s game to organize a tournament like this, which will bring some of the world’s best teams and players to the USA. To get the chance to play these great teams on home soil is a treat for our fans and extremely valuable in the further evolution of our team.”

The domestic tournament replaced the Algarve Cup in the USWNT’s schedule, marking the first time since 1997 that the team did not travel to Portugal to compete in the Algarve tournament. The USWNT has won the Algarve Cup ten times, most recently in 2015.

The SheBelieves Cup kicked off in Tampa on March 3 with Germany defeating France, 1-0, after a late goal by Leonie Maier. The USWNT then defeated England, 1-0, thanks to a Crystal Dunn strike in the 72nd minute.

Three days later the tournament resumed in Nashville with the USWNT opening the doubleheader with a match against France. Despite a near own goal by Carli Lloyd early in the first half, the game remained scoreless until second-half stoppage time when Mallory Pugh played Alex Morgan, who just beat a defender to score the game winner from just inside the penalty area. Germany then defeated England 2-1 to close out the night.

On March 9, France and England opened the final round of the tournament in Boca Raton. The two teams battled to a scoreless draw, sealing England’s third-place finish.

The Cup’s final match between Germany and the USWNT ended up serving as the tournament final since its outcome determined whether the U.S. or Germany walked away as champions. The U.S. would finish in first place with a win, while a draw or U.S. loss would see Germany hoist the trophy.

German forward Anja Mittag opened the scoring with a rocket from distance that blew past several U.S. defenders and Hope Solo to put Germany on the board first. However, the USWNT answered just minutes later with two goals scored in six minutes by Alex Morgan and Sam Mewis to lift the U.S. 2-1 over the German side. With no goals scored in the second half, the USWNT took the win and was named the first ever SheBelieves Cup champions.

For her two tournament goals, Alex Morgan was named the tournament MVP and Golden Boot winner, while Hope Solo was the Golden Glove recipient.

Shortly after the tournament’s conclusion, U.S. Soccer announced its commitment to hold the SheBelieves Cup for the next three years.



  • Steglitz49

    Real news from across the Pond. The Dutch FA — the KNVB — has sacked the Netherlands WNT head coach, Arjan van der Laan. The reason given is that they do not have enough confidence in him to lead the WNT in Euro-17.

    • Tom F

      The Dutch have lost 3 of their last 4 friendlies. Some against strong competition like Germany & the US, but loosing the last one against arch rival, Belgium. was the ultimate sin. His style was pretty predictable; fore go the midfield with long balls over the top to his three fast paced forwards. But his rather ordinary back line usually couldn’t handle the gegen press that most foes through at them as they tried looking for the perfect pass up front, and and their goals were given up by the defender mistakes. Mallon Mellis retiring didn’t help either.

      • Steglitz49

        Thank you. I guess they could give Lars Lagerbäck, Tomas Dennebry and Norio Sasaki a call. The coach of Twente would be a decent alternative.

        Holland missed the chance to be in Rio through a defensive blunder. Olivia Schough pounced and the rest is herstory, as they say.

        • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

          Speaking of FC Twente, there are now 8 points behind Ajax with 7 games left in the Eredivisie. They lost yesterday to ADO Den Haag.

          Even though played well enough to win. They got absolutely carved up by Lindsey Keizerweerd (#11) who assisted the last two goals for ADO Den Haag.


          • Steglitz49


          • Tom F

            I agree, I like the #11 as well, but got to say, a lot of 1v1 by the fwds instead of give & go passes. The Dutch league suffers because so many of their top NT’s are play in foreign countries, FC Twente is still waiting for Jill Rood to reach her full potential, but it’s Rubenstyn that has surpassed her to the point of being a near starter for the Dutch NT

          • Steglitz49

            Twente and Den Haag are fighting it out for the second spot on 30 and 29 points, respectively. Thus, this match was a 6-pointer, that went against Twente.

            PSV Eindhoven’s lasses are too far adrift on 21 pts to be in serious contention for the #2 spot.

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            (Shrugs) Netherlands only has one CL spot- so win league or stay home.

          • Steglitz49

            Your point is well taken though I thought that the ladies Champions League was changing yet again and that Holland would get 2 teams. Thanks for keeping em right.

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            Talent diasporas don’t hurt Brazil, Argentina, Netherlands, France, Uruguay, etc. in the men’s game. The women’s team just need to sort out their identity.

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            Here’s my pathetic attempt:

          • Steglitz49

            I tried to reply to your post with the teams but it had been removed. This is what I wanted to communicate:

            Let’s hope that Holland get all the way to the final in 2017. It is more fun that way.

            In the Euro-13 final, Norway became a surrogate for the Swedish fans at the final, where just over 41,000 showed up.

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            That group stage could not turn out any worse for them though. It’s like UEFA is begging England win it 2017.

          • mockmook
          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch


            Here it is again (w/ a slight adjustments) from another site.

          • mockmook

            Very nice

            BTW, no need to put in the HTML code if you are just dropping in a link to an image — the image will show up automatically.

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            Not that any can use it. But Soccerway uses one from OptaSports.
            Here it is:

          • mockmook

            BTW, I like that site — not sure if I had seen it before.

            The only flaw (unless I’m missing it) is you can’t export just the image.

  • Tom F

    here’s the world game of the week featuring Brazil vs Italy in the latter’s championship tournament game. Watch the first 60 minutes, it’s an incredible display of offensive soccer. with 8 goals scored and a lot of close misses. I believe majority of the rest of the world is finally waking up to a more direct style of play as both the new French & German NT coaches have quickend up up their pace as well.

    • mockmook

      If I’m “reading” the tweets correctly, looks like Formiga is retiring.

      Meanwhile, Excelle is reporting Rosana to the Flash as a backup (the Dash get a 2018 pick for the rights).


      Seems Excelle has become the place for timely WoSo news.

      • Steglitz49

        I note that Meg Linehan writes a lot of their pieces. Meg used to be a regular contributor to the EQ 3-4 years ago but it has been a while since I saw anything from her.

        Likewise, we hardly see anything by Harjeet any more. Harjeet covered Euro-13 admirably and regularly wrote for the EQ, quite a lot about Canada. She lives in Vancouver though I don’t know if she is Canadian.

        Also, the EQ has essentially stopped covering Americans in Europe. They even used to cover Japan a bit. Is there a portent here?

        In Sweden a site which had covered WoSo in Sweden and abroad for 17 years folded last year. They stated that they had gotten too old, had found nobody willing to take over and not enough money coming in through adverts and sponsors. I guess the lack of money was the real issue.

        • Som Termanni

          The extent of pro coverage at EQ, the #1 source for women’s professional soccer news, at this point is just Lauletta and Thievam.

          Only two other people have bylines on pro coverage since November:

          – Tim Nash, on the Railhawks (and Nash mostly covers college ball in the Carolinas).
          – Tim Grainey, on the W-League, which must not have worked out because W-League coverage has been completely absent since Week 3 despite Americans and NWSL veterans dominating play.

          (The third exception is the nebulous “Equalizer Staff”, which is usually either whatever Lauletta tweeted about 6 hours prior, or whatever was posted to the OurSports RSS feed a day prior.)

          Nash is more active on Excelle, including the feature story two weeks ago on the odd-couple trip of Ashlyn Harris and Jill Ellis to Liberia: http://www.excellesports.com/news/ashlyn-harris-liberia-soccer/

          Chelsey Bush, who was actively covering club ball at EQ until the NWSL finals and last posted on the USWNT in November, has been carrying Backline Soccer’s pro coverage as a senior correspondent. She followed Dash players in the W-League there, and wrote an opinion piece on Alex Morgan 5 days ago: http://backlinesoccer.com/the-nwsl-doesnt-need-alex-morgan/

          Backline also got an interview with Janine van Wyk within a day of her officially signing with Houston, something EQ only covered as far as copying and pasting bits from the Dash’s press release: http://backlinesoccer.com/janine-van-wyk-interview/

          Ann Odong and The Women’s Game are covering W-League and Australia, and still amusingly link to the EQ as a partner despite EQ not running anything from them in months: http://thewomensgame.com/

          Jeff Kassouf (FourFourTwo) and John D. Halloran (American Soccer Now) have both been absent from EQ bylines since October. Kassouf has been busy with MLS coverage, but also contributed another Morgan oped and a draft preview to FourFourTwo in December. Halloran mostly keeps up with Americans in the W-League on Twitter.

          Despite this being a month full of NWSL draft declarations, EQ hasn’t employed their most active NCAA contributor Jennifer Gordon for pro coverage. Her Twitter stream is full of such news not running on EQ.

          • Steglitz49

            Thanks for the background and details.

            Jeff Kassouff started and ran the EQ. Between 2012 to 2014, it was THE place to get WoSo news. At least as good as and in some ways better than Women Soccer United.

            Jeff ran the EQ on a shoestring in his spare time. He was able to get it joined with its current site (?Soccerly?) and then gradually handed it over to others but the EQ has lost something.

            Is there one site to go to to get that which we used to get at the EQ?

      • Steglitz49

        Rosana in 34, not exactly a spring chicken. The NWSL seems to be in love with Brazilians and some, like Mônica are top drawer.

        The NWSL also acts as a training camp for Australia’s women. Granted, the lesser lights of the NWSL return the favor and go and play down under in the winter break, so it evens out a bit though it seems that the Aussies get more out of the US than vice versa.

        Still the most interesting news is that so far Alex Morgan is the only US player of significance to go and play in Europe, even if it formally only is for the first half. The ONLY one.

        Granted, by the time the transfer window closes in January a few more may have gotten berths but the silence is deafening, not least when PSG has hired Amandine Henry. Maybe a couple of college seniors will cross the Pond as those tend to fly under the radar.

        • mockmook

          There could be a flood of American players going to Europe if there is no CBA (or continuation) by Jan 1st.

          Actually, a new CBA may also clear the way for many players to try Europe for a year — right now, a new CBA’s policy on European play is up in the air.

          • Steglitz49

            Having bombed in Brasilia may be more of a headache than the CBA. Who pays for damaged goods?

            As I read the CBA, a player only needs to play 2 years in a 4 year cycle in the NWSL to be eligible for the USWNT. Seeing that the next 2 years are wash-outs, as long as they play in the NWSL in 2019 the current crop are OK. Not so college seniors, of course.

            Money is in short supply in European WoSo except for teams that belong to the rich men’s clubs. If the hope is to win the Champions League only 6 are in the running. If a lass will settle for the FA women’s Cup, a few more.

          • mockmook

            But, again, we don’t know if the new CBA will modify (or even eliminate) the time on European sojourns.

          • Steglitz49

            I want to hope that should USSF and the PA make it more restrictive, then the peons of the NWSL en masse must take any job abroad even if the pay is just $1 simply to show them.

          • Bill

            Has any other team ever lost? Is Messi damaged goods after the team he was on last lost? Was Marta damaged goods after some forgotten team loss in 2006? 2010?

            Was Pele someone no one watched or wanted after some team loss in 1960?

            Maybe this is not a well founded continuous loop?

          • Steglitz49

            Focus on the facts.

            — This was the worst loss ever of a USWNT in a major intercontinental tournament. Worst. Ever.
            — Sweden faced the US in the QF after Sweden’s worst ever defeat a week earlier, having gone through by the skin of their teeth.
            — Because of their impotence between 1999 and 2015, the USWNT talked up the OG gold as more important than the WC. Now they were dismissed in the QF — and by a nation with the population NJ or MA. A 30:1 ratio. 3.3%.
            — The USWNT has not lost to Germany since 2003. Germany won the Shebang over Sweden, the difference in the final was an own goal.
            — The USWNT were the überfavorites going into the tournament. They stank.

            I don’t follow your points about other players in the years you give but Lyon acquiring Alex Morgan at a by #1Fan alleged salary of 25,000€ per month speaks to your point.

            Several Canadian players played abroad leading up to OG-16, as did players of other nations.

            Thank you for reinforcing my point as regards Amandine Henry. I could not have put it better myself.

            I think we can agree that 2010-15 belonged to the Golden Generation of the Nadeshiko.

          • Bill

            Yes. Lets focus on facts.

            Answer the questions with facts or face the fact that you got called out found wanting for an unfounded unsupportable meme repeated two to three times by you on every thread.

            You can be a great poster who makes outstanding contributions. That is also a fact.

            Please be just that. Thank you.

          • #1Fan

            Amen. I could no longer sort the wheat from the chaff. Blocked

          • Steglitz49

            While you are in the discussion, please feel free to discuss Alex Morgan’s goal against the Teutonic Lasses that MrTemecula reminded us in his post 2 days ago.

            I deal in fact; you seem to prefer opinion.

          • Bill

            Has any other team ever lost?

            Is Messi damaged goods after the team he was on last lost?

            Was Marta damaged goods after some forgotten team loss in 2006? 2010?

            Was Pele someone no one watched or wanted after some team loss in 1960?

            Maybe I missed it…did Henry win a gold or a Cup?

          • Steglitz49

            In 2012 Japan was reigning world champions and reached the OG final. (Some would say that with a competent ref they would have won.)
            in 2000 the US were reigning WC but lost to Norway in the Sydney OG final.
            in 1996, Norway were reigning WC and lost to the US who won gold in Atlanta. Norway got the Bronze.
            In 2004 Germany held the World title but lost in the SF to the US, who won the gold
            in 2008 Germany again held the WC but lost to Brazil in the SF; the US won gold
            — what was your question?

            As far as I know Pelé did not play in the 1960 Olympics. I think a couple of the members of the 1962 and 1970 dream teams played in OG-60.
            — I presume you may be referring to Brazil going home to an early bath in the 1966 WC, which is best remembered for the North-Korean team that the Brits took to heart, the late Eusebio and Geoff Hurts’s hat-trick.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you for your praise. It warmed the cockles of my heart this Boxing Day.

            You questioned my assertion that the Bomb in Brasilia might have lowered the price a USWNT player could command abroad. I countered that Alex’s salary, as stated by #1Fan, spoke to your point that not every player, whose NT bombs, is dragged down into the mire.

            Marta speaks fluent Swedish and seems content to play in her 2nd country. She came to Umeå in Sweden as an 18 year old and got the first 3 of her POTYs playing for them. Sadly, Umeå was relegated this season.

            Hope belongs to the ages. She would do well to sit down with Maria Rydqvist and formulate a comprehensive strategy for taking gender equality forwards. Hope has probaby forgotten any Swedish she learnt playing a season for Göteborg but Maria probably knows enough English.

            Keep up the good work!

          • guest

            “We can agree that 2010-15 belonged to the Golden Generation of the Nadeshiko” No, they were lucky to win in 2011, and were destroyed in 2015. Maybe Quicksilver Generation would be more appropriate.

          • Steglitz49

            The “Golden Generation” is their nickname. WC-11 was the female WC-54.

            It is easy to forget that Japan actually reached the 2015 WC final. They were not sent packing in the QF. They also reached the OG-12 final, again not dismissed in the QF, where with a competent ref they might well have won.

            The US had its “Veterans”. What shall we call this sorry excuse for an NT? The “Impotents”?

      • mockmook

        OK, I see now that Formiga’s NT retirement was known as far back as August (perhaps I forgot it if it was widely reported).

        But, it was here:


    • Rebeccawwatkins

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    • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

      Quick question- how did Bonansea fare in this tournament?


      • Tom F

        not sure if she was much of an factor. Giabadini(spell check) was Italy’s top scorer in this tourney with 4 goals, Mauro got great raves for that first goal vs Brazil. But at least the Italians proved that they do have a good offensive game, albeit by their switch to a more direct style ala US & Australia and of course the Klope gegen press upfront. They really need to work on their defense though, as they had no structured off sides trap even though they back line was playing too high. Their gk, is only the sub on her Bundesliga team which is currently only in 11th place in the standings. Surprised that there’s not a stronger goalkeeper in all of Italy

  • Steglitz49

    Prompted by their signing of Alex Morgan, Lyon had asked two of their former players Coralie Ducher et Delphine Blanc to reminisce on their website about the first Americans that came to play for Lyon back in 2004. They were Danielle Slaton, Laurie Fair, Aly Wagner, Christie Welsh, and Hope Solo …

    The two former defenders said that the arrival of the Americans allowed them to confront their own quality of play at the highest level, on a daily basis. At the time, they were still evolving and growing in a very amateur manner and context.

    A dozen years have passed. Ducher and Blanc were tickled pink that Alex was coming to their old club. The role of the US in world WoSo must not be derided.

  • MrTemecula

    The U.S. women’s team had some great moments at the She Believes Cup.


    I think Morgan will do just fine at Lyon.

    • Steglitz49

      Indeed. Just for that goal alone she is worth her 25,000€ a month.

      A pity they faced Sweden and not Germany in that SF last August.

      • sudeep das

        QF not SF. Season’s greetings to you Steg.

        • Steglitz49

          Indeed. Even worse.
          (It was Canada who reached the SF but Buchanan gave a away a needless penalty and then their ham was cooked.)

          God Jul! (some Swedes would wish you “a good continuation” already on Christmas Day)

          • Tom F

            The US hasn’t lost to Germany since 2003, On the other hand they were having trouble in the Olympics even before they met they’re demise at the feet of those crusty, Pippi Longstalking lovers/ The US got completely by France while winning that game, 1-0. Then tied a Colombian team that they beat 7-0 earlier in a friendly

          • Steglitz49

            The old description from WW2 might be adapted: “Overpaid, oversexed, overthere.”

  • FawcettFan14

    Ahh yes, the good old Shiba Leaves Cup.

    • Steglitz49

      Old as in the first one and not yet 1 year old.

      Are you for or against WoSo?

      • Gonzalo

        I like WoSo. I like Algarve cup. I don’t like SBC

        • Steglitz49

          Agreed. The Algarve Cup is part of WoSo’s soul. Now it has been ripped apart.

          Also, it SBC should mean anything, this time round the Swedes should be in it so the US could take revenge and why not Canada who claimed the Olympic bronze.

          France? It is not the job of the USWNT to train the French WNT.

  • Steglitz49

    From the other side of the Pond. Charlton Athletic’s ladies team will play their FA women’s Cup tie at the main stadium, The Valley. Part of the reason seems to be that FA Cup matches must be played on natural grass. The women also hope for a good crowd. The stadium holds 27,000. Wish them all the best.

  • mockmook
    • Steglitz49

      Might be easier to stick to good old — Lindhal; Sembrant, Fischer, Samuelsson; Dahlkvist, Asllani, Rubensson, Seger; Rolfö, Schelin, Jakobsson

      • mockmook

        Test 2:

        • Steglitz49

          I thought you were going to tell me to take out all but one of the semi-colons because they were superfluous

    • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch


      • mockmook

        Yeah, seems nothing can be done with that site to make the images appear except use some sort of snipping/clipping tool to pick out the image from the screen/page and “manually” add the image to a comment.

    • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch