The U.S. women’s national team will play South Africa for the first time on July 9 at Soldier Field in Chicago in the Americans’ penultimate sendoff game before the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The U.S.’ final match before the Olympics will reportedly take place at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., in late July, per the Washington Post’s Steve Goff.
South Africa qualified for the 2016 Olympics, its second straight. Banyana Banyana, as the team is affectionately known, will play in Group E in Rio against Brazil, China and Sweden. South Africa’s only point ever collected in a major international tournament came when it drew 0-0 with Japan in 2012 in an infamous Olympic group game in which then Japan coach Norio Sasaki admitted to intentionally playing for a draw in order to have a more favorable travel schedule in the compact group stage. Japan went on to earn the silver medal, losing to the U.S. in the final.
Nigeria is the only other African team the U.S. has ever played.
“We’re very excited to play a country that we’ve never faced before as well as get a game against another team that will be competing in the Olympics,” U.S. head coach Jill Ellis said. “We are going to really embrace these last two opportunities to play in front of our home fans before we go to Brazil.”
The U.S. women have 11 wins from 11 matches in 2016. They will face New Zealand (Aug. 3), France (Aug. 6) and Colombia (Aug. 9) in Group G play at the Olympics as they search for a fourth consecutive gold medal and fifth triumph in six Olympic Games featuring women’s soccer.
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