One of the greatest soccer teams (or football teams, depending on what country you live in) is getting ready for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics with three friendly matches set for June.
The U.S. women’s national team will play two games at Houston’s BBVA Stadium, and then one more matchup at Austin’s Q2 Stadium.
The first two games are on June 10 and June 13, and the team will face Portugal and Jamaica, respectively. The game in Austin, to be played on June 16, is against Nigeria.
This series of games will be the last time head coach Vlatko Andonovski will have an opportunity to evaluate players before naming his 18-player roster.
Unlike the World Cup squad, Andonovski can only take 18 players to the Olympics, while a World Cup team is made up of 23.
Andonovski truly has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to selecting his team for the Olympics. The United States has so many quality players, including veterans such as Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd, who are looking for one last chance at Olympic gold.
There is also a new class of players made up of athletes who are fresh out of college, who want to make their first major tournament roster, like Sophia Smith and Catarina Macario. The team is allowed to bring four alternate players with them to Tokyo, so you can probably expect these newbies to take up those spots.
The team will play two more games in July before heading to Tokyo, and that is when the competition will begin. The soccer tournament starts for the United States on July 21 in Tokyo. The team will play rivals Sweden, followed by New Zealand on July 24 and Australia on July 27. Once the group play wraps up, knockout rounds will begin. Compared to other major tournaments, the U.S. should end up on top in their group.
In the 2016 Olympics, the U.S. was knocked out by Sweden before even making it to the semi-finals. It was their worst performance in Olympic history, so this team has a lot to prove when it makes it to Tokyo.
The Tokyo Olympics officially begin July 23.