USWNT Kickstarts 2021 with SheBelieves Cup
Since 2015, the United States Women’s Soccer Team has hosted the SheBelieves Cup every year, playing three of the world’s top international teams. At this year’s tournament, Canada, Brazil and Argentina have joined the U.S. team in Orlando for a week of matches. As the number one ranked team in the world, the U.S. is heading into this year’s tournament as the clear favorite, seeking to dial up their intensity with the Olympics and World Cup Qualifying scheduled for later this year.
Brazil and Canada are also well established on the international level. They are both ranked in the top ten of FIFA’s current rankings. Meanwhile, Argentina is searching for an upset win to fuel their climb from their current ranking of thirty-first in the world.
While the play on the field will be exciting, the value of the SheBelieves Cup lies in the movement it promotes. SheBelieves is a campaign led by U.S. Soccer with the aim of empowering young women to reach their goals. To go along with the soccer tournament, the SheBelieves campaign also provides young women with internships, professional development training and mentorship programs. More, there is an annual SheBelieves summit where young women attend panels and workshops led by women currently leading in their fields. SheBelieves also runs an ambassador program to connect like-minded organizations and create a larger support network to empower young women as they take on challenges in their communities, as well as in their personal lives. In organizing and playing in the SheBelieves Cup, the USWNT is taking this leadership role head on.
As of Sunday night, Feb. 21, the U.S. team has won each of its first two matches. Substitute Rose Lavelle came on in the second half to score the United States’ only goal in their 1-0 victory over Canada. The 79th minute tally came from a rebound goal off a set piece, and Lavelle calmly slotted her 14th career international goal in the bottom corner for the game-winner. The U.S. then defeated Brazil by a score of two goals to nil with tallies from Christen Press and Megan Rapinoe. Press opened the scoring in the 11th minute on a brilliant counter-attacking move coming from the left wing, curling the ball into the far corner. After several chances for both sides, Rapinoe sealed the game with a rebound goal in the 88th minute. The U.S. team will take on Argentina on Wednesday night, only needing a tie to claim the SheBelieves Cup title.