Concacaf reveals plans to expand women's soccer at national team level

Like it did on the men's side with the creation of the Nations League, Concacaf is introducing two new competitions in a bid to spur regional growth on the women's side.

The W Championship (slated for next summer) and W Gold Cup (to debut in the summer of 2024) will feature qualifying components whose goal will be to provide on-going competition for all national teams so they will be able to operate on a full-time basis.

The W Championship will double as qualifying for the 2023 Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand -- the top two teams in each four-team group will qualify while the two third-place teams will advance to the intercontinental playoffs -- and qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics -- the W Championship winner will qualify along with the winner of a play-in involving the W Championship runner-up and third-place team.

Will this tie the USA down to playing a slew of matches against weak Concacaf competition? Not really. The USA and Canada are qualified for the 2022 W Championship, and the two 2024 Paris Olympic representatives -- the 2022 W Championship winner and Olympic qualifying play-in winner -- will be qualified directly to the 2024 W Gold Cup.

Arranging friendly games with European teams, who form the majority of the world's women's soccer powers, won't be easy, though. The 2023 Women's World Cup qualifying competition will keep most of the teams fully booked for most windows over the next year. The exception: the teams in the three five-team groups will have two bye dates over the five qualifying windows, and no qualifiers are scheduled for February 2022. (U.S. Soccer typically hosts the SheBelieves Cup in February.)

Concacaf women's soccer (2021-24)
*Sept. 13-21, 2021. U.S. home friendlies against Paraguay.
*Oct. 18-26, 2021. U.S. home friendlies against South Korea.
*Nov. 22-30, 2021. FIFA window/Concacaf W Championship qualifiers.
Feb. 14-23, 2022. FIFA window.
*April 4-12, 2022. FIFA window/Concacaf W Championship qualifiers.
June 20-28, 2022, 2022. FIFA window.
June 27-July 31, 2022. Concacaf W Championship window.
*Aug. 29-Sept. 6, 2022. FIFA window.
Oct. 3-11, 2022. FIFA window.
Nov. 7-15, 2022. FIFA window.
Feb. 13-22, 2023. FIFA window.
April 3-11, 2023. FIFA window.
July 10-Aug. 20, 2023. Women's World Cup window.
Sept. 18-26, 2023. FIFA window/Concacaf W Gold Cup qualifiers.
Oct. 23-31, 2023. FIFA window/Concacaf W Gold Cup qualifiers.
Nov. 27-Dec. 5, 2023. FIFA window/Concacaf W Gold Cup qualifiers.
Summer 2024. Concacaf W Gold Cup window.
*Women's World Cup qualifying windows (UEFA).

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