The drawing of teams, schedule of games and provisional rosters have been set for the 2020 Women’s CONCACAF (The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) Olympic qualifiers, providing the path the U.S. team must take to qualify.
The tournament will be played from January 28 to February 3, with eight countries from North America, Central America and the Caribbean, split into two groups and competing for two spots in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. The winners of each group will face the runner-up of the opposing group in the semi-final matchup. The winners from each game will earn a spot in the Olympics.
The U.S. women’s team was placed in group A along with Costa Rica, Panama and Haiti, while group B includes Canada, Mexico, Jamaica and St. Kitts & Nevis. All of the games are set to take place in Houston and Edinburg, Texas. Six other teams have already qualified for the Olympics including, Brazil, New Zealand, Great Britain, Netherlands, Sweden and Japan. Four more teams will also qualify, with two from Africa and two from Asia.
The U.S. women will play Haiti in their first matchup on January 28, Panama in their second matchup on January 31 and Costa Rica in their third game on February 3.
While the U.S. women’s team has been known for the dominance in the World Cup, taking home the championship trophy in 2019, they have also had very strong performances during the Olympics. They have won the CONCACAF qualifying tournament in four consecutive years, 2016, 2012, 2008 and 2004, while also acquiring four total gold medals in 2012, 2008, 2004 and 1996.
They are also looking to become to first country to win the Women’s World Cup and Olympics in back-to-back years, according to ussoccer.com.
The U.S. women’s team has also submitted its 39-player provisional roster. The rosters will be cut down to 20-players for the qualifying tournament on January 21.
Many of the names on the U.S. women’s roster mirror the ones that won the 2019 FIFA Women’s world cup, including Golden Ball and Golden Boot award winner Megan Rapinoe, as well ass Carli Lloyd, Julie Ertz and Ross Lavelle.
While the provisional roster includes many familiar names, it does not include the team’s co-captain Alex Morgan, who is pregnant and expecting a baby in April. Despite being left off the provisional roster, Morgan has said she plans to play in the 2020 Olympics despite having a due date just three months removed from the games’ opening ceremony on July 25.
“After having a healthy baby, I want to get back with the national team and look forward to playing in Tokyo,” Morgan told USA TODAY in November 2019.