By CAITLIN MURRAY
The stage is now set for CONCACAF qualifying for the 2015 Women’s World Cup — and the U.S. Women’s National Team will have home field advantage.
From Oct. 15-26, Kansas City, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. will serve as host cities for the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, where three teams will qualify for the World Cup. The group stages will be played in the three National Women’s Soccer League cities before moving to Philadelphia for the knockout rounds.
The qualifying tournament had been originally planned to be played in Cancun and Playa del Carmen in Mexico, but U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati told reporters in May the United States would host due to concerns with Mexico’s venues.
“We are honored to serve as the local organizing committee for this tournament as we continue to support and grow women’s soccer in this region on a large scale,” Gulati said Thursday in a statement. “The second season of the National Women’s Soccer League has been exciting to follow, and this tournament provides fans with another opportunity to see some of the best women’s soccer players in the world compete on the international level.”
The group stages for CONCACAF qualifying start with Sporting Park in Kansas City on Oct. 15-16 for the first two matches of Group A and Group B. All eight teams will then move to Chicago where Group A and Group B doubleheader matches are set for Oct. 17-18 in Toyota Park. The first round of play concludes at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. with the Group A and Group B doubleheaders on Oct. 20-21.
Philadelphia’s PPL Park will play host to the final four games with the final four teams. The top two finishers in each group will play in the semifinal matches where the Group A winner will play the Group B runner-up and vice versa.
The eight countries competing are: the U.S., Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala and the four semifinalists in the final round of the CFU Women’s Caribbean Cup, which will take place Aug. 19-26 in Trinidad & Tobago. Canada has already qualified for the World Cup as host country.
The matches will be broadcast by Fox Sports, which takes over broadcast rights for the next several men’s and women’s World Cups starting with Canada 2015. The broadcast schedule is not yet set.
The final tournament schedule and kick-off times will be set at the Final Draw on September 5 in Miami.
What do you think of the host cities? Will you attend? Will playing in these cities be an advantage for the USWNT as they look to qualify for the 2015 World Cup?
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