ROADMAP TO THE FIFA WOMEN'S WORLD CUP
FIFA Women's World Rankings
The road to the FIFA Women's World Cup
begins with the each country establishing their women's national teams
("WNT"). The United States Women's National Soccer Team is
selected and operated by the United States Soccer Federation.
Separately there beginning in 2010 there is the FIFA Women's CLUB World
Cup which is for the top club teams in the world, not National Teams.
The path to being selected to the USSF WNT team begins in the early
years. Youth players competing in any of the USSF affiliated
organizations such as USYSA and US Club, amongst others, tryout for
recognition teams such as the Olympic Development Program ("ODP") as
early as age 12 or 13. Once identified in these programs they
compete to move up the ranks in their states region; and eventually the
finest players are selected to represent their age groups national team,
as early as U14. From there various USSF coaches recommend players
for select tryouts. Players are competing for spots on these teams
throughout their youth including high school, college and beyond.
The WNT may consist of players from college, amateur, semi-pro and
professional teams. Professional teams winning their league title
have no consideration in WNT selections. Only players may end up
being selected by the WNT head coach, never a team.
All WNT's play in various international tournaments and games ("friendlies")
against other worldwide WNT's teams in preparation for the only FIFA
Women's World Cup qualifying tournament within their particular region .
For the US WNT this region is CONCACAF, The Confederation of
North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football.
International tournaments include Algarve Cup, Pan American Games, Peace
The CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup is the preeminent competition for
women’s national teams in North American and it crowns the
Confederation’s champion. The USA won the first CONCACAF championship in
1991. The Gold Cup was added in 2000. The competition takes place in
November and includes six national teams. The CONCACAF winner and
runner-up qualify to compete in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The
third-place finisher from the CONCACAF faces the winner of the Asian
Football Confederation in a home-and-away playoff for the final berth to
the FIFA tournament. The championship was instituted to determine the
teams that would qualify for the first FIFA Women's World Cup in 1991.
The host of the FIFA World Cup automatically qualifies for the tournament
regardless of how they finish in any conference play.
The FIFA Women's World Cup is
recognized as the most important International competition in women's
football and is played amongst women's national football teams of the
member states of FIFA, the sport's global governing body. Contested
every four years, the first Women's World Cup tournament, named the
Women's World Championship, was held in 1991, sixty-one years after the
men's first FIFA World Cup tournament in 1930. The current format has
sixteen teams competing every four years for the winner's trophy
The participants qualify through the regional football confederations of
Oceania (OFC), Europe (UEFA), North America, Central America and the
Caribbean (CONCACAF), South America (CONMEBOL), Asia (AFC) and Africa (CAF).
The competition takes place over the course of three weeks. In the group
stage, 16 teams seeded into four groups (A,B,C, and D) compete against
each other in a round-robin tournament. In the knockout phase, the top
two teams from each group advance to the quarterfinals, a
single-elimination tournament in which teams play each other in one-off
matches, with extra time and penalty shootouts used to decide the winner
if necessary. The winner of Group A plays the runner-up of Group B, The
winner of Group B plays the runner-up of Group A, etc. The winners of
the four quarterfinal games move on to the semifinal matches, which
determine the contestants for the championship game. The losing
semifinalists compete to determine third place.
The Algarve Cup is a global
invitational tournament for national teams in women's soccer; whereas
men do not have a similar event given their already demanding event
schedule . The Algrave Cup is held annually in the Algarve region of
Portugal since 1994, it is one of the most prestigious women's football
events, alongside the Women's World Cup and Women's Olympic Football.
Currently, 12 teams are invited, with the top eight competing for the
championship. The teams are divided into three groups of four — A, B and
C. Group C was added in 2002 to provide second-tier teams with
high-level match experience every year. The current holder is the United
The teams first play round-robin within their pool. Then the placement
round proceeds as follows:
11th place: Bottom teams in Group C play one game.
9th place: The Group C runner-up plays one game against the lower-ranked
of the fourth-place teams from Groups A and B.
7th place: The Group C winner plays one game against the higher-ranked
of the fourth-place teams from Groups A and B.
5th place: The third-place teams from Groups A and B play one game.
3rd place: The second-place teams from Groups A and B play one game.
1st place: The first-place teams from Groups A and B play one game.
The Pan American Games are held every four years usually in the
summer; and are particularly well attended by most Latin American
The Olympic Women's Soccer tournament is contested between full
national sides, with no age restrictions. The teams are chosen from the
best of the previous year's World Cup, with one spot reserved for the
host country. The first women's tournament was at the 1996 Atlanta
The Peace Queen Cup was created,
inviting 8 women's national teams from 5 continents. The competition
divides the teams into two groups of four teams each. In the first
stage, within their groups the teams play against each other once, and
the winner of each group qualifies for the final, which is played in one
For an overview of girl's youth to the FIFA
World Cup - Click Here.