April 12 – The International Champions Cup (ICC), the summer pre-season ‘tournament’ from US marketing agency Relevent Sports, is to launch a four-team women’s summer competition including Manchester City, Paris St. Germain, and North Carolina Courage from the National Women’s Soccer League in the US.
To be played in South Flordia in July the teams will play two double headers. Semi-finals will be played July 27, with a final and third place play-off on July 29 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
The fourth team is still to be announced and will likely be a European women’s teams from one of the big clubs. One of Chelsea, Bayern Munich or Barcelona are favourites to complete the line-up.
Charlie Stillitano, executive chairman of Relevant Sports, said that the enthusiasm for the competition from the ICC’s current roster of clubs was so great “we probably could have had 12 of these teams because everyone’s asking us.”
Rather than start big, Relevant say that the tournament has to be built and managed carefully but that expansion to at least eight teams next year and 16 in 2020 was possible.
Unlike the men’s ICC tournament that is played as a series of match-ups with no final but within a loose league league structure where not all the teams play each other, the women’s tournament will have a definitive winner from the final. The full line-up of men’s teams scheduling to play their pre-season in the ICC this summer in the US is expected to be announced next week.
Manchester United, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Borussia Dortmund, Club America, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are already committed to playing.
The Man City and PSG women’s teams will first travel to Portland, Oregon, for a pre-tournament training camp from July 21-26. As part of the camp, girls from the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL), the competitive league for youth female soccer players in the US will train alongside them. On July 25 the three teams will play in a public session in a round robin session of 45-minute matches.
PSG and Man City will then meet up with the North Carolina Courage, last season’s NWSL runners-up, in Miami.
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