International Champions Cup 2018 Adds Women’s Tournament This Summer
The International Champions Cup, the five-year-old soccer showcase that has become the most high-profile summer tournament in the world, is adding something new this year, the first ever women’s competition.
Olympique Lyonnais, Manchester City, Paris Saint Germain, and North Carolina Courage make up the first Women’s I.C.C. field. The tournament will be contested in two doubleheaders in South Florida this summer, with back-to-back semi final matches on Friday 27th July 2018, and then a third-place game and the final on Sunday 29th July at Hard Rock Stadium, the Miami Dolphins’ home stadium, in Miami Gardens.
The small size of the tournament is a concerted effort by Relevent Sports, which owns the I.C.C. to focus on making the first year a success even as it plans to double the teams taking part next year to eight. Many of the clubs that regularly compete in the I.C.C. now have professional women’s teams, and Relevent’s executive chairman, Charlie Stillitano, said they had been agitating for ways to get those squads exposure outside their home markets.
When Relevent told its club partners that the women’s event was finally happening, nearly a dozen teams asked to take part.
“The response we got was extraordinary,” Stillitano said. “Every team was like, ‘Oh, can we send our women this year?’ And we just couldn’t, as an inaugural event, have 16 teams to launch it. This is just something we’re going to have to grow. We’re just trying to grow it properly.”
Stillitano and Relevent’s managing partner, Jon Sheiman, said part of the company’s motivation was to invest some of the profits it had begun to make after years of successful summer tours back into the game, and particularly in the women’s game. But Sheiman also said Relevent took pains not to appear to big-foot the American players, leagues and owners who have exerted considerable effort — and invested considerable sums — in backing professional women’s soccer.
So while they said they could have filled a four-team field with European squads quickly, Sheiman said it would have been “irresponsible” not to have a National Women’s Soccer League team involved.
Before the inaugural weekend tournament in July, the women’s teams from Europe will gather in Portland, Ore., for several days of training. The teams will work out privately but also alongside a small group of elite teenage American prospects. On July 25th, the four teams will take part in a public session with a round robin of 45-minute matches. The next day, the teams will join the Courage in Florida ahead of the I.C.C. doubleheaders.
International Champions Cup 2018 Match Fixtures
|Thursday 26th July 2018|
|18:15 EDT||NC Courage 2 – 1 Paris Saint-Germain
Goals: McDonald 19′, [own goal] 40′, Darian Jenkins 84′
|Follow live match commentary|
|21:00 EDT||Olympique Lyonnais 3 – 0 Manchester City Women
Goals: Eugénie Le Sommer 4′ 13′, Ada Hegerberg 16′
|Watch the live match broadcast|
|Sunday 29th July 2018|
|18:15 EDT||MATCH FOR 3RD PLACE: Paris Saint-Germain 1 – 2 Manchester City Women
Goals: Melike Pekel 1′, Jill Dcott 41′, Mie Leth Jans 45+ 3′
|Watch the live match broadcast|
|21:00 EDT||THE FINAL: NC Courage V Olympique Lyonnais|