A new era for women’s soccer in North America is set to kick off early next Spring. The first-ever CONCACAF W Gold Cup will take place in California and Texas, and the draw will be staged on December 11 to get things rolling.

12 teams to compete in the inaugural CONCACAF W Gold Cup

The draw to determine the groups for the tournament will stream live at 7:00 PM ET on Monday, December 11. Fans can watch the draw on Paramount+ in the United States.

Nine of the twelve competitors have been determined, but three spots are still up for grabs.

Haiti and Puerto Rico, El Salvador and Guatemala, and Guyana and the Dominican Republic will square off in the preliminary round on February 17, 2024. These matches will all be staged at the Dignity Health Sports Park Track and Field Stadium. The winner of each of these three games will advance to the group stage of the tournament proper.

The group stage will then commence from February 20-28. Games will be held at the main Dignity Health Sports Park (home of the LA Galaxy) in Carson, CA, Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, and Shell Energy Stadium in Houston.

The quarterfinals will be played in LA at BMO Stadium, with the semifinals and final in San Diego.

Watch the W Gold Cup draw on Paramount+

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USA, Brazil, and Canada headline entrants

For the draw, the USWNT, Brazil, and Canada have been placed in pot 1. The USA (A1) and Canada (C1) are the top two CONCACAF teams. Brazil (B1) earned their spot as winner of the 2022 Women’s Copa América.

Pot 2 consists of Costa Rica, Mexico, and Panama – the next three best-ranked CONCACAF sides.

Pot 3 is Colombia, Argentina, and Paraguay, who finished second through fourth respectively at last year’s Copa América.

Finally, pot 4 will be made up of the winners of the preliminary round.

Similar to past men’s Gold Cup tournaments, the first women’s edition features invitees from South America. This dovetails nicely with the men’s Copa América which will follow in summer 2024, featuring both CONMEBOL and CONCACAF teams.

Can Brazil or one of the other South American guests steal the show?

Despite a disappointing 2023 World Cup for the USA, they likely remain the favorites to win the Gold Cup. The US has won all but two of the eleven CONCACAF W Championship tournaments held since 1991. One of two tournaments they did not win, 1999, they did not participate in as they were automatically qualified for the 1999 World Cup.

But pedigree and history only go so far, as we saw this past summer in New Zealand and Australia. There is a decent chance that someone other than the Stars & Stripes will lift this new trophy for the first time.

Should a South American side win, it would be the first time a CONMEBOL or CONCACAF team, men’s or women’s, won a major international tournament staged by the other confederation as a guest.

That being said – the USA is still probably a safe bet to add yet another piece of silverware to their collection.

Photos: Imago.