The U.S. Women’s National Team will return to competitive action for the first time in 261 days when it takes on the Netherlands on Friday, Nov. 27, at Rat Verlegh Stadium in Breda, Netherlands, about 67 miles south of Amsterdam.
The USA will have six training days in the Netherlands before the match, which will kick-off at 12:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. local and will be broadcast on ESPN2 and TUDN.
The USWNT is coming off a successful return to the field in the form of an 11-day training camp at the end of October in Commerce City, Colorado, that marked the first event for the team since the 2020 SheBelieves Cup in March. The match against the Netherlands, which will be played without fans in the stands, will be the first for the USA since March 11, when it defeated Japan 3-1 to win the SheBelieves Cup. The 261 days between games is the longest the team has gone without an international match since the program’s infancy in the early 1990s.
“First, everyone is just really excited to have an international match,” said U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Vlatko Andonovski. “That it’s against the Netherlands makes it even better and more challenging. We had to get back on the field for a real game at some point, so it might as well be against one of the best teams in the world. We have a lot of work to do before the Olympics and facing a really talented Dutch team will give us a good look at where we are at the end of this very unusual year.”
As they did during the training camp in Colorado, the U.S. players and staff will operate inside a highly controlled environment at the team hotel. The staging of the camp and the match will fall under the comprehensive U.S. Soccer Return to Play Protocols and Guidelines and in accordance with the UEFA Return to Play Protocols, with stringent collaboration by The Royal Netherlands Football Association. The U.S. delegation has received an exemption from quarantine provided to professional sports organizations. Everyone entering the environment will be tested for COVID-19 before traveling, upon arrival and every two days thereafter. The USA will not begin full team training until the results of all arrival tests are confirmed.
The USA and Netherlands will be forever linked in women’s soccer history after meeting in the historic 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final in Lyon, France on July 7 of last year. The USA won 2-0 to lift its fourth World Cup trophy on goals from forward Megan Rapinoe, via a penalty kick, and a brilliant solo run and strike from midfielder Rose Lavelle.
The match in Breda will also be the first one abroad for the USA since the 2019 Women’s World Cup Final.
The USA will play nine games in 2020, its fewest in a calendar year since 2009, when the team went 7-0-1.
U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski is 10-0-0 in his first 10 games (two at the end of 2019 and eight so far this year), tying a record for best start for a head coach in USWNT history.
A victory against Netherlands would break the tie with Pia Sundhage for the best start for any head coach in USWNT history. In 2008, Sundhage won her first 10 games as USA head coach before playing Canada to a 1-1 draw in the 2008 Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Tournament Final. The USA claimed the title on penalty kicks, 6-5.
The USA is still ranked No. 1 in the world. The Netherlands is No. 4 following its run to the World Cup Final.
The USA and the Netherlands have met eight times with the USA holding a 7-1-0 record. The teams have played just three times in the past 14 years.
This will be the second time the U.S. Women have played in the Netherlands. The other match took place on April 9, 2013, in The Hague, a 3-1 U.S. victory. Tobin Heath had one goal and Christen Press had two in that match. They were the fifth and sixth international goals for Press, who now has 58.
Netherlands qualified for the next UEFA Women’s Euros by routing Estonia 7-0 at home on Oct. 23. After a 6-0 win over Kosovo on Oct. 27, head coach Sarina Wiegman’s side sits atop their group with a maximum of 27 points from nine matches, earning their spot at the Euros in England, which were originally scheduled to be played in the summer of 2021. Due to COVID and the postponement of the Olympics to 2021, the UEFA Women’s Euros will be played July 6-31, 2022.
Only three of those UEFA qualifiers were played this year, a 1-0 victory over Russia in September in Moscow and the drubbings of Estonia and Kosovo during the most recent FIFA window. The Netherlands will play Kosovo on December 1 to finish the group, but with a nine-point cushion over Russia in Group A, qualification for the Euros is secured.
Wiegman, who played college soccer in the USA at the University of North Carolina, will coach the Orange Lionesses through the Olympics next summer before taking over as the head coach of England.
The defending European champions feature some of the world’s best players in goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal (PSV), who played so well against the USA in the World Cup Final and was named the Best Goalkeeper of the tournament, midfielders Daniëlle van de Donk (Arsenal), Jackie Groenen (Manchester United) and Sherida Spitse (Vålerenga), and forwards Lieke Martens (Barcelona) and Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal).
U.S. Soccer Sporting Director Earnie Stewart, who played 101 times for the U.S. Men’s National Team and in three World Cups (1994, 1998, 2002), spent a large part of his professional career at NAC Breda from 1996-2003, scoring 50 goals in 189 matches.
Tag(s): USL News