CHICAGO (AFP) - Reigning Women's World Cup champion United States will host top-10 rivals Australia, Japan and Brazil in a new tournament this year and next, the US Soccer Federation said Wednesday.
The first Tournament of Nations will be staged July 27 to August 3 in Seattle, San Diego and suburban Los Angeles with a second round-robin event involving the same four nations to be staged in 2018.
The announcement comes two months after the US women, who had been atop the Fifa rankings, finished last in the SheBelieves Cup on home soil against top-five foes Germany, England and winner France.
"It's fantastic to play another tournament at home against some of the world's best teams in a year after the world championship cycle," US coach Jill Ellis said.
It comes weeks after US Soccer and the women's national team's players association ratified a collective bargaining agreement through 2021, taking the Americans through their 2019 Women's World Cup title defense in France and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where the four-time champions will try to bounce back from a quarter-final loss in Rio, their worst Games result.
"It shows US Soccer's continuing dedication to growing the women's game," Ellis said. "These are three talented teams that we haven't played in a while so we're looking forward to a summer tournament that will be extremely challenging and valuable for our players and entertaining for the fans."
The Americans now rank second in the world with Japan sixth, Australia eighth and Brazil ninth. Japan opens against Brazil and the Aussies face the Americans on July 27 in Seattle.
Three days later in San Diego the Aussies meet Japan and the US hosts Brazil and the event concludes August 3 with Australia facing Brazil and the Americans hosting Japan at Carson, California, in a rematch of the 2015 Women's World Cup final won 5-2 by the Americans at Vancouver, Canada.