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Atlanta close to setting a USWNT attendance record in Saturday's SheBelieves Cup

by Madison Crews

The 2024 SheBelieves Cup, presented by VISA, starts tomorrow as the USWNT will face off against rivals Japan at 12:30 p.m. ET and Canada will face off against Brazil at 3:30 p.m. ET at Mercedes Benz Stadium. 

This is the first match since 2016 that the USWNT will play here in Atlanta. Forward Alex Morgan was asked about that match against the Netherlands at the Georgia Dome on Tuesday, and she said she doesn’t remember much, but that is why the team is so eager to play in Atlanta.   

“We do have some great players who call Atlanta home and who have grown up in Atlanta, so it is great to be back here,” said Morgan during Tuesday’s training session. “We know that the fans are going to show up and be loud which will give us a lot of energy. We see that with Atlanta United every week, and we want to see that on the women’s side as well.” 

Atlanta will also be the new home for US Soccer, which is huge for the federation as well as the city. Many of the players are excited to call Atlanta home while others have already called it home. 

“Will I be old enough to use it?” Midfielder Emily Sonnett joked when asked about her reaction to US Soccer being based in Atlanta. “I think it’s a great market and great weather year round which will be great for training. I think it is great that it’s coming to Atlanta, obviously I’m biased, but those were my first thoughts.”

Facing off against Japan, the #7 ranked team in the world, will not be an easy task. This is a huge opportunity for the USWNT to gear up for the 2024 Olympics in Paris this summer. Brazil, Canada, Japan and the United States have all qualified for the Olympics in women’s soccer. This tournament will potentially showcase what fans can expect to see in the summer. 

“Japan is a very unique team. It is definitely a different challenge for us, and I’m excited about that. I know the group is excited about seeing a different type of team and a different style of play,” forward Sophia Smith said today before training. “They are all very technical. They play together as a team, and they are going to be really hard to break down, but I think we have been practicing and preparing for this challenge. We are ready and excited for it.”

Twila Kilgore, who is the interim head coach for the USWNT, has been leading the team for a few months before Emma Hayes arrives in May. This will be the last tournament for her before she hands the reigns over to Hayes. 

Kilgore talked about the atmosphere of playing in a venue like Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and how the players feed off of the energy the crowd gives them. She also touched on how important this match will be for the future.  

“To be able to play in what will be the future home of US Soccer is really special,” said Kilgore in her press conference today. “This is a community that we want to embrace and be involved in. It’s going to be a joint effort to make this the center of us soccer and we are just really excited about everything to come.” 

This is a monumental moment as the 2024 SheBelieves Cup is close to breaking the record for most tickets sold for a friendly, so let's show the world how rowdy and proud Atlanta is!

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