Expansion planned for 2022 and 2023 Editions of the WICC
/PRNewswire/ — Relevent Sports Group (RSG) announced the 2021 schedule for the Women’s International Champions Cup (WICC) presented by Budweiser to be held August 18-21 at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon. Four of the top champions from around the world will participate in the premier women’s international club tournament for the chance to be called the world’s best club team.
The four participants have each qualified for the WICC by winning championships in their 2020 tournaments, competitions, and leagues. The Portland Thorns will host the tournament and have qualified as winners of the 2020 NWSL Fall Series. The remaining three clubs are Olympique Lyonnais, who qualified as winners of the 2020 UEFA Women’s Champions League and 2020 D1 Féminine, the Houston Dash, who qualified as winners of the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup, and FC Barcelona Femení, who qualified as winners of the 2020 Primera División winners. The clubs have continued their winning ways in 2021, with the Portland Thorns taking home the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup and FC Barcelona Femení winning the 2021 UEFA Women’s Champions League and 2021 Primera División. Olympique Lyonnais will be looking to defend their WICC title, while the other three clubs are first time participants in the prestigious event.
“The WICC will reach new heights this summer as it will be held in one of the most electric soccer venues in the country in Portland’s Providence Park,” said RSG CEO Daniel Sillman. “There is no other tournament in international club soccer that has four championship teams competing to be called the world’s best.”
“The collection of talent that will be participating at this summer’s WICC in Portland is incredible,” said Head of the WICC Susie Fiore. “To be able to crown the women’s club world champion in Portland, arguably the best women’s soccer city in the country, will make for an iconic experience for both players and fans.”
The clubs feature United States Women’s National Team stars Crystal Dunn (Portland), Lindsey Horan (Portland), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland), Sophia Smith (Portland), Adrianna Franch (Portland), Kristie Mewis (Houston), Jane Campbell (Houston), and Catarina Macario (Lyon). International stars include Ada Hegerberg (Lyon), Wendie Renard (Lyon), Amandine Henry (Lyon), Amel Majri (Lyon), Delphine Cascarino (Lyon), Damaris Egurrola (Lyon), Lola Gallardo (Lyon), Christine Sinclair (Portland), Rachel Daly (Houston), Sophie Schmidt (Houston), Lieke Martens (FC Barcelona), Alexia Putellas (FC Barcelona), Jenni Hermoso (FC Barcelona), Caroline Graham Hansen (FC Barcelona), Mapi León (FC Barcelona), Asisat Oshoala (FC Barcelona), and Marta Torrejon (FC Barcelona).
“It’s prestigious; you get to show who’s the best team in the world,” remarked Olympique Lyonnais star and first ever Ballon d’Or Féminin winner Ada Hegerberg about the WICC in her 2020 documentary titled, ‘My name is Ada Hegerberg.’ “It’s really important for us to go there and show the qualities we have and win.”
The tournament will take place from August 18-21, 2021 at Providence Park, the home of the Portland Thorns. The tournament will consist of four matches played as two doubleheaders. In the first doubleheader, Olympique Lyonnais will face off against FC Barcelona in an all-European clash and the Portland Thorns will play against the Houston Dash in an All-American battle. This will set up a European vs. US final on August 21, as the winners of the first doubleheader meet, while the clubs that lose in the first doubleheader will play in the third-place match on the same day.
“We are looking forward to welcoming some of the top women’s soccer talent in the world to Providence Park this summer at the Women’s ICC tournament,” said Mike Golub, President of Business for the Portland Thorns and the Portland Timbers. “This unique event provides the club an opportunity to not only grow the Thorns brand, but also highlight the passion this city and fan base has for women’s soccer.”
Budweiser is returning to the WICC as presenting partner for the second tournament in a row. “Budweiser is championing women’s soccer in the United States through the top women’s soccer properties – the WICC, the NWSL, and the USWNT. It is fantastic to have such a powerful and committed brand as title partner of our event”, said Fiore.
The WICC matches will be televised live in both English and Spanish on the ESPN networks. Tickets will be available in June on the ICC website. Please follow @WomensICC on Instagram and Twitter for ticket sales announcements.
2021 WICC QUALIFICATION: 2020 UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WINNER and 2020 D1 ARKEMA WINNER
7X UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WINNER (’11,’12,’16,’17,’18,’19,’20)
9X FRENCH NATIONAL CUP WINNER (’08, ’12, ’13, ’14, ’15, ’16, ’17, ’19, ’20)
14X DIVISION 1 FÉMININE WINNER (’07- ’20)
1X TROPHEE DES CHAMPIONNES (’19)
2019 WICC WINNER
BALLON D’OR: ADA HEGERBERG (WINNER ’18), LUCY BRONZE (RUNNER-UP ’19)
UEFA PLAYER OF THE YEAR: ADA HEGERBERG (WINNER ’16, RUNNER-UP ’18,’19), LUCY BRONZE (WINNER ’19), WENDIE RENARD (RUNNER-UP ’20)
2021 WICC QUALIFICATION: 2020 NWSL FALL SERIES WINNER
2X NWSL CHAMPIONS (’13,’17)
NWSL REGULAR SEASON CHAMPIONS (’16)
NWSL MVP: LINDSEY HORAN (WINNER ’18), CRYSTAL DUNN (WINNER ’15)
4X NWSL DEFENDER OF THE YEAR: BECKY SAUERBRUNN (WINNER ’13,’14,’15,’19)
2X NWSL GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR: ADRIANNA FRANCH (’17,’18)
2021 WICC QUALIFICATION: 2020 NWSL CHALLENGE CUP WINNER
NWSL MVP: RACHEL DALY (’20)
2021 WICC QUALIFICATION: 2020 PRIMERA DIVISION WINNER
5X PRIMERA DIVISION WINNER (’12,’13,’14,’15,’20)
7X COPA DE LA REINA WINNER (’94,’11,’13,’14,’17,’18,’20)
2020 SUPERCOPA DE ESPANA WINNER
UEFA PLAYER OF THE YEAR: LIEKE MARTENS (WINNER ’17)
RSG has made a long-standing investment into the growth of women’s soccer through its WICC platform. The company has plans to expand the WICC to six clubs in 2022 and to eight clubs in 2023. In 2020, RSG developed a women’s-focused content strategy with new original programming, highlighted by “The Fixture by the WICC” hosted by The Athletic’s Meg Linehan. The weekly digital show is available on all ICC social channels and is entirely dedicated to women’s soccer including highlights, news, transfers, and players to watch. In 2020, the WICC and LaLiga North America launched another weekly interview show hosted by international football stars Allie Long and Vero Boquete.
In November 2020, RSG launched the inaugural WICC Best XI, which is an annual award given to the athletes, executives, journalists, coaches, and other individuals who are doing the most to advance women’s soccer. The 2020 WICC Best XI was presented by Ally and the honoree announcement was made during a panel presentation hosted by The Female Quotient.
The 2020 Best XI list included three players – Megan Rapinoe, Marta Vieira da Silva, and Wendie Renard; one coach – Jill Ellis; one referee – Bibiana Steinhaus; one owner – Jean-Michel Aulas; three executives – Kelly Simmons, Moya Dodd, and Sarai Bareman; one journalist – Meg Linehan; and one activist – Khalida Popal.
The 2020 Best XI list was selected by an advisory board comprised of the following soccer and sports icons: Vero Boquete, Laura Gentile, Nadine Kessler, Heather O’Reilly, Briana Scurry, Danielle Slaton, and Grant Wahl.
Also in 2020, RSG released, “My Name is Ada Hegerberg”, a new all-access documentary film featuring Norwegian National Team and Olympique Lyonnais soccer star Ada Hegerberg, which was featured on ESPN+. For the first time since sitting out the World Cup, Hegerberg shared her story, showing fans the origins of her love of soccer growing up in a small Norwegian town, how she emerged as the best female soccer player in the world and won the first-ever Ballon d’Or Féminin in 2018, and her wrenching decision to not play for the Norwegian National Team and the resulting international controversy and backlash she endured later that year.
ABOUT RELEVENT SPORTS GROUP
Relevent Sports Group (RSG) is the premier soccer events and media business in North America and Asia. RSG operates the International Champions Cup, the summer’s largest club tournament featuring the world’s best teams in iconic venues, the WICC, and ICC Futures, a youth tournament for the top clubs in the world. Regarded as one of the most influential privately-owned soccer companies internationally, RSG is focused on expanding its footprint, creating a year-round soccer platform including new digital properties and the first-of-its-kind joint venture with LaLiga to promote soccer in North America.