SOCCER

Mexico Women’s National Team will face Angel City in the new Angelina Cup

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When you think of club versus country, it usually relates to a player balancing responsibilities between two teams or an unrealistic clash in a FIFA video game. In September in Los Angeles, however, we are going to have a real club versus country game between Angel City FC and the Mexican women’s national team. On Monday, the NWSL club and the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol (FMF) — along with Soccer United Marketing — will announce a new multi-year partnership: the Copa Angelina.

“A professional team playing a national team, it’s a testament to the opportunity women’s football has to put itself on the global landscape,” Angel City team chairman Julie Uhrman said on a call. with Athleticism. “Focusing on top talent and bringing together different communities to not only showcase an incredible product on the pitch, but also the impact you can have off the pitch.”

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The game will take place September 5 at 6:00 p.m. Labor Day, and will also air on Univision in the United States and Mexico. There will also be a fan festival outside Banc of California Stadium, also with a musical performance to be announced.

Novelty will definitely be a factor, building on previous matches between NWSL and Liga MX Femenil clubs. Angel City have some on deck too, after announcing last month that they had signed a two-year partnership with Tigres which includes home and away friendlies.

But what is most fascinating about the Copa Angelina is that it will take place during a FIFA window (which runs from August 29 to September 6). Angel City could miss a handful of their players from their national team responsibilities, but Mexico will give up an international game that would count towards their FIFA rankings to play in the Copa Angelina.

For FMF sporting director Gerardo Torrado, skipping an international friendly to travel to Los Angeles was worth it for several reasons.

“With our new expansion with SUM (Soccer United Marketing), it was a great opportunity to start establishing the (Mexico) Women’s National Team brand in the United States,” said Torrado. Athleticism. “First of all, it was a great opportunity to play against a very important team in the United States. Then one of our pillars is to give competitive games to our teams, and that’s what we will achieve. playing against Angel City. It’s a good opportunity to give them an important game, so they can continue to prepare, hopefully, for the World Cup and the Olympics as well.

The FMF signed a six-year extension with US-based Soccer United Marketing in May, with plans for the MLS and USSF-affiliated group to step up its involvement with Mexico’s women’s and youth national teams. The Mexico women’s team have been well supported over the years as fairly consistent opponents to the USWNT, but the Copa Angelina presents a very different opportunity: a match they will help control, market and a stadium filled with supporters. A sold-out Bench crowd would also be a pretty decent financial return for taking the risk of playing this game during the international window.

“We want to be as high as possible (in the FIFA rankings),” he said, and the decision was not taken lightly – but he sees this game as one piece of the puzzle in the overall growth of the team both on the pitch and as a brand, which can help unlock additional matches for the team in the future. Mexico is currently ranked 26th in the world by FIFA.

Timing was also a factor for Angel City. With the Challenge Cup and then the regular season, plus the heavy international load in July, Uhrman said it made more sense on many levels to consider later in the season.

“Really, being an expansion team in our first year, we didn’t want to bite off more than we could chew,” she said. “We didn’t want to force the team into a tournament that would require many more games in an already busy schedule. It allowed us to do something important and then build for the future with more visibility with what arrives in 2023 and 2024 of the league.

As for this potential growth, additional teams may be added in the future, prize money added, other locations considered. Although Angel City and FMF have reasons to promote their own interests, they have also invested in branding around the Copa Angelina. The tournament logo design points to both Los Angeles and Mexico City with influences from the architecture of Mariachi Plaza in Los Angeles and Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City, with the laurel wreath a nod to the landmark of the tournament. ‘Angel of Independence in Mexico City.

Angel City and the FMF couldn’t have asked for a better start to the Copa Angelina than Mexico hosting the next CONCACAF W Championship and all eyes are on the World Cup and Olympic qualifiers, as well as the NWSL until July. There will be plenty of chances for everyone involved in the Copa Angelina to work together and build real hype around the game and the partnership – and for Mexico to make the desired inroads into the US market on the women’s side.

“It was a great project, to see how the men’s national team has developed, how it gives emotions to all Mexicans who live in the United States,” said Torrado. “Now we want to do it with the women’s national team as well. It’s a great opportunity to share the growing level of women’s football in Mexico and bring it closer to all Mexicans who live here.

“It’s about raising awareness and bringing attention to these players, isn’t it?” Uhrman said. “Whether they’re from Angel City or the Mexican national team, or any other NWSL player. It gives us the opportunity to give players the exposure and attention they deserve, so that the fan base can grow.

(Top photo: FMF)

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