PPL Park to host CONCACAF Women’s Soccer semifinal, final for 2015 World Cup qualifying

PPL Park, home of women's CONCACAF finals Oct. 24 and 26

PPL Park will play host to the semifinal, third-place match and championship games of the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship on October 24 and 26, US Soccer announced Thursday.  The two finalists and the winner of the third-place match will qualify directly for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada. The fourth-place team will enter a playoff with a South American country for a final berth.

The final tournament schedule and kickoff times will be set at the Final Draw on Sept. 5 in Miami. Ticket information will be made available in the near future.

“We are pleased to host the championship stage for the CONCACAF Women’s Qualifiers at PPL Park,” said Union CEO and operating partner Nick Sakiewicz. “Having world class women’s soccer right here in Philadelphia ahead of next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada is massive for the fans of this city to get a first look at our Federation’s best female players. For the players, we hope to provide an authentic experience from one of the premier soccer specific venues in the country.”

The tournament, which will take place from Oct. 15-26, features eight countries divided into two groups of four with the top two finishers in each group after round-robin play moving on to the semifinals. All the countries, including the U.S. Women’s National Team, will play one match in each of the three first-round venues. Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas, Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois, and RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., will each host two doubleheaders, one each for Groups A and B.

“We are honored to serve as the local organizing committee for this tournament as we continue to support and grow women’s soccer in this region on a large scale,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “The second season of the NWSL has been exciting to follow, and this tournament provides fans with another opportunity to see some of the best women’s soccer players in the world compete on the international level. With the tremendous success and popularity of the men’s World Cup here in the United States this summer, we are looking forward to carrying that momentum right through to the Women’s World Cup in Canada and beyond.”

The group stage matches for the tournament will all be played in cities that host NWSL clubs, meaning several of the U.S. WNT players will get the chance to play in front of their hometown fans. The tournament begins at Sporting Park on Oct. 15 with the first two matches of Group A followed by the first two matches of Group B on Oct. 16. All eight teams will then move to Toyota Park where the Group A doubleheader matches will take place on Oct. 17 and Group B matches on Oct. 18. The teams will finish first round play at RFK Stadium with the Group A doubleheader games taking place on Oct. 20 and Group B on Oct. 21.

The final four teams will then move on to PPL Park for the last four games. The top two finishers in each group will cross over for the semifinal matches as the Group A winner will play the Group B runner-up and vice versa.

“We look forward to an exciting World Cup qualifying round played in the United States at some of the best stadiums in the world in front of passionate football fans," said CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb.

As host of the Women’s World Cup, Canada has already secured its berth, so the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship will feature the USA, Mexico, Costa Rica (the Group II winner in the Central American qualifying tournament), Guatemala (the Group I winner in the Central American qualifying tournament) and the four semifinalists in the final round of the CFU Women’s Caribbean Cup, which will take place Aug. 19-26 in Trinidad & Tobago.

The U.S. last hosted the Women’s World Cup qualifying tournament in 2006 and split hosting responsibilities with Canada in 2002 when games were played in Seattle and Vancouver, Canada.