The She Believes Cup kicks off this week, but there are likely to be fewer England fans following the team at the annual invitational tournament organised by US Soccer than previously.
With the women’s game growing in popularity, not only with record TV viewing figures for England matches but also increased WSL attendances and record-breaking numbers at international fixtures, the late announcement of England’s participation at the She Believes Cup has led to a number of fans telling us of their disappointment at being unable to follow Phil Neville’s side around the USA this year.
In previous years, announcements had been made well before Christmas, but England’s participation wasn’t confirmed by the FA until 13th January, giving fans a little over seven weeks to plan their transatlantic trips.
It is becoming something of a recurring issue for followers of the Lionesses, who will be defending the title they won in 2019. For a number of fans the late announcement of fixture dates and venues put paid to any plans they had of making the trip.
The tournament, which also features the United States, Spain and Japan, runs from 5th to 11th March.
Shift workers and those who have to plan their holidays in advance have been particularly hit by the late announcement – one fan, who travelled to the World Cup and is an away England regular, told us: “I have to book my holidays months in advance, and so had to make a guess based off previous tournaments. As it was announced so late and others at work had already made plans I was unable to swap.
“I usually travel with a couple of friends, and both of them can’t go because of the short notice.
“Thankfully none of us have lost any money, as we didn’t want to make a wrong guess with the venues and end up in the wrong state.”
If you are still planning on making the journey out to Orlando, New Jersey or Texas then keep an eye out for our fans’ guide with some useful information on each of the host cities.