The World Cup is just 160 days away, so the 2023 SheBelieves Cup takes on added significance with teams looking to lockdown tactics and players battling to make an impression ahead of the final roster announcements for Australia and New Zealand.
The SheBelieves Cup also boasts three excellent, soccer-specific venues in Orlando, Nashville and Frisco, and there's quality competition with the four-time world champions joined by 2011 World Cup winners Japan, 2021 Olympic gold medalists Canada and 2022 Copa América champs Brazil. All four nations will be at this summer's main event but in different groups.
The eighth SheBelieves Cup looks like the best yet, and to get you ready for the event beginning Feb. 16 we've selected two players from each team who deserve your attention.
8 players to watch at SheBelieves Cup 2023
After showcasing her promise at Corinthians and Benfica, Geyse made a massive breakthrough with Madrid CFF in the Primera División last season by finishing as the league's joint-top scorer with 20 goals.
Barcelona came calling last June, and the 24-year-old has scored 10 goals and provided five assists in 19 games across all competitions. She made her Brazil debut back in 2017 but really came alive last year with three goals, including one against Spain and one at the Copa América.
QUINA JUGADA de Geyse! La brasilera ha estat a punt d'avançar el Barça!⏰ 7'
— TV3.cat (@tv3cat) January 19, 2023
The NWSL is home to Brazilian greats Marta and Debinha while 23-year-old Kerolin made an instant impact with North Carolina Courage last season (all three are on Brazil's roster). There's also been an influx of new talent with Ary Borges joining Racing Louisville and Adriana going to Orlando Pride ahead of the new season.
Adriana, a 26-year-old forward, is coming off a massive Copa América with five goals, and she scored 72 in 143 appearances for Corinthians.
The legendary Stephanie Labbé retired in 2022, but the 27-year-old Sheridan has quickly made a name for herself. Sheridan won the Golden Glove at the 2022 Concacaf W Championship after only conceding once in five games, and then she was named the 2022 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year after keeping eight clean sheets for San Diego Wave FC.
KAILEN SHERIDAN IS COMING UP HUGE FOR CANADA TONIGHT.How did she catch that?! pic.twitter.com/zMVqG10IWf
— Attacking Third (@AttackingThird) July 19, 2022
The 19-year-old USC Trojans midfielder was the 2022 Canada Soccer Young Player of the Year. After being named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team in 2021, Awujo made the Pac-12 First Team her sophomore year with two goals and three assists in 11 games.
Awujo is a bright talent alongside established stars like Christine Sinclair, Sophie Schmidt and Quinn.
The 26-year-old midfielder arrived at Manchester City from West Ham in September and has played a key role in the team's WSL title challenge. She's already earned 61 caps for Japan and can play as a more advanced playmaker or as a defensive midfielder.
A bit of magic from HasegawaThe @BarclaysFooty April Goal of the Month: @maybe10_ @ReadingFCWomen#BarclaysFAWSL @westhamwomen pic.twitter.com/LMl7u7hTff
— Barclays Women's Super League (@BarclaysWSL) May 7, 2022
The 23-year-old forward was one of the top scorers at both the 2016 U-17 World Cup and 2018 U-20 World Cup, and now she's dominating at the senior level with seven goals in nine appearances for Japan in 2022.
Ueki scored five at the 2022 Asian Cup (only Sam Kerr scored more), and she just led Tokyo Verdy to the Empress's Cup while finishing top scorer in that competition. You've been warned.
With Sophia Smith still out with an injury, the battle to impress as her stand-in on the right wing continues. Last month against New Zealand, Midge Purce started the first game but Rodman replaced her at halftime and created two goals. The 20-year-old Washington Spirit winger started the second game and dropped another dime.
You'd expect her to start against Canada, and Rodman vs. 34-year-old left back Allysha Chapman at Exploria Stadium would be an exciting duel.
GO ON, @ash_hatch33 pic.twitter.com/UmsJqDRyS5— U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (@USWNT) January 21, 2023
The U.S. moves forward without Sam Mewis and Julie Ertz in midfield, putting an emphasis on Sullivan in the defensive midfield position. The Americans are going to see three very different styles this tournament: Canada goes compact against the U.S. and looks to counter; Japan's midfield is one of the world's best; Brazil brings its blend of technical quality and athleticism.
Will the U.S. play with a quick enough rhythm to trouble massed ranks of defenders? Can they take chances in the final third without getting sliced by Canada's counter? Can they press with cohesion while Japan and Brazil attempt to play through them?
Sullivan has a lot to do.