Illinois head coach Janet Rayfield has been called upon by U.S. National Team head coach Pia Sundhage for the third time in as many years.
March 1, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois women's soccer head coach Janet Rayfield has been elected to the United States Women's National Team coaching staff for the duration of the 2011 Algarve Cup, held on the southern coast of Portugal. Rayfield will detail her experiences with the world's No. 1-ranked women's soccer team, according the FIFA listings, for Illinois soccer fans with blog posts on FightingIllini.com throughout her time coaching at the Algarve Cup.
Rayfield will serve as an assistant to U.S. Women's Soccer National Team head coach Pia Sundhage over the course of the four-match tournament, during which the U.S. team will face fellow Algarve Cup Group A members Japan, Norway, and Finland before meeting one opponent yet to be named.
The United States opens the tournament on March 2 at 9 a.m. CT against Japan, the fifth-best team in the world according to the most recent FIFA rankings. The U.S. will then face Norway for a 9 a.m. CT game on Match 4 and Finland to close group matches on March 7 at 9 a.m. CT. All three of the United States' opponents during the group stage are ranked in the top-20, with Norway earning seventh and Finland placing 16th overall.
The United States Women's Soccer National Team and Sundhage have called upon Rayfield in the past as she spent portions of the 2008 and 2009 summer months as an assistant coach with Sundhage while the U.S. team competed internationally.
The Algarve Cup is an annual soccer tournament hosted in the Algarve region of Portugal. This is the 18th time the tournament has been held, with the U.S. capturing seven championships (2000, `03-`05, `07-`08, `10) over 16 years of competition in the event. This year, teams in Groups A and B will compete for the title in the championship game on Wednesday, March 9. The second-place finishers in Groups A and B will play for third place overall while the third place finishers will meet to decide who earns fifth for the tournament.