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​The Week in Women's Football: Cyprus Cup field; Seattle Reign's big signing; Atletico Huila claim Copa Libertadores Femenina;​

This week we discuss the 12 team lineup for the 2019 Cyprus Cup for National Teams that will serve as training matches for 4 Women's World Cup Sides, discuss Spanish international defender Celia Jimenez Delgado signing for the Seattle Reign for 2019 and we review the 2018 Copa Libertadores Femenina tournament from late this year.

Cyprus Cup 2019 Field is Finalized

The 2019 Cyprus Cup field is set for the February 25 thru March 7, 2019 tournament, as four of the twelve teams will be participating in the 2019 WWC in France later in the summer. Nigeria and South Africa from the African Football Confederation are coming to Cyprus along with last year's Cyprus Cup runners-up Italy (to Spain, who are not attending this year) and Thailand from Asia. Other Western European sides participating include Austria, Belgium and Finland, along with the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia from Eastern Europe, as well as Korea DPR from Asia and Mexico from CONCACAF, who are rebuilding their side after failing to advance even to the knockout stage of their Gold Cup/Regional Qualifying Tournament last November, after appearing at the 2011 and 2015 World Cups.

Group A:

Czech Republic
Korea DPR
South Africa

Group B:


Group C:


Spanish women's national team member Celia Delgado Signs with the Seattle Reign

Spanish National Team Pool defender Celia Jimenez Delgado has signed for the Seattle Reign for the 2019 season. Delgado was picked by the Reign in the fourth round of the 2018 NWSL College Draft after playing with the University of Alabama.

She trained with the Reign last season without seeing any game time but won the WPSL title for the Seattle Sounders Women last summer in the amateur league and played briefly with FC Rosengard in Sweden this fall, where she scored once in six games. At the international level, Delgado has earned 19 caps for the Spanish national team. She played at the 2015 Women's World Cup with Spain and won a junior college national title at Iowa Western before finishing at the University of Alabama, despite interest from more high profile schools, in order to study aerospace engineering, which she wants to continue to study in graduate school.

2018 Copa Libertadores Femenina Review

The 2018 Copa Libertadores Femenina was held from November 18 through December 2, 2018 in Manaus, in the Amazonia region of northern Brazil. Atletico Huila—one of four debutants in the annual club tournament for champions of the 10 member nations of CONMEBOL—became the first Colombian side to win the Continental club trophy, defeating Santos of Brazil on penalties. Iranduba of Manaus of Brazil—a local side invited as a host team—finished third over Colo-Colo of Chile, who were champions in 2012. Reigning champions Audax of Brazil fell at the group stage. Santos won the title in 2009 and 2010. Another Colombian side, Formas Intimas finished second in 2013, third in 2009 and fourth in 2014.

In the Group Stage, Atletico Huila advanced over 2017 Copa Libertadores Femenina Champions Audax, with both sides finishing with six points; Audax winning 1-0 against the Colombian side but stumbling against Union Espanola of Ecuador (1-0). Atletico Huila advanced having scored 6 goals to 5 for the Brazilian side, as both were tied on the first tiebreaker of Goal Differential with +4. Union Espanola and debutants Penarol of Uruguay both had 3 points.

In Group B, Santos was undefeated with 9 points, while Colo-Colo advanced as the best second place side across the three groups with 6 points, a Goal Differential of 4 but with 6 goals scored. JC Sport Girls of Peru finished third on 3 points and Deportivo ITA of Bolivia finished bottom with 0 points.

In Group C, Iranduba of Manaus and UAI Urquiza of Argentina tied on 5 points, both with 1 win and two draws, but again they were tied on Goal Difference but the Brazilians advanced having scored 5 goals to 3 for UAI. Flor de Patria of Venezuela—Copa Libertadores Femenina debutants along with Iranduba—had 3 points while Cerro Porteno of Paraguay had 2. Cerro Porteno finished in third place in 2014 and fourth in 2017, when Paraguay hosted the tournament and were appearing for the fifth time in the event's decade of existence.

In the Semifinals, Santos defeated Colo-Colo of Chile 3-0 while Atletico Huila defeated Iranduba 3-1 on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Iranduba then defeated Colo-Colo on penalties 2-0 after another 1-1 tie in the third place match and Atletico Huila defeated Santos to win the championship 5-3 on penalties after yet another 1-1 draw.

Brazilians Brena (4 goals) and Alanna (3 goals) led Santos in goal scoring in the tournament, while Karla Torres of Ecuador also had 3 for Colo-Colo.

Santos used an all-Brazilian side, coached by former Portuguese international Emily Lima—the former Brazilian national women's team coach in 2016-17—while Atletico Huila had four imports from Argentina, 2 from neighbors Venezuela and goalkeeper Daniela Solera of Costa Rica. They also had Colombian international Yoreli Rincon, who has played professionally in Brazil, Sweden, Norway and the U.S. (New Jersey Wildcats in the USL W-League in 2014, after spending pre-season with the NWSL's Western New York Flash). Iranduba brought in Brazilian international Andressinha on loan from the Portland Thorns of the NWSL. Andressinha played three years with the Houston Dash before playing in 18 games for the 2018 NWSL runners-up. Another Brazilian international, Camila Pereira of the Orlando Pride, was also a loanee for the tourney; she played in only 9 games in 2018 for the Pride after scoring 4 goals with 5 assists in 2017. Both players missed games while playing for their national team in Women's World Cup qualifying last season. Raquel Fernandes also came on loan to the Manaus side—she played for Brazil at the 2015 Women's World Cup and for years at Ferroviaria in Brazil.

Tim Grainey is a contributor to Tribal Football. His latest book Beyond Bend it Like Beckham on the global game of women's football. Get your copy today.

Follow Tim on Twitter: @TimGrainey

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