An international tournament during a pandemic? How a ‘small but mighty’ events team is making it happen safely

An international tournament during a pandemic? How a ‘small but mighty’ events team is making it happen safely

Since 2016, the SheBelieves Cup has brought together four of the world’s best international women’s soccer teams for a weeklong tournament in three cities spread across the United States. The logistics behind making such an event work are taxing on even the most seasoned operations experts.

An ongoing global pandemic makes it a small miracle that there is any tournament at all this year. All six games will be played in the same venue, at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, which has become U.S. Soccer’s de facto home to start 2021.

Amy Hopfinger is U.S. Soccer’s director of events, competitions, and operations. She has seen just about everything as part of the federation’s events and operations team, in various roles, for the past 17 years. Whether or not this sixth edition of the tournament is more difficult to execute because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic isn’t the right question.

“It’s just totally different,” she says.

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