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Aug. 18, 2019 — Did Olympique Lyon just pull a New York Jets?

With a 23-yard golazo from Dzsenifer Marozsán, Olympique Lyon beat the North Carolina Courage 1-0 in the final of the 2019 International Champions Cup, a four-team competition for women’s club sides which also included Manchester City and Athletico Madrid.

In the absence of a FIFA Women’s World Club Cup, this is likely the closest thing you’ll find to a world championship for women’s soccer club sides. And, I think, this is an enormous upset of near-biblical proportions. That’s because the perception has been that the best competition, the best teams always come from the National Women’s Soccer League, the current nine-team league atop the American women’s soccer pyramid.

Now, there has been some speculation in the world football intelligentsia about when a FIFA-sanctioned competition for women’s club sides would begin.

Of course, a large part of having an organized worldwide competition is how well the individual continental federations are organized, and how committed they are to the women’s game. For me, I think the most interesting areas of the world when it comes to organizing the pro game for an international club competition will be Africa and Australia.

Africa has had numerous great players on the level of Mercy Akide and Francisca Ordega, and it will be interesting to see what kind of statement a Ghanian or Nigerian side can make on the world stage. It will also be interesting to see whether women’s soccer will take root in majority-Muslim nations, where sports are often taboo for women.

Australia’s well-financed A-League has relied on a number of players coming over from other nations which already have strong domestic leagues, such as the United States. It’s entirely possible that an American player who helped an A-League team to the title in the wintertime could also come over and get an NWSL team its cup championship. The question is, which team is cup-tied to this particular player?

They’ve already solved this on the men’s side, but we’ll see if there is a “cup tied” situation for a future FIFA women’s club championship. I have a feeling it could happen sooner than anyone wants.

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