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The ninth annual SheBelieves Cup will kick off on Saturday, April 6 and the United States women's national team will host Brazil, Canada, and Japan. Interim head coach Twila Kilgore has named a 23-player roster to compete in the two-match series set to begin in Atlanta and conclude in Columbus, Ohio. The competition will serve as one more trophy for the team to win ahead of the Olympics and marks the turning of the page for incoming manager Emma Hayes. 

Here's what to watch during the tournament:

Viewing info

All times Eastern

Saturday, April 6
USWNT vs. Japan, 12:30 p.m.  (TNT, Max)
Brazil vs. Canada, 3:30 p.m. (Max)

Tuesday, April 9
Japan vs. TBD, 4 p.m. (TNT, Max)
USWNT vs. TBD, 7 p.m.  (TBS, Max)

Note: The USWNT may still play in the second game on Tuesday even if they lose on Saturday.

Extra Olympic evaluation

The Olympics are just a few months away and will begin on July 25 and players are being evaluated ahead of the event. SheBelieves Cup comes just one month after the Concacaf W Gold Cup -- where the USWNT defeated Brazil and won the inaugural tournament -- and welcomes the return of Mallory Swanson and Catarina Macario into the mix after lengthy injury absences.

Narrowing down an Olympic roster is already difficult, essentially cutting down a 23-player World Cup roster to an 18-person roster. Team captain Lindsey Horan emphasized during the Gold Cup that everybody was being evaluated whether they are newer to national team camps or veterans with experience. Some players' stock is higher than others at the moment, and that's reflected in our latest Olympic roster projection.

The return of Swanson and Macario and the addition of Eva Gaetino and Lily Yohannes signals that everyone is indeed still being evaluated even with just a short four months till the Olympics. 

Why will USWNT play just two games?

The tournament is a condensed format compared to previous editions. Instead of the round-robin style competition, the 2024 SheBelieves Cup will only have four games between two matchdays. 

The event will begin with all four teams in a semifinal format on Saturday and then on Tuesday the winners will face off for the SheBelieves Cup and the semifinal runners-up will compete in a third place match. The USWNT will feature as the main event in the 7 p.m. ET time slot whether they compete for the championship or third place.

With four teams involved, that means USA will only play two of the three invited guests. Perhaps in an effort to make sure the USWNT play as many different teams as possible ahead of the Olympics, they will face Japan in the semifinal, and either Brazil or Canada during their second matchday. USA faced Brazil during the Gold Cup final and Canada during the Gold Cup semifinals. 

Temperature check on team culture

Shortly after the SheBelieves Cup roster dropped, recent social media activity by 20-year-old midfielder Korbin Albert surfaced. They included several anti-LGBTQ posts with plenty of backlash.

In a now deleted post on Instagram, Albert's likes under her profile included that of a meme account that stated "God taking time off performing miracles to make sure Megan Rapinoe sprains her ankle in her final ever game." The Paris Saint-Germain player liked the reel wishing harm on the legendary player, but the post now appears to be deleted and only exists among screencaps on the internet. 

Albert's social media activity led to a reaction from Rapinoe, who made a critical post on Instagram that was shared by many current and former USWNT teammates including Becky Sauerbrunn, Lindsey Horan, and Abby Dahlkemper among others. Rapinoe later confirmed to The Athletic that the post was in response to Albert's recent anti-trans social media activity.

After the UEFA Women's Champions League quarterfinals, where Albert scored for PSG, she issued an apology in regard to the backlash she received.

"Liking and sharing posts that are offensive, insensitive and hurtful was immature and disrespectful which was never my intent. I'm really disappointed in myself and am deeply sorry for the hurt that I have caused to my teammates, other players, fans, friends and anyone who was offended," she wrote. "I truly believe that everyone should feel safe and respected everywhere and on all playing fields."

As SheBelieves Cup gets closer, commentary and reaction has not slowed down and will likely continue as the tournament kicks off. Recently retired Sam Mewis invited current national teammate Lynn Williams on her show "The Women's Game" to further discuss the issues around Albert's choice in to engage in anti-LGBTQ social media. 

Both Mewis and Williams were once national team and NWSL club teammates of Jaeline Daniels (Nee Hinkle), a bubble player who once dimissed herself from USWNT friendlies upon learning that the team would wear rainbow numbers for Pride month. She was later called into national team camps but ultimately faded out as multiple players competed for the outside back role with Kelley O'Hara, Crystal Dunn, Taylor Smith, Sofia Huerta, and Casey Krueger among them. 

"Back then, we didn't know how to approach the situation and we put soccer first. I feel like if I've learned anything, it's that there are some things that are just bigger than soccer," Williams said on the podcast. 

While U.S. Soccer has not yet commented on the recent events, there is the possibility that discussions around Albert and team culture will be a topic that is asked about in press conferences and mixed zones. With the Olympics on the horizion, team chemistry and culture will be an issue that impacts not just one player and something fans and the public will watch for during the SheBelieves Cup.