NWSL announces schedule for 2021 season which sees a return of the Challenge Cup
The National Women’s Soccer League will return to action in mid-April for the 2021 season.
Players will report for club camps on February 1 to prepare for the return of the Challenge Cup in April. Specific dates for the tournament, won by Houston Dash this year, will be confirmed at a later date.
NWSL Chief Revenue Officer Mitch Poll said: “Bringing back the Challenge Cup is an opportunity for our league to continue growing our fan base and showcase our world class players with an exciting and competitive tournament ahead of the most important international tournament on the 2021 calendar, the Olympic Games.
“We’re focused on continuing to build opportunities to expand our reach, expose a global audience to the best women’s club soccer in the world, and provide meaningful opportunities for our teams and players to perform.”
After the Challenge Cup, the regular 2021 season will begin in mid-May with each team, including new club Racing Louisville FC, scheduled to play 24 games.
Once these matches have been played six clubs will qualify for play-offs which will be completed in November. These will then lead to the NWSL Championship game on November 20.
The 2020 season was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic and so the league did not have a regular season which means the current holders of the NWSL title are 2019 champions North Carolina Courage.
Dash won the Challenge Cup earlier this year and Portland Thorns FC claimed the Fall Series which rounded off soccer action for 2020.