NWSL fall series begins on Saturday with Sky Blue at Spirit

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) was the first professional team sports league in the United States to play games this summer.


Portland Thorns defender Kelli Hubly, left, and Washington Spirit midfielder Rose Lavelle vie for the ball during the second half of an NWSL Challenge Cup soccer match at Zions Bank Stadium on July 5, 2020.   -  AP

The National Women’s Soccer League’s fall schedule will open on Saturday with a match between Sky Blue and the Washington Spirit. The game in Leesburg, Virginia, will be the NWSL Game of the Week.

The league is returning after coronavirus delayed the start of the regular season, although the NWSL was the first professional team sports league in the United States to play games this summer when it staged a tournament in Utah.

The NWSL will play 18 games over seven weeks, with the league’s nine teams separated into three groups to keep travel to a minimum. The game of the week will be broadcast on CBS on Saturdays during September, while all matches will be streamed on Twitch for international audiences.

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"I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to put together a schedule that gets our players back out on the pitch and showcases their talent for a global audience, while limiting travel as much as possible and keeping player and staff health and safety our top priority,” NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird said Tuesday.

The West group includes OL Reign, the Portland Thorns and the Utah Royals; the Northeast group includes the Chicago Red Stars, Sky Blue and the Spirit; and the South group includes the North Carolina Courage, the Orlando Pride and the Houston Dash.

Teams and players will be subject to a comprehensive medical protocol for the duration for the fall series.

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