Soccer

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NWSL Announces Return to Play Day

1 Jun, 2020


The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) will return on June 27 with a 25-game tournament, becoming the first United States sports league to return to play.

The Challenge Cup, the NWSL’s yearly championship, will be held near Salt Lake City, UT the league announced on Wednesday. All nine NWSL teams will play four games to determine seeding, then the top eight teams will advance to the quarterfinal knockout round.

The tournament will begin on June 27 and last for 30 days. The preliminary games and quarterfinals will be played at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, UT, and the semifinals and final will be played at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT. No fans will be allowed at any game. In addition to the tournament’s presenting sponsors P&G and Secret, the league also announced a new multi-year partnership with Verizon.

The NWSL season never officially began due to the COVID-19 shutdown.

“As our country begins to safely reopen and adjust to our collective new reality, and with the enthusiastic support of our players, owners, as well as our new and current commercial partners, the NWSL is thrilled to bring professional soccer back to the United States,” said NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird. “This exciting month-long tournament will showcase our league’s talented players and provide fans the type of world-class entertainment they’ve come to expect from the NWSL.”

U.S. Soccer said in a statement, “U.S. Soccer is supportive of the NWSL’s decision to bring professional women’s soccer back to the field. Throughout the collaborative planning process, U.S. Soccer has worked closely with the NWSL and the USWNT Players Association to focus on the health and safety of the players, both regarding COVID-19 and the physical aspects of the players returning to a preseason and tournament competition, and ensure that each player would have the option of participating in the event. Everyone at the league and individual clubs have put in a tremendous amount of hard work to make sure the environment in Utah will be as safe as possible for all involved, and we are looking forward to the return of the NWSL as women’s soccer continues to grow and prosper.”

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