2020 has proved a challenging year (in more ways than one) for the North Carolina Courage but 2021 looks like it will be a brighter and more soccer-filled year (pandemic permitting).
The National Women's Soccer League announced today that not only will the 2021 season have a regular schedule with playoffs but will also include the next installment of the Challenge Cup as well.
Based on the press release, players will report to camp in February to prepare for the Challenge Cup which will start in mid-April. There will be bubbles in multiple environments/markets to cater to all teams and to also try to adhere to the NWSL Medical Taskforce and public health authority guidelines.
After the Challenge cup is over, the 2021 regular season looks to start in mid-May, with 24 matches scheduled for every team. Six teams will qualify for the playoffs next season, expanding from the previous four, and the top two seeds with have a first-round bye. The NWSL Championship is expected to end the season on November 20th, 2021 should all go according to plan.
This is new territory for the NWSL as Commissioner Lisa Baird continues to look to grow the NWSL to further heights (we at DSS also appreciate the timeliness that seems to be more prevalent now with the NWSL than in the past). It also ensures that the players continue to get more game time and spend more months in season than out, which can only bold well for the development of the women's game overall in the United States.