The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) unveiled the schedule yesterday for its inaugural 2013 season.
The league is well represented with many members of Canada’s Women’s National Team shown in brackets.
The season will kick off on April 13 when the Portland Thorns FC (Karina LeBlanc, Christine Sinclair) visit FC Kansas City (Desiree Scott, Lauren Sesselmann).
The remaining six clubs in the league will begin their respective campaigns on April 14, with Seattle Reign FC (Kaylyn Kyle, Emily Zurrer, Tiffany Cameron) visiting the Chicago Red Stars (Erin McLeod, Carmelina Moscato), the Western New York Flash (Bryanna McCarthy, Jodi-Ann Robinson) at Sky Blue FC (Sophie Schmidt, Melanie Booth), and the Washington Spirit (Robyn Gayle, Diana Matheson, Candace Chapman) at the Boston Breakers (Adriana Leon, Rhian Wilkinson).
Each of the league’s eight clubs will play a total of 22 games during a 19-week span, with a high percentage of games being played on weekends and holidays. At least eight of the 11 home games for each team will take place on a weekend or a holiday.
The schedule ensures adequate time for travel, rest and recovery so that all teams are being showcased at their highest level of competitiveness.
All games have been scheduled with no fewer than two full days of rest between them for both teams. In many cases, teams traveling from the Eastern Time Zone to the Pacific Northwest will play Portland and Seattle on the same trip.
The regular season will conclude the weekend of Aug. 18 with all eight clubs in action during the final two days of the campaign. Leading up to the regular season finale, every team will host at least one game in August and no team will travel outside of its own time zone during the season’s final week.
The top four teams will qualify for the NWSL playoffs and compete in the semifinals on Aug. 24. The NWSL will crown its inaugural champion after the final on Aug. 31.
Broadcast information for the league will be announced in the near future.
The NWSL is an eight-team league organized and administered by the U.S. Soccer Federation.
U.S. Soccer is subsidizing the salaries of the 23 American players, while the Canadian Soccer Association and the Federation of Mexican Football will each do the same for 16 players.
The eight founding clubs are the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, FC Kansas City, Portland Thorns FC, Seattle Reign FC, Sky Blue FC (New York/New Jersey), the Washington Spirit and the Western New York Flash.