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NWSL will resume play this fall with regional pods

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Who’s your pod?

2020 NWSL Challenge Cup - Championship Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The National Women’s Soccer League has announced that they will put on more games this September and October by dividing up the league into regions and having them play each other in four games each. The teams will play a total of 18 games over seven games, with subdivided regions curbing the amount of travel for each team. They are as follows:

West
OL Reign
Portland Thorns FC
Utah Royals FC

Northeast
Chicago Red Stars
Sky Blue FC
Washington Spirit

South
North Carolina Courage
Orlando Pride
Houston Dash

The league has also gotten more games on TV and streaming, with broadcast partner CBS airing at least four games on their main TV network with a game of the week every Saturday in September, and three more games on CBS Sports Network for three Saturdays in October. At least four games will stream on All Access.

The league has also published their revised testing and competition protocols. The league requires teams to either fly or charter buses for travel (no vans allowed) and players and staff must stay in the same bus seat for the whole trip to allow contact tracing. Also of note, the protocols state “Club-submitted fan management plans must ensure that fans are no closer to the field than row eight.”

Many teams have resumed either individual or group training in anticipation of the fall series, although of course their rosters will look different to varying extents given how many players have already left to play overseas. Understandably, while NWSL was working out their fall series details, players weighed their options on what would get them the most playing time and training. On the flip side, this is yet another great opportunity for players who might have otherwise never gotten any field time to make a case for themselves.