Thought the 2014 regular season of the National Women's Soccer League just came to a close, the league is already prepping for 2015. According to a press release Wednesday from the league, NWSL teams will play a 20-game schedule in 2015. The season will include a brief two-week break during the group stages of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, which will take place in Canada.
"We are very pleased to announce the new schedule for the upcoming 2015 NWSL season, which will allow us to have a March to September format with more weekend dates" NWSL Executive Director Cheryl Bailey said in the press release. "The 2015 NWSL season will also feature a short break at the start of the Women's World Cup, which will allow the clubs and fans to fully focus on the excitement of the 2015 FIFA World Cup."
The press release also announced the three North American soccer federations - the Canada Soccer Association, Federation of Mexican Football and the United States Soccer Federation - will all commit to allocate players for the 2015 season. All three federations plan to host extended training camps and events prior to the start of the World Cup and have agreed to release their players to participate from the start of the 2015 season.
"We are excited to announce that the Canada Soccer Association, Federation of Mexican Football and U.S. Soccer have confirmed that they will allocate the same number of players for the 2015 season," Bailey added. "We have been able to find a balance with Canada, Mexico and the U.S. that will enable the players to participate in training camps with their National Teams but will also allow them to re-join their clubs for some games prior to the start of the World Cup."
National team players will join their national teams, but will also participate in the first three to four NWSL matches before the start of the World Cup. In total, these players will be expected to miss 7 to 8 games, compared to the three games in 2014.
Preseason training camps will start in March, will the NWSL regular season will kick off in early April, the press release stated. Based on the new format, clubs will have an average of 5.9 days of rest between matches and will play 16 weekend games. This will average 1.3 midweek games for teams in 2015, compared to the 7.8 midweek game average of 2014.
The regular season will conclude in the middle of September and will be followed by the playoffs, including two semifinal matches on the weekend of September 12 and 13. The championship match is scheduled to take place the weekend of September 26 and 27, to avoid potential FIFA dates.
For more information about the new schedule format, NWSL and more, visit the league's official site at www.nwslsoccer.com.