Women's Football

NWSL Fall Series ready for kick-off

2020 NWSL Challenge Cup - Quarterfinal - Washington Spirit v Sky Blue FC
  • NWSL Fall Series gets underway on 5 September
  • Nine teams in three groups
  • Eighteen matches in seven weeks

Just a few days after the final of the UEFA Women’s Champions League between Olympique Lyon and VfL Wolfsburg, the world of women’s football now turns its attention to the USA, where the NWSL Fall Series begins on 5 September.

The Fall Series consists of 18 matches played over seven weeks. The nine participating teams are split into three groups to keep travel to a minimum, with every team in each group playing each other.

"I’m excited that we’ve been able to put together a schedule that gets our players back out on the pitch and allows them to demonstrate their immense talent to a global audience while limiting travel as much as possible," said NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird in an interview with FIFA.com. "The health and safety of our players and staff is our top priority. I can hardly wait to see the Fall Series."

The groups at a glance

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

"It’s very difficult to pick a favourite," said Baird. "Houston Dash were a real surprise success story at the NWSL Challenge Cup, so I’m excited to see how they fare. Nobody should underestimate North Carolina Courage, as they have a strong squad. And Orlando with Sydney Leroux weren’t at the Challenge Cup, so it will be interesting to see how they come out. Alex Morgan is also back to training after taking a break to have her baby."

Schedule (Weeks 1 to 3)

Date Match Venue
5. September (13:00 EST) Washington Spirit - Sky Blue FC Segra Field
11. September (19:00 EST) NC Courage - Houston Dash Sahlen’s Stadium
12. September (12:00 EST) Washington Spirit - Chicago Red Stars Segra Field
12. September (15:30 EST) Portland Thorns FC - OL Reign Providence Park
19. September (13:00 EST) NC Courage - Orlando Pride Sahlen’s Stadium
20. September (13:00 EST) Chicago Red Stars - Sky Blue FC SeatGeek Stadium
20. September (15:00 EST) Portland Thorns FC - Utah Royals FC Providence Park

*The remaining fixtures will be announced over the coming week.

Opening match

Washington Spirit - Sky Blue FC | 5 September, 19:00 (CEST)

These two teams met recently during the NWSL Challenge Cup in June/July 2020, with Sky Blue FC eventually winning 4-3 on penalties in the quarter-final.

The stars

Fans across the world will be able to watch several stars from the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ in action, including many of USA’s key players such as Crystal Dunn, Becky Sauerbrunn, Lindsey Horan and Alex Morgan.

Brazil stars Debinha and Marta, Canada’s international goalscoring record-holder Christine Sinclair, New Zealand veteran Abby Erceg, Costa Rican stars Shirley Cruz, Rocky Rodriguez and former Spain captain Vero Boquete will also be involved.

There will also be exciting young players to watch, most notably number one draft pick and FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup™ graduate Sophia Smith.

Sophia Smith of the United States
© Getty Images

Good to know

  • How to watch: fans in the USA can follow the matches via CBS’s platforms, while the games will also be streamed live on the league’s official Twitch channel.
  • Baird: "The latest UWCL final showed that there’s a big market for women’s football around the world. There’s a massive interest in the game. Nevertheless, we still have plenty of work to do in the USA. The NWSL is still fairly young. We’re adding another team in 2021 with Louisville and we want to expand even further. Overall I see a bright future for women’s football in the USA. The potential is huge."
  • Eight teams competed at the NWSL Challenge Cup in Utah just a few weeks ago in a 23-match tournament. Orlando Pride were forced to withdraw from the competition before the start of play after multiple players tested positive for COVID-19. Houston Dash ultimately emerged victorious in the final with a 2-0 win over Chicago Red Stars.
2020 NWSL Challenge Cup - Championship - Houston Dash v Chicago Red Stars
© Getty Images

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