Something to look forward to – the NWSL are to turn their 2020 season into a five-week-long summer tournament.
It was announced this week the league will transform the normal schedule into a 25-game competition that will run in one central location, Salt Lake City.
Utah Royals will host the event, which has been branded the Utah 2020 Challenge Cup, kicking off on June 27.
The work carried out by the medical experts, the league and the players’ association deserves to be highlighted.
At the forefront of all decision-making has been the health and safety of everyone involved and potentially affected.
Securing full annual salaries and protecting the players in every aspect has been prioritised and it is exciting to be able to move forward with this.
The extensive testing protocols have already begun and will continue on a regular basis, while rules placed on players, club staff and all other tournament staff will be extensive in order to limit any outside exposure that could add health risks.
All nine clubs will arrive into Utah over the coming few weeks, with some teams arriving as early as this weekend due to their own inability to return to club team training in their home states.
New Jersey’s Sky Blue FC, Chicago Red Stars and Seattle’s Reign FC will likely be first to arrive. Other teams are expected to make their way into the heat and altitude of the Salt Lake summer in the coming weeks..
It will be valuable to get used to the facilities that will become their new base before the games commence.
Each team will play four preliminary games before the top eight progress to the knock-out stages. All these games will be played in the state-of-the-art academy facilities, including the 5,000-seater stadium which also hosts the men’s Real Salt Lake reserve team.
The semi-final and final will then be showcased at the men’s and women’s usual home, the Rio Tinto.
While fans will not be permitted, the games will be shown live on TV, with the exclusive CBS broadcast deal a vital boost for the league.
With this being the first professional league to restart across all team sports in the US, it will be a great opportunity to win new fans.
Scotland’s Euro qualifying dates finally confirmed
The Scotland Women’s National Team had their fixtures confirmed for the rest of the year, after the first two international windows of 2020 were postponed in April and June.
Initially it was thought the games we’d missed would be moved to the end of the Euro qualifying campaign that would fall later in 2020 and into early 2021. However, countries have renegotiated the schedule across most of the qualification groups to better fit the timeframes.
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) May 27, 2020
The order of play is often very intentional, with top seeds getting privileges on their preferred dates within the relevant international windows. The reshuffle has been very much welcomed for Scotland, who are the top ranked team in the pot.
With only two games completed in the group so far, the remaining six Scotland games have been fitted into the remainder of this year, from as early as September.
First up will be a trip to Cyprus for the game on September 18, with Portugal coming to Scotland on September 22.
There will be pressure for players to be sharp and at their best, with many league restarts still unconfirmed.
The remaining games will see two double-headers at the end of October and November, with the final group game at home against Finland on December 1.