The NWSL Challenge Cup is back for year two.
In 2020, the NWSL announced its return from the COVID-19 pandemic with the first-ever Challenge Cup, a single-site tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Houston Dash would go on to win their first trophy as a club, knocking off the Chicago Red Stars 2-0 in the final.
The tournament was originally intended to be a single-year stopgap. However, its record-breaking popularity and success led the league to run it back in 2021.
This year, ten clubs will be competing, with the Orlando Pride back in action after missing last year due to COVID and new team Racing Louisville set to compete in its inaugural season.
The ten teams have been divided into two regional divisions: the East Division (North Carolina Courage, Orlando Pride, Racing Louisville, Sky Blue FC, and Washington Spirit) and the West Division (Chicago Red Stars, Houston Dash, Kansas City, OL Reign, and Portland Thorns).
Each team will play every other team in its division once. Games will be played in home markets, and the teams with the most points in each division at the end of round-robin play will compete in the final on May 8th, 2021.
The early stages of the tournament will be occurring during an international break, making national team players unavailable for the first portion of the tournament.
Defending champions Houston Red Dash kick off the tournament against last season’s runner-ups, the Chicago Red Stars, on April 9th.
Full schedule below. Note that all games will be available for international audiences on Twitch.
Houston Dash vs Chicago Red Stars @ 8:30 PM on CBSSN
Portland Thorns vs Kansas City @ 10:30 PM on Paramount+
NC Courage vs Washington Spirit @ 3:30 PM on Paramount+
Racing Louisville vs Orlando Pride @ 7:00 PM on Paramount+
Orlando Pride vs Sky Blue @ 7:00 PM on CBSSN
Chicago Red Stars vs Portland Thorns @ 7:30 PM on Paramount+
Washington Spirit vs Racing Louisville @ 7:00 PM on Paramount+
OL Reign vs Houston Dash @ 10:00 PM on Paramount+
Sky Blue vs NC Courage @ 6:00 PM on Paramount+
Chicago Red Stars vs Kansas City @ 8:30 PM on Paramount+
Orlando Pride vs Washington Spirit @ 7:00 PM on Paramount+
Portland Thorns vs OL Reign @ 10:00 PM on CBSSN
Racing Louisville vs NC Courage @ 6:00 PM on Paramount+
Kansas City vs Houston Dash @ 8:30 PM on Paramount+
Washington Spirit vs Sky Blue @ 7:00 PM on Paramount+
OL Reign vs Chicago Red Stars @ 10:00 PM on Paramount+
NC Courage vs Orlando Pride @ 7:30 PM on CBSSN
Sky Blue vs Racing Louisville @ 12:30 PM on Paramount+
Kansas City vs OL Reign @ 4:30 PM on Paramount+
Houston Dash vs Portland Thorns @ 7:30 PM on Paramount+
Final @ 1:00 PM on CBS & Paramount+