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NWSL announces schedule details for 2023 season

Crystal Dunn and the Portland Thorns won the NWSL title in 2022. (Craig Mitchelldyer/USA TODAY Sports)

The 2023 NWSL season will kick off in March and will run through the championship in November, the league announced Thursday.

The 11th season will start on Saturday, March 25, more than a month earlier than in 2022, and will run through the championship match on Saturday, Nov. 11, two weeks later than in 2022.

With the 2023 World Cup scheduled to run from July 20 through Aug. 20 in Australia and New Zealand, the NWSL will limit the number of regular season games during that month “to ensure the league’s top players are able to compete for both club and country with minimal conflicts,” per the news release.

Each of the league’s 12 teams will play 22 games in the regular season, the same number as they played in 2022, for a total of 132 games. The league will eliminate midweek matches to prevent packed schedules and improve safety for players.

The full schedule and broadcast details will be announced at a later date.

“We look forward to building off last season’s momentum with another exciting season in 2023,” NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman said in the news release. “I’m confident next year will provide an experience worthy of the world’s premier professional women’s soccer league.”

The NWSL will also host the Challenge Cup for the fourth consecutive season, but for the first time the tournament will run during the regular season.

The tournament began in 2020 in replacement of the regular season, which was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021 and 2022, it took place in the preseason.

But in 2023, the Challenge Cup will take place across six weeks scattered throughout the regular season from April to September, culminating in the semifinals on Wednesday, Sept. 6, and the final on Saturday, Sept. 9.

The preseason will kick off between Jan. 23 and Feb. 6.

The postseason will start with the quarterfinal round on Oct. 22, followed by the semifinal round on Nov. 4 and the championship on Nov. 11.