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Why the NWSL playoffs are taking a break before the semifinals

Jaedyn Shaw and Alex Morgan are leading the San Diego Wave into the NWSL postseason. (Ray Acevedo/USA TODAY Sports)

The NWSL playoffs are upon us, with the first round of games set to be played this weekend.

After that, the league will take a one-week break before the semifinals. That comes as a result of FIFA’s October international window, which falls in the middle of the NWSL postseason.

International match calendars are announced ahead of time. In the case of women’s soccer, the next two years already have been announced – or through 2025. On the men’s side, the international match calendar is set all the way through 2030.

For women’s competitions, the match calendars for 2024 through 2025 were approved in March, and the full international match calendar for the next three years was announced in April.

The October international break isn’t a new snag for the NWSL schedule. Last year’s NWSL playoffs dealt with a similar issue, and there were questions about whether or not players would be released to their national teams.

A number of playoff teams have international stars that will compete for their national teams in the final week of October, including the San Diego Wave and the Portland Thorns – who both will play after the international break, as they have byes into the semifinal round on Nov. 5.