all scores

Jessica Berman: 2023 NWSL schedule ‘took too long’

NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman speaks during Thursday's draft at Pennsylvania Convention Center. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman acknowledged that the release of the 2023 schedule “took too long.”

The season will kick off March 25. The match schedule will be released Wednesday, 45 days before the start of the season, the league announced Monday.

“Grateful that this day is finally upon us…there are not enough words permitted on Twitter to explain ‘the why’ but it doesn’t much matter — fact is, it took too long,” Berman wrote in a Twitter post. “Thank you for your passion and for holding us accountable. We will do better.”

U.S. women’s national team stars Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan had raised their voices alongside fans in questioning the wait for the schedule.

At the NWSL draft in January, Berman had promised the schedule would come “sooner than last year.” But while the schedule came earlier in the year, it arrived almost the same number of days ahead of the opening matches.

The NWSL’s 11th season will start more than a month earlier than its 10th season in 2022, which kicked off on April 29. The 2022 schedule was released on March 16 of last year, 44 days before the season-opening matches.

The season will run through the championship match on Saturday, Nov. 11, two weeks later than in 2022.

Why the longer season? Thank the 2023 World Cup, which will 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,” the league said in November.

The NWSL also will host its Challenge Cup tournament during the regular season for the first time. In 2021 and 2022, the tournament took place in the preseason.

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.