The National Women’s Soccer League, or simply NWSL, revealed all the schedule details for the 2023 season. The 176-game schedule is the 11th in the league’s young history.

Last season’s champions, the Portland Thorns, had Sophia Smith guide them to the side’s third title. That figure is the highest among the teams competing in the league. Portland, as well as the other 11 teams, can begin their training regiments as a team as early as January 23.

Then, the season cordially begins on Saturday, March 25.

NWSL Challenge Cup changes

Something to note this year is that the NWSL Challenge Cup, a domestic cup competition involving each of the NWSL teams, runs simultaneously with the regular season. In the past, the Challenge Cup had a devoted two-month period. Now, it stretches from April to September in a ‘six-week tournament.’

The 12 NWSL teams go into three groups of four teams, with each side getting a home and away fixture against the other three teams. This is similar to the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.

At the end of the round robin, four teams square off in the semifinal before the Challenge Cup Final on Wednesday, Sep. 6. The 2023 Challenge Cup is the first-ever women’s professional soccer tournament to achieve pay equity with the counterparts in men’s American soccer.

NWSL 2023 regular season schedule details

The regular season outside of the Challenge Cup is relatively unchanged. Each team has at least six guaranteed games in the Challenge Cup. Then, each team as 22 regular season games in league play.

All NWSL teams have 11 home regular season games. Then, each side travels to play every other team in the NWSL once in the regular season. If certain sides are paired up in the group stage of the Challenge Cup, they will make multiple trips to each opponent’s stadium over the course of the season.

Also, the playoff structure remains unchanged. Six teams qualify for the playoffs, with the top two teams earning a first-round bye to the semifinals.

Further information regarding broadcasting and schedule dates are coming in the next few weeks and months.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Icon Sportswire