NWSL, the top women’s soccer division in the United States, unveiled its schedule for 2023. The league’s 11th regular season has 12 teams, the same as last year when Angel City FC and the San Diego Wave joined the league.
Each club plays a balanced schedule with 11 home games and 11 away games. Therefore, each team plays every other team home and away once, just like top leagues in Europe.
The season starts March 25 with the regular season stretching all the way to Sunday, Oct. 15. On the final day of the season, all 12 teams play simultaneously at 5 p.m. ET to get the full effect of the playoff push.
However, just like those top men’s leagues, the 2023 NWSL schedule slows down during the World Cup. Taking place in Australia and New Zealand, the National Women’s Soccer League does not come to a full stop. While the NWSL is generally a weekly schedule, the Women’s World Cup is making the league take every other week off. Essentially, there are only two full matchdays during the Women’s World Cup, but both of those are for NWSL Cup, as we will discuss below.
That leads into one of the major changes for the NWSL schedule in the 2023 season. There are less midweek games this time around. The league says it wants to focus on player health and optimizing fitness and performance for each game.
NWSL Cup sprinkled in during season
In the past, the NWSL season would take a hiatus at some point to play out the NWSL Cup. Three groups of four play in double-round-robin matches for a total of six matches in cup play. This season, the NWSL is spreading those games as early as April 19. Then, the semifinals consisting of three group winners and a runner-up is Sep. 6, with the Final three days later.
The majority of the NWSL Cup games happen during the Women’s World Cup. Therefore, league play is more or less unaffected outside of just a handful of fixtures.
2023 NWSL season schedule has a number of great fixtures
The Cascadia Derby has four confirmed fixtures in the 2023 season. Two of those are in NWSL play, and two are in the NWSL Cup. The Portland Thorns and OL Reign have one of the storied rivalries in the young history of the NWSL. Portland has three NWSL crowns, while OL Reign has three NWSL Shields as the regular season winners.
Then, Angel City and San Diego Wave, which both joined the league a season ago, look to build on their record-setting rivalry. Last season, 32,000 were in attendance to watch these two in their debut seasons. The first game between the two southern California sides is on Sunday, April 23.
NWSL coverage this season
CBS is continuing its coverage of the National Women’s Soccer League for the 2023 season. Games appear on the CBS TV channel, CBS Sports Network and Paramount+. Further information regarding TV coverage of NWSL comes about closer to the beginning of the campaign.
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