CHICAGO – In an effort to ensure player and fan safety, the National Women’s Soccer League announced Monday new kickoff times for 23 games throughout the remainder of the season.
The new schedule reduces the number of games during times of the day where potential environmental conditions such as high temperatures, humidity and solar radiation would be more prevalent throughout the summer months in the United States.
Included in the changes are two Sky Blue FC road matches. Kickoff for its Saturday, July 1 game against the North Carolina Courage has been changed to 3:50 p.m. ET at Sahlen’s Stadium. A Saturday, Aug/ 12, meeting with the Orlando Pride is now slated for 7:30 p.m. ET at Orlando City Stadium.
“The safety of everyone involved with the execution of NWSL matches, including players, referees and fans, is paramount,” NWSL managing director of operations Amanda Duffy said in a statement. “These are important measures that will help to ensure the safest environment possible at all league matches, and we will continue to evaluate steps that can be taken in the future.”
The NWSL also is implementing increased measures for hydrations breaks and new guidelines for extreme heat, including procedures for match delays, effective immediately.
After implementation on June 3, the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime will now be listed at 3:30 p.m. ET on the schedule with kickoff set for 3:50 p.m. ET to accommodate for hydration breaks. The league also has released the other 4 p.m. ET games, providing teams not part of the game of the week more flexibility to reschedule games into the late afternoon and evenings.