CHICAGO – The National Women’s Soccer League announced Wednesday that its season will be extended to 33 weeks beginning next year, with the regular season schedule to remain at 24 games for the third consecutive season.

The league will kickoff its sevebtg season on the weekend of April 13-14 while taking a 12-day break for the Women’s World Cup’s group stage in France from June 3-14 with games returning the weekend of June 15-16.

Preseason training will open Monday, March 4.

The regular season will culminate the weekend of Oct. 12-13 and be followed by the playoffs, including two semifinal matches Oct. 19-20 and the championship game Saturday, Oct. 26.

“We are excited to extend the season to provide our fans more opportunities to experience the best players in the world,” NWSL managing director Amanda Duffy said. “This move will allow the league’s clubs more Saturday night home games during a season in which women’s soccer and NWSL’s players will be on the world’s biggest stage with the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.”