Chicago Red Stars Julie Ertz (8) consoles teammate Casey Short (6) after taking a knee together during the national anthem prior to their game at Zions Bank Stadium Saturday. (Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports)

CHICAGO – The National Women’s Soccer League announced Monday that it will revise its pre-game ceremonies during the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup, giving the players the option to be on the field when the national anthem is played.

Playes can be on the field or in their locker room.

This decision was made after conversations with players, as well as club officials and other stakeholders.

“We began this tournament with several important goals,” NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird said. “Develop a safe environment for the continuation of sport. Create an innovative competition to showcase the vitality of women’s soccer. Collaborate with our players association and develop a genuine partnership. Raise revenue to fund player compensation. And support and empower players to use their platform to make the world a better place.

“And so, we’re going to continue to play the national anthem, but with even more flexibility, and support each player’s right to express their individual views, or not.

“The NWSL stands behind every player, official and staff member. Kneel on the field. Stand with your hand over your heart. Honor your feelings in the privacy of the locker room or at midfield.

“The NWSL is a league that was built on diversity and courage and those principles will continue to drive us forward.”