CHICAGO – The National Women’s Soccer League Wednesday announced the Medical Task Force has approved play in home markets for the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup.

The competition is set to begin on April 9.

The NWSL has also released updated medical protocols and key dates for the new and expanded 2021 competition framework.

Players will report to training camp Feb. 1. Following the Challenge Cup, the NWSL’s 10 teams will face off in a 24-game regular season beginning May 15. The league will not break for the 2021 Olympic Games and the regular season will conclude Oct. 30. Full details on the Challenge Cup format and the complete regular season schedule will be released at a later date.

Six teams will qualify for an expanded NWSL playoffs, set to begin Nov. 6, with the top two seeds receiving a first-round bye. The league’s ninth season will conclude with the NWSL Championship Nov. 20.

The league will close out 2021 with an expansion draft Dec. 16, featuring Angel City FC and Sacramento.