CHICAGO – The National Women’s Soccer League Saturday announced the preliminary competition framework for its 10th season, which will feature a 132-game schedule and the third annual NWSL Challenge Cup.

Group play for the Challenge Cup will kick off on Saturday, March 19, with the regular season following the competition.

“We’re excited to get this momentous season underway,” managing director of competition and player affairs Liz Dalton said in a statement. “The 10th anniversary season is a testament to the league’s incredible athletes past and present, the sustained support of our fans, and the vision and investment of our partners and owners. We look forward to further establishing the NWSL as the best women’s soccer league in the world.”

Players are set to report to a six-week preseason camp beginning on Feb. 1, before kicking off the season on Saturday, March 19, with Challenge Cup group play. The competition will feature three groups of four teams, playing double round-robin matches, semifinals and the NWSL Challenge Cup final on Saturday, May 7. The final will be broadcast on the CBS Television Network and available to stream live on Paramount+.

The season will continue with each of the 12 teams then playing home and away matches against every other team in the league for the first balanced schedule in league history. The league has been able to build a schedule framework that will limit the number of games that occur during FIFA windows, ensuring the league’s most accomplished players are able to compete for club and country with relatively few conflicts. compared to recent years.

Each team will play 28 matches, 14 contests in home markets and 14 on the road. The full league schedule will be released at a later date.

Six teams will qualify for the NWSL playoffs, set to begin in October, with the top two seeds receiving a first-round bye.

The 2022 campaign will end with the NWSL Championship the weekend of Oct. 28-30.