The National Women’s Soccer League Thursday announced the competition framework for its 11th season, featuring a 176-game schedule, including the fourth installment of the newly reformatted NWSL Challenge Cup.

“Reaching our historic 10th season of play was a landmark moment for women’s professional soccer and the greater women’s sports community,” NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman said in a statement. “The growth of the NWSL is a testament to the league’s incredible athletes as well as the steadfast support of its fans, owners and stakeholders, and we look forward to building off last season’s momentum with another exciting season in 2023. I’m confident next year will provide an experience worthy of the world’s premier professional women’s soccer league.”

The CBA and NWSL rules allow teams flexibility to hold a 6-8 week preseason camp opening as early as Jan. 23 but no later than Feb. 6 ahead of the 2023 regular season kickoff on Saturday, March 25, followed by the commencement of the Challenge Cup in April.

For the first time since its inception in 2020, the Challenge Cup will run concurrently with the regular season. Consisting of a six-week tournament from April to September, the competition will feature three groups of four teams playing double round-robin matches for a total of six contests. Following group play, four teams will square off in semifinal matches on Wednesday, Sept. 6 ahead of the cup final on Saturday, Sept. 9. The cup also will be the first women’s professional soccer tournament to achieve pay equity with its U.S. peers in the men’s game.

Comprised of a 22-game schedule for each team, the 132-game regular season will be played over 22 weeks, eliminating mid-week matches to minimize schedule congestion for player safety and optimal performance. The schedule has been formatted to limit the number of regular season games staged during the 2023 Women’s World Cup to ensure the league’s top players are able to compete for both club and country with minimal conflicts.

Each team will play 28 matches between the regular season and the Challenge Cup, 14 games at home and 14 games on the road.

The full league schedule and broadcast details will be released at a later date.

Six teams will qualify for the NWSL playoffs set to begin in late October with the top two seeds receiving a first-round bye. The quarterfinal round will be played on Oct. 22, followed by the semifinal round, set for Nov. 4.

The season will conclude with the NWSL Championship on Nov. 11.