The National Women’s Soccer League’s 2019 schedule will remain at 24 games, but will be extended to 33 weeks, the league announced Wednesday.
“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 in a statement released by the league. “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.”
Last year, preseason camp began Feb. 19, the regular season began March 24 and ended Sept. 8, with a one-week break at the beginning of April. Semifinals took place the second week of September and the championship was Sept. 22 — a 30-week season.
In 2019, the league’s seventh year of existence, NWSL teams will begin preseason training March 4. The regular season will kick off April 13 and be played over 24 weekends through Oct. 13, excluding a 12-day break from June 3-14 during the group stage of the World Cup in France.
The NWSL playoffs will immediately follow the regular season, with semifinal matches played Oct. 19-20 and the championship Oct. 26.