The Portland Thorns and the National Women's Soccer League announced changes to the format of next season.
With the Women's World Cup taking place in Canada from June 6 to July 5, 2015, the league will take a break during the group stage, which will be played from June 6 to June 17.
Additionally, Merritt Paulson has stated on Twitter that he expects the United States' internationals to miss 8 matches, though that tweet has since been taken down. In the press release, it was also stated that the national teams will release their players for the first 3-4 matches of the season before recalling them.
In addition to shortening the season, the league announced that there will be less weekday matches next season, and the season will run longer, from March until late September.
Portland Thorns/NWSL Press Release below-
National Women's Soccer League announces 2015 schedule format
CHICAGO – The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced today the League will play a 20-game schedule for the 2015 NWSL season. The NWSL will also a take brief two-week break during the group stages of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.
“We are very pleased to announce the new schedule for the upcoming 2015 NWSL season, which will allow us to have a March to September format with more weekend dates,” NWSL Executive Director Cheryl Bailey said. “The 2015 NWSL season will also feature a short break at the start of the Women’s World Cup, which will allow the clubs and fans to fully focus on the excitement of the 2015 FIFA World Cup.”
The Canada Soccer Association, Federation of Mexican Football and United States Soccer Federation have all committed to allocate players for the 2015 NWSL season. While the three federations are planning on hosting extended training camps and events prior to the start of the World Cup, they have agreed to release their players to participate from the start of the 2015 season.
“We are excited to announce that the Canada Soccer Association, Federation of Mexican Football and U.S. Soccer have confirmed that they will allocate the same number of players for the 2015 season,” Bailey added. “We have been able to find a balance with Canada, Mexico and the U.S. that will enable the players to participate in training camps with their National Teams but will also allow them to re-join their clubs for some games prior to the start of the World Cup.”
The National Team players will begin the season with their respective National Teams, but will participate in the first three to four NWSL matches before the start of the Women’s World Cup. In total, National Team players will be expected to miss 7-8 games compared to three games in 2014.
The NWSL preseason training camps will begin in March while the regular season will kick off in early April. Based on the new 2015 schedule format, NWSL clubs will have an average of 5.9 days of rest in between matches. The clubs will also play 16 games on the weekend for an average of 1.3 midweek games in 2015 compared to an average of 7.8 midweek games in 2014.
The 2015 NWSL regular season will then culminate in the middle of September and be followed by the playoffs, including two semifinal matches on the weekend of September 12-13 with the championship match scheduled on the weekend of September 26-27 to avoid potential FIFA dates.
The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) is a nine-team Division-I women’s professional soccer league featuring national team players from Canada, Mexico and the U.S. The nine clubs are the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, Houston Dash, FC Kansas City, Portland Thorns FC, Seattle Reign FC, Sky Blue FC, Washington Spirit and the Western New York Flash.
Based in Chicago, the NWSL is supported by the Canadian Soccer Association, Federation of Mexican Football and the United States Soccer Federation. For more information about the NWSL, log on to the league’s official website at www.NWSLsoccer.com.