2016 NWSL Schedule: Conflicts and Benefits

The 2016 NWSL Schedule has been announced

In the midst of the CONCACAF Olympics Qualifying tournament, the National Women’s Soccer League announced their 2016 schedule. If you were thinking the NWSL schedule should be balanced now with the addition of the 10th team earlier this year, you would be wrong.

The regular season for the teams will begin April 16 and end September 25. There has been no talk of a playoff schedule yet, but the league has done well in announcing that there will be no games between August 1 and August 25 as they take a break for international game play during the Rio Olympic Games.

No games will be played for a 25-day-span as the league tries to prevent interfering with FIFA dates, however the last two weeks in July you won’t see National Team call-ups on the pitch for your favorite teams since training starts 14 days before the first women’s soccer game in the Olympics (August 3). Since the final game ends August 19, there also is a good chance that some of the call-ups won’t be promptly returning to their NWSL teams.

One great thing about this season’s schedule for NWSL fans is the fact that weekday games have been limited. This benefits those of you who have regular weekday jobs that don’t typically allow you to catch a Wednesday night game. Most of the games will be played on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Now, you don’t have an excuse to miss these amazing athletes compete!

BREAKING DOWN THE SCHEDULE: Each team will face eight of the other teams twice in regular home and away style, but they will face their ninth opponent (which will be the teams’ regional rival) four times during the regular season with two games at home and two away. This regional paring essentially creates two extra games to allow each team to have 10 home games, but creates an imbalance in the schedule.

The regional pairings will be-

Boston vs. Western NY
Chicago vs. Kansas City
Orlando vs. Houston
Portland vs. Seattle
Sky Blue vs. Washington

Last season, FC Kansas City made history in becoming the first NWSL team to win back-to-back championships after a 1-0 win over Seattle. Despite the imbalance and Olympic call-ups, there are plenty of fan advantages and the matches will be great to watch.