2024 NWSL season key dates: Regular season, Olympics, playoffs, more

NJ/NY Gotham will be looking to defend its title.


Sophia Smith (left), Alex Morgan (middle), Racheal Kundananji (right)

The National Women's Soccer League is back.

Fresh after NJ/NY Gotham FC beat OL Reign 2-1 in last November's final, the 2024 campaign is expected to go bigger -- literally.

Two new expansion teams will make their respective debuts to form a 14-club league.

With the league title, regular-season shield and Challenge Cup on the line, here's everything to know for the 2024 NWSL season:

When does the 2024 NWSL season start?

The 2024 NWSL regular season begins on Saturday, March 16. However, the first game is actually before that.

When is the 2024 NWSL Challenge Cup Final?

Unlike in previous seasons, the 2024 Challenge Cup will be a one-off final between the playoff-title winners and the regular-season shield holders.

NJ/NY Gotham, the title winners, will face the San Diego Wave, the shield holders, on Friday, March 15, at 8 p.m. ET at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey.

When are the 2024 NWSL playoffs?

The regular season will end on Sunday, Nov. 3. The playoffs, which is a single-elimination format, will then run through Saturday, Nov. 9, through Saturday, Nov. 23.

Will the NWSL pause during the 2024 Olympics?

Yes, the NWSL will pause its season for more than a month from Monday, July 8, through Sunday, Aug. 18, due to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

When is the NWSL, Liga MX Femenil Summer Cup?

The first ever Summer Cup involving teams from NWSL and Liga MX Femenil will begin on Friday, July 19. The championship match will transpire on the weekend of October 25-27.

What are the NWSL teams in 2024?

For the first time, there are 14 teams in the NWSL. Here's a breakdown of the teams and where they're from if it's not in the name:

  • Angel City FC: Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Bay FC: San Jose, Calif. (expansion team)
  • Chicago Red Stars
  • Houston Dash
  • Kansas City Current
  • NJ/NY Gotham FC
  • North Carolina Courage: Cary, N.C.
  • Orlando Pride
  • Portland Thorns FC
  • Racing Louisville FC
  • San Diego Wave FC
  • Seattle Reign FC
  • Utah Royals: Sandy, Utah (expansion team)
  • Washington Spirit: (Washington, D.C.)

Who are the best players in NWSL?

Keep an eye on these NWSL players for 2024, ranging from USWNT figures to other international stars:

  • Alex Morgan, San Diego Wave: A veteran left-footed center-forward who can score at a high rate and offer supreme link-up play.
  • Debinha, Kansas City Current: Veteran Brazilian forward who can play as a No. 10 and delivers magical creativity.
  • Sophia Smith, Portland Thorns: Young forward who can play on the flanks and down the middle with speed and improving finishing.
  • Racheal Kundananji, Bay FC: Young Zambian forward with tremendous speed and arrived on a world-record fee for a women's player.
  • Alyssa Naeher, Chicago Red Stars: Traditional shot-stopping goalie who has an affinity for the jaw-dropping saves.
  • Rose Lavelle, NJ/NY Gotham: Silky left-footed midfielder with a low center of gravity and a master of weighing passes.
  • Amandine Henry, Angel City: Veteran French defensive midfielder who loves to stick a foot in and win duels while progressing the ball.
  • Barbra Banda, Orlando Pride: Young Zambian forward who is Africa's top scorer at the Olympics and just arrived as the second-highest fee in women's soccer.
Get to know the USWNT's Sophia Smith on the My New Favorite Futbolista podcast.
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