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NWSL reportedly considering one-month tournament in Utah

Tournament could start as early as July 1.

Salt Lake City Utah Skyline Panoram Photo by: Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Update, 3:45 PM: Per Steven Goff, league owners have approved the proposal, which would involve an initial round with three groups of three, with eight of nine teams advancing to a knockout round.

Original story, 10:30 AM: Reports from Steven Goff at the Washington Post indicate that the NWSL is considering a return to play similar to the one MLS is proposing. For the NWSL, this would reportedly mean a month-long tournament in Utah, making use of the Real Salt Lake/Utah Royals FC facilities and RSL Academy dorms. It is unlikely that fans would be allowed in attendance, but matches would be broadcast on TV and streamed.

All nine teams are expected to participate if the plan is adopted, but it remains to be seen whether all owners are on board. Neither the league nor any teams have provided comment on the report at this time.

Chicago Red Stars head coach Rory Dames similarly mentioned a tournament as a potential option to kick-start the 2020 NWSL season, although he was careful to state it was just a rumor and did not mention any specific venues or cities. Dames went on to say that he has told his players to prepare for matches to start as early as July 1.

Some NWSL teams have started voluntary, individual training using team facilities, following a phased Return To Play protocol developed by the league’s medical task force in compliance with federal, state and local guidelines for COVID-19. The league’s team training moratorium remains in place through at least May 24.

Teams in several markets, including OL Reign, Chicago and Sky Blue FC, remain under more stringent restrictions due to coronavirus and have not yet started Phase 1 of the protocol. According to Goff’s reporting, these teams could report to Utah earlier in order to commence training.

We have reached out to OL Reign for comment on these reports and will update if we receive any response.

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