At last, put a sport back on the calendar.
OL Reign, the National Women’s Soccer League team based in Tacoma, will return to action June 30 in the Challenge Cup in Herriman, Utah.
The preliminary round of the tournament was announced Monday after a random draw. OL Reign secured the eighth position, establishing the club’s schedule for the first phase of the competition.
Spectators will not be in attendance.
The Reign will begin against Sky Blue FC (New Jersey) on June 30, before facing the Washington Spirit on July 4, the Utah Royals on July 8 and then rivals Portland Thorns FC on July 12.
The top eight teams will advance to the quarterfinals, beginning the knockout phase of the 25-game competition.
The final will be played at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah on July 26.
Broadcast times on CBS (for some games) and match starting times will be announced later.
The tournament opens June 27 with Portland playing the defending champion North Carolina Courage.
The NWSL is scheduled to be the first U.S. pro team league returning to play amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“You knew it was going to happen,” said Thorns coach Mark Parsons, referring to the team’s opening game. “There’s so many story lines for Thorns playing a lot of teams in this league, so it’s a high probability it’s gonna be a fun story line.”
The players will be sequestered in facilities used by the NWSL’s Royals and Major League Soccer club Real Salt Lake, including a stadium and several training fields. The league’s 230 players and support staff will be housed either in dormitories or at a hotel.
The players and staff will be subject to a rigorous testing and safety protocols.
The NWSL players’ association secured salary and insurance guarantees for all league players for the season during the negotiations over the tournament. U.S. Soccer and the U.S. women’s national team players’ association were also involved in discussions.
All players have been given the opportunity to opt out of the tournament without losing pay if they have concerns about the coronavirus. Rosters are not due until June 21.
Reign sign Jordan
OL Reign has signed defender Adrienne Jordan for the 2020 season.
Jordan joins from English Women’s Super League side Birmingham City, where her season with the club was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jordan has returned to the United States and completed the NWSL’s mandatory COVID-19 testing and seven-day quarantine period. Jordan met up with OL Reign at its training camp in Missoula, Montana on Sunday and was available to participate in Monday’s training session.
“We are excited to add Adrienne to the squad. We have been monitoring her play in the WSL and believe this was perfect time for her to make a move to our club,” said OL Reign CEO Bill Predmore.
The Colorado Springs native was drafted by the Chicago Red Stars in 2016.
Jordan joined Birmingham City ahead of the 2019-20 WSL season. She started and played the full 90 minutes in all 13 of the club’s league matches.
Jordan is the third player signed by OL Reign since the suspension of the NWSL preseason on March 13. OL Reign announced the signing of Costa Rican international midfielder Shirley Cruz on March 17 and Japanese international forward Yuka Momiki on May 22.