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Sources: NWSL to scrap Challenge Cup in 2024, replace it with one-off game to start season

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The National Women’s Soccer League will not stage the Challenge Cup as a tournament in 2024, multiple sources confirmed to The Equalizer, bringing an end to the league’s attempt over the past few years to create a yearlong tournament in addition to its regular season.

Instead, the league will stage a one-off game in March 2024 that is expected to be contested between this year’s NWSL Shield winner and NWSL Championship winner, multiple sources said. The match is expected to open the new competition year, with the regular season starting in the days following. The concept is like the one executed in countries across the globe, whereby the previous season’s league winners face off with the domestic cup winners.

The Challenge Cup began in 2020 as an emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic that canceled the regular season before it began. That June and July, the NWSL staged an eight-team tournament in isolation in Utah to provide players with competition and fulfill sponsorship obligations. The league touted itself as the first team sports league to return after the pandemic shut down the world in March 2020.

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