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Breaking down the NWSL vs. UEFA Champions League debate

If you think the narratives are simple, think again

(Photo Credit Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

Three days after the 2023 National Women’s Soccer League season came to an end, the 2023-24 UEFA Women’s Champions League group stage got underway. Around the same time, Esther Gonzalez—Gotham FC’s winning goal-scorer in the NWSL Championship match, and formerly of Real Madrid—compared the two competitions.

“One of the biggest differences with the Spanish League, which is a great league, is that here [in the NWSL] every match…is like a Champions League match,” Esther told Spanish paper Diario AS. “In Spain, there are some games where you can win four or five to zero…here every game is like playing against [Barcelona], the best team in the Spanish League: Your level has to be the maximum, your physical demand is the maximum, and that happens weekend after weekend.”

Esther’s comments re-opened an old debate. But in truth, her comments weren’t particularly controversial.

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