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NWSL Announces Revisions To Pregame Ceremonies During Challenge Cup

Chicago Red Stars anthem during a game between Washington Spirit and Chicago Red Stars at Zions Bank Stadium on June 27, 2020 in Herriman, Utah. (Photo by Bryan Byerly/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced that they will revise its pregame ceremonies during the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup held in Herriman, Utah.

The revisions will provide additional flexibility for players to participate as they see fit. The national anthem will be played and players will have the option of being on the field or in their locker room.

The league made the decision after conversations with players from around the league along with club officials and other stake holders.

NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird released the following statement on Monday.

“We began this tournament with several important goals. Develop a safe environment for the continuation of sport. Create an innovative competition to showcase the vitality of women’s soccer. Collaborate with our players association and develop a genuine partnership. Raise revenue to fund player compensation. And support and empower players to use their platform to make the world a better place.

And so, we’re going to continue to play the national anthem, but with even more flexibility, and support each player’s right to express their individual views, or not.The NWSL stands behind every player, official and staff member,” Baird continued. “Kneel on the field. Stand with your hand over your heart. Honor your feelings in the privacy of the locker room or at midfield. The NWSL is a league that was built on diversity and courage and those principles will continue to drive us forward.”

The Challenge Cup began on Saturday with two matches as the North Carolina Courage beat Portland Thorns FC 2-1 in the opening match followed by a 2-1 win by the Washington Spirit over the Chicago Red Stars.

Utah Royals FC will play the Houston Dash in their tournament opener on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. MT. The match will be broadcast on CBS All Access.

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