(CBSNewYork/CBS Local)- The National Women’s Soccer League will likely be the first major professional sports league to return to play on U.S. soil when it kicks off the 25-game Challenge Cup tournament June 27 on CBS.
The league announced its plan for return last week when it unveiled the Challenge Cup format with the league’s nine teams heading to Utah to play out the 25-game tournament there. Players Association Vice President and defender for Utah Royals FC Rachel Corsie says she’s pumped to have a plan in place for the league’s return.
“I think it’s extremely exciting. A lot of the news recently hasn’t had much of a positive spin. I think this is certainly something that we’re clinging to as motivation and encouragement,” said Corsie in an interview with CBS New York’s Steve Overmyer. “I think the big focus throughout all of this has been the player’s safety and the well-being of everybody involved. I think that it’s a really powerful message that we’ve made a plan with everyone involved. There’s been a lot of input from everybody really that is involved in this.”
Corsie went on to say that she was happy to see the league and clubs work with the players in order to come up with a scenario that would allow for play this summer.
“We’re in a fortunate position, that the league worked extremely hard with all of the clubs and the clubs found something that they felt there were able to progress with,” said Corsie. “There has been a huge number of conversations happening over the past few weeks to make sure that every possibility and scenario is being considered. It’s great that there’s been something that has been formally put on the table and we’re able to look forward to.”
As part of the plan, no fans will be allowed to attend the games, and the league has an extensive protocol in place in the eventuality that one of the players or staff involved comes down with COVID-19.
“The medical task force and the league have worked really hard to lay out all of the possibilities,” said Corsie. “There’s really extensive protocol. That’s on the website and that has been explained to all of the clubs. It’s been explained to all of the players. There has been a huge amount of investment and time put in to making sure the players are prioritized and making sure everyone who is participating feels really comfortable and safe.”
The tournament’s opener and the championship game will air live on CBS while all 25 games will also stream on the CBS All Access platform.