The National Women's Soccer League Championship will be relocated to Louisville. The move was prompted after a request from the players, after the championship was originally scheduled for Providence Park in Portland, Oregon. The league and players announced the move in a joint statement saying, "We hope that our fans will understand that this move is made with the support of the NWSL, the Players Association, the Portland Thorns, and Racing Louisville. Portland understood the importance of listening to the players, and Louisville stepped up to host."
Portland Thorns also released a statement saying that the team supported the move. Racing Louisville tweeted their excitement over the decision.
In order for the match to air in its 12 p.m. ET on CBS the original kick-off time for players at the west coast location was 9 a.m. PT on November 20. The early morning start time was largely met with criticism when announced back in September, with players worried about the impact that the morning start time would have on game day preparation. Additional complaints were lodged around the issue of playing on turf, as well as Providence Park having previously hosted championship finals in years past.
A change to Louisville means more favorable start time for players with a noon ET kick off at Lynn Family Stadium. It also means the final would be played in a soccer specific stadium that seats 15,000 with a grass surface, and training facilities near by. Home to new NWSL expansion franchise Racing Louisville FC, it will be the first time the stadium will host the NWSL championship.
The NWSL regular season concludes on October 31, and the playoffs will include six teams for the first time in league history. The top two teams will earn first round byes and advance straight to the semifinals. The quarter finals begin the weekend of November 6-7, with semifinals taking place on November 13-14, concluding with the championship final on November 20.