The National Women's Soccer League is set to kick off their 2020 Fall Series on Saturday with Washington Spirit taking on Sky Blue FC in the opener. The competition, which pits nine clubs in three separate regional "pods," will last through Oct. 17. All nine NWSL clubs will be playing for the Verizon Community Shield, a new prize announced on Friday by the league which is aimed to help small business or organizations in local markets.
Not to be confused with Community Shield matches played in England where the cup winner plays the league winner in the preseason, this prize will be presented to the team with the most points at the conclusion of the Fall Series. Each club will partner with small businesses or programs in their community during the Fall Series, and the following prizes will be awarded:
- Points leader will present a grant of $25,000 to their chosen community partner
- Second-placed team: $15,000 grant
- Third-placed team: $10,000 grant
"The Verizon Community Shield is an opportunity for our league to showcase small businesses and organizations in the communities that our clubs live, play and work," NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird said in a statement. "As we fight this pandemic and confront the sad reality of systemic racism in our country, we want to use the Fall Series to play for a purpose. The Verizon Community Shield provides our players and clubs that opportunity and I want to thank Verizon for stepping up and helping us make this happen."
The Fall Series will featured seven NWSL Game of the Week matchups on either CBS or CBS Sports Network, including the next five Saturdays. Fall Series matches will air on CBS, CBS Sports Network, CBS All Access and Twitch..