The W-League released its divisional alignment and schedule for 2013 this week, with the action slated to kick off for the 145-game regular season this May. The Washington Spirit Reserves begin their campaign under the national spotlight by hosting the New York Magic in the 2013 season opener on Saturday, May 11th at the Maryland Soccerplex. Match time is slated for 4:00PM.
The Bay Area Breeze join the 25-team league in 2013, further strengthening the highly competitive Western Conference.
“The 2013 W-League season will produce a tremendous amount of excitement for players and fans alike,” said Amanda Duffy, senior director of the W-League. “Top collegiate, amateur and professional players will compete in the W-League while aspiring to reach the top level of women’s soccer in North America. The competition will continue to be enhanced by additional regional rivalries as the fight for post-season spots intensifies.”
The W-League remains divided into three geographic conferences – Eastern, Central and Western – with the Eastern Conference featuring two divisions, the seven-team Northeast and the five-team Southeast. The Central Conference features six teams, while the Western Conference has seven. W-League clubs will play 10- or 12-game schedules in 2013, with teams facing each opponent in their division home and away. Teams in the Central Conference and Southeast Division will play additional games vs. geographic rivals to complete their schedules.
Opening day also features a divisional match as the Virginia Beach Piranhas play host to the Fredericksburg Impact. The opening weekend continues with an important Southeast Division matchup as the Carolina Elite Cobras play host to the Atlanta Silverbacks. The 2012 W-League champions, the Ottawa Fury, begin their title defense on Saturday, May 25 when they travel to face the Quebec City Amiral.
The final weekend of the regular season is set for July 12-14, with 21 of the 25 teams in action as the race for postseason spots winds down.
The 19th W-League season will see 10 teams advance to the postseason with one champion advancing from each conference to the 2013 W-League Championship presented by Nike. The three conference champions will meet July 26-28 in a ‘final four’ format championship, which will also include a yet-to-be-determined host team. The semifinals will be played on Friday, July 26 with the winners meeting for the 2013 W-League Championship on Sunday, July 28.
The W-League is recognized throughout the world for providing superior competition for female players, while offering affordable family entertainment for fans across North America. The caliber of W-League talent continues to grow, with 22 of the 29 players recently called into the U.S. Women’s National Team camp boasting W-League experience.