The National Women’s Soccer League is taking steps to increase player and fan safety, most notably during the warm, summer months.
According to the league, the new schedule reduces the number of games during times of the day where potential environmental conditions such as high temperatures, humidity and solar radiation would be more prevalent throughout the summer months in the United States.
The schedule changes impact two Sky Blue FC road matches. Kickoff for its Saturday, July 1, game against the North Carolina Courage is now set for 3:50 p.m. Eastern time at Sahlen’s Stadium. Additionally, a Saturday, August 12, meeting with the Orlando Pride is now slated for 7:30 p.m. Eastern time at Orlando City Stadium. League-wide, kickoff times for 23 matches have been changed.
“The safety of everyone involved with the execution of NWSL matches, including players, referees and fans, is paramount,” said Amanda Duffy, NWSL Managing Director of Operations. “These are important measures that will help to ensure the safest environment possible at all league matches, and we will continue to evaluate steps that can be taken in the future.”
The NWSL is also implementing increased measures for Hydrations Breaks and new guidelines for Extreme Heat, including procedures for match delays, effective immediately. Click here to view the complete guidelines.
After a successful implementation on June 3, the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime will now be listed at 3:30 p.m. Eastern time on the schedule with kickoff slated for 3:50 p.m. Eastern time to accommodate for Hydration Breaks. In addition, the NWSL has released the other 4 p.m. Eastern time games, providing teams not part of the Game of the Week more flexibility to reschedule games into the late afternoon and evenings.
The changes announced by the NWSL follow the incident involving current Houston Dash and former St. John’s University star Rachel Daly, who passed out at the end of the match between Houston and Seattle Reign. Daly, who has fully recovered, was taken to a local Houston hospital and treated for dehydration. The game-time temperature was 92 degrees with the heat index reaching above 100 degrees.