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Challenge Cup Rules Breakdown

If you’re looking for an outline of each rule set in place for the tournament here are the links to The NWSL Press Release, Tournament Rules, and Roster Rules. This article is simply a quick guide as to what you can expect in your typical 2020 Challenge Cup match and other rules and announcements of note.


Rules and Regulations

  • Each team will be allowed 5 substitutions per match

  • All knockout round matches that are level at 90’ will proceed to penalty kicks. No extra time is to be played in the 2020 Challenge Cup

  • After the Preliminary Round the remaining 8 teams will be assessed and then re-seeded into a bracket to determine the Quarterfinal matchups. If teams have the same number of points at the time of seeding their positions will be determined through:

  • the result of head-to-head play if the teams had met in the preliminary round

  • then goal differential will be taken into account

  • if the teams are still even then the total number of goals scored will be looked at

  • team conduct scores based on the number and type of cards handed out during preliminary rounds will be assessed

  • if teams are still even through each four categories then the NWSL will draw lots to determine seeds

  • Rosters are 22-28 players. Players do not have to be present at the beginning of the tournament to be eligible to play for their team in a later round so long as their name appears on the roster.

  • Each team will be designated the “home team” twice in the preliminary round matches. In later rounds the higher seed will be the “home team”

  • Single yellow cards will be reset after the quarterfinals have concluded


Awards will be handed out both after each game and at the end of the tournament. Matchday awards are to be presented on social media following each match. The Budweiser Woman of the Match will do an interview on the NWSL’s Twitch channel immediately following the game. There will also be a No Sweat Play of the Match (Secret deodorant) and Save of the Match (Verizon). At the conclusion of the tournament the following awards will be handed out: Tournament MVP (Budweiser), Golden Boot, Golden Glove (Verizon), NWSL Future Legend, and a Best XI.



Fans- While no fans will be allowed to attend the tournament the NWSL and tournament sponsor Secret deodorant will be hosting “Virtual Watch Parties” for each game. Each club will have their own virtual cheering sections via Google Meet.


by Katie Clark


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