The Houston Dash will host the opening match of the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup presented by Secret, the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced this morning. The Dash will host the Chicago Red Stars at BBVA Stadium on Friday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m. CST in a rematch of the 2020 Challenge Cup Final.
Tickets for the Challenge Cup opener along with the Dash’s second home match in the tournament will go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. CST, with prices starting as low as $10. Houston Dash 365 and Houston Dynamo FC 365 season ticket members will have an exclusive pre-sale opportunity beginning Thursday at 10 a.m. To learn more about becoming a Houston Dash 365 member please visit https://www.houstondynamofc.com/houstondash/365.
In honor of Women’s History Month, the Dash are also encouraging fans to join in the Choose to Challenge ticket donation campaign and provide young women with the opportunity to attend a Dash game in the Challenge Cup. Fans can visit HoustonDynamoFC.com/DonateTickets to contribute, with packages starting at $200 for 25 tickets and individual ticket donations at $10 each.
Each tax-deductible donation will send a girl – or several – to a match and provide each young lady access to a virtual Q&A with a Dash player ahead of matchday. The Club will donate tickets to Houston-area youth organizations, including Girls, Inc., the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Houston ISD and more.
The 21-game tournament will be played in group play with each team playing four matches followed by the final. The opener and three additional games will air on CBS Sports Network, the final will air on the CBS Television Network and stream on Paramount+, the newly launched premium streaming service from ViacomCBS, and every other game will stream exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S. All games will be available internationally on Twitch, including in Canada for all games that are not on CBS Sports Network.
The full 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup schedule and broadcast details will be announced Tuesday; and the Club will release updated health and safety protocols for matches at BBVA Stadium in the coming days as well.
The 2021 tournament opener will be a rematch of the 2020 tournament final, which the Dash won 2-0 on July 26, 2020 to claim the first league title in team history. Midfielder Sophie Schmidt scored the eventual match-winner with a fifth-minute penalty kick, and midfielder Shea Groom sealed the victory in the first minute of stoppage time. Groom was named Challenge Cup Final MVP, while forward Rachel Daly took home tournament MVP and Golden Boot honors.
As part of Secret’s continued investment in women’s equality and advocacy for women in sports, Secret and the league are creating a NWSL Rookie Class program. Through this program there will be sponsorship opportunities for NWSL rookies competing in the tournament. By creating this program Secret and NWSL hope to continue to build media equity for women in sports.
Following the Challenge Cup, the NWSL’s 10 teams will face off in a 24-game regular season beginning May 15, 2021. The league will not break for the 2021 Olympic Games and the regular season will conclude on Oct. 30, 2021.Six teams will qualify for an expanded NWSL playoffs set to begin on Nov. 6, 2021, with the top two seeds receiving a first-round bye. The league’s ninth season will conclude with the NWSL Championship on Nov. 20, 2021.