20210131 thorns at timbers training center
Craig Mitchelldyer-Portland Thorns

Thorns FC assemble at Timbers Training Center ahead of 2021 NWSL preseason

Activities for Portland Thorns FC's 2021 season began today in Beaverton, Oregon, where players reported to the club's training center for examinations and testing ahead of the official start to the 2021 National Women's Soccer League preseason.

The check-ins came two days ahead of the season's first official training session - a Tuesday, February 2 practice which will take place back at the team's normal home base, Providence Park. On Monday, the NWSL's official preseason report date, the Thorns are scheduled to convene in Goose Hollow for their first group meetings of the season.

Crystal Dunn Thorns FC

Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer-Portland Thorns

The 2021 National Women's Soccer League season is scheduled to begin on April 9, when the league will commence its second Challenge Cup, The tournament will precede a regular season that extends until October 30, with the NWSL's six-team playoffs concluding with its Championship game on November 20.

The schedule gives the league's teams just over nine weeks to prepare for their first competitive games, though the FIFA international calendar adds some obstacles. Several Thorns are expected to miss time in February with national-team commitments, including the SheBelieves Cup and Euro 2022 qualifying matches. By March, teams are expected to have their full squads in camp, giving each of the league's 10 teams slightly over a month to prepare for Challenge Cup.

Becky Sauerbrunng Thorns FC

Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer-Portland Thorns

That preparation will happen amid an updated set of protocols approved by the league's Medical Task Force. Those protocols, designed to address issues stemming from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, begin with the league's preseason and will be in place as Challenge Cup is conducted in home markets.

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