The 2017 schedule was announced Monday for the Spokane Shadow Women's First Team, which will kick off defense of its Northwest Premier League championship at home on April 30. The inaugural league winners will see a new challenge with the format changing to 10 matches and a postseason playoff.
The Shadow open things up at home April 30 at Spokane Falls CC Stadium against the newly branded Washington Premier South Sound side, who finished second in the league behind Spokane last summer. The Shadow ladies then face all five of their road contests consecutively through May and the first weekend of June before closing out the campaign at home. They face Seattle Stars June 10 and have two weeks off before playing three games in the first two weekends of July.
The composition of the schedule will see the Shadow face will be among the toughest in the league under the new format, which was designed to create more competitive parity. Grouped by 2016 results, the Shadow play home and away against second and third place finishers Washington Premier South Sound and Twin City Union. They will play host to Yakima United, Seattle Stars and Fuerza FC, who finished fourth through sixth a year ago. The other road contests include matches against last-place finisher Olympic Force and the two newcomers NCW Alliance and Washington Timbers.
About New Names & Faces: Washington Premier South Sound is a further development of the partnership between adult club South Sound FC and the youth club Washington Premier FC, which began working together, particularly for the NWPL team, just prior to the kickoff of last season's slate. The two officially merged in February to form WPSSFC. NCW alliance is a Wenatchee-based side born from some of the same individuals that previously operated Wenatchee FC, the EPLWA side that disbanded prior to the creation of the new women's side in January. After nearly joining the league for the inaugural season, youth club Washington Timbers, based in Vancouver, were announced as the first new addition to the NWPL in December.
The Postseason: Six of the nine team will advance to the newly-added playoff with the top two sides receiving byes to the semifinals. The next four square off in the quarterfinals July 15-16 with the lower seed that advances playing the regular season champion in the semifinals July 22-23. The championship is slated for July 29-30. The higher seed plays host in each match-up for all games during the postseason.
2017 Spokane Shadow NWPL Schedule
Sun, April 30 v Washington Premier South Sound
Sat, May 13 @ Olympic Force
Sun, May 14 @ Washington Premier South Sound
Sat, May 20 @ Washington Timbers
Sun, May 21 @ Twin City Union
Sun, June 4 @ NCW Alliance
Sat, June 10 v Seattle Stars
Sat, July 1 v Twin City Union
Sat, July 8 v Yakima United
Sun, July 9 v Fuerza
July 15-16 -- Quarterfinals (#6 @ #3) (#5 @ #4)
July 22-23 -- Semifinals (#1 v lower seed) (#2 v higher seed)
July 29-30 -- Championship (@ higher seed)
* Schedule subject to change
Related Links: Format Changes [+] Full NWPL Schedule [+]