Report: Washington Spirit 2020 Matches Could be Split Among Three Facilities

Washington Spirit

The Washington Post is reporting that the NWSL’s Washington Spirit could use three venues for home matches in 2020, including Audi Field.

The Spirit plays the bulk of its home matches at Maryland SoccerPlex in suburban Montgomery County, though it staged a handful of 2019 games at Audi Field–home to MLS’s D.C. United–before strong crowds. In planning for the 2020 season, there have reportedly been discussions about the Spirit’s home schedule being split among three different venues.

Maryland SoccerPlex and Audi Field would be part of that mix, along with Segra Field–a new stadium in Leesburg, VA that opened in August for Division II USL Championship’s Loudoun United. Neither the Spirit nor D.C. United has confirmed these plans and discussions are still ongoing but, if they came to fruition, they would be notable in strengthening the ties between the two organizations while allowing the NWSL club to maintain a presence throughout the D.C. region. More from the Washington Post:

A recent proposal would have the team play four National Women’s Soccer League matches at each of the three venues, split preseason games and friendlies between the smaller sites, and practice at SoccerPlex for one more year before a Leesburg training center being built by United is completed.

Officials from both organizations said Monday they did not want to comment.

Initially, the Spirit eyed seven matches at Audi Field and the other five at SoccerPlex. However, United pushed for the team to stage the others at Segra Field, a plan that would forge a stronger bond between the NWSL and MLS organizations.

United operates both Audi Field and Segra Field, which opened in August for second-division Loudoun United. Under the most recent proposal, the Spirit would ultimately rent those two stadiums, as well as the Leesburg training center, starting in 2021. Partly with the Spirit in mind, United recently decided to double the size of the center to 40,000 square feet.

The Spirit’s matches at Audi Field this season were played before strong crowds, including a club single-game record that saw the team play Orlando in late August. Having some matches at the 20,000-capacity venue would allow the Spirit to build on that success next season, while other home games would be staged at much smaller suburban facilities in Maryland SoccerPlex and Segra Field.

Image courtesy Washington Spirit.

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