NWSL announces the start time for the championship game at 9 a.m.

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The NWSL 2021 championship has its time and place. Apparently none of the players are happy about it.

The top American women’s soccer league announced Monday that its championship game would be played on November 20 at Providence Park, home of the Portland Thorns. At 9 a.m. local time.

The commissioner of the league said:

“We are excited to bring the NWSL Championship back to Providence Park,” said NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird. “Portland is a fantastic football city with a passionate fan base and we are confident that the stadium will provide a wonderful atmosphere to celebrate the climax of the 2021 season.”

While Portland’s fans may be passionate, the league’s players were significantly less excited about the announcement, both due to the early start time and location chosen. Providence Park is unpopular with players because it uses artificial turf instead of natural grass, making falls difficult and making the game more difficult.

For comparison, none of the teams in the FA Women’s Super League, the top tier of English football, play on grass fields, although some play on a hybrid surface often seen in the men’s Premier League. It’s also worth noting that Portland hosted the NWSL championship in both 2015 and 2018. So this is not a case that brings the championship to a city for the first time.

The reason for the absurdly early launch time is almost certainly money. According to NWSL, the championship game will air on CBS and its streaming service Paramount + in the US, the biggest game at a time when some fans are just waking up.

None of this was any consolation to a very online group of players who bombarded the league with disdain for their decisions:

We’ll see if the NWSL or CBS make a change. Otherwise the tweets just keep going.

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