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NWSL takes field first as other pro leagues chart futures

The NWSL opens its Challenge Cup tournament Saturday and the pressure is on as it becomes the first pro sports league to play in the U.S. amid the pandemic.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Sept. 12, 2014 file photo, members of the U.S. Women's National team warm up during practice at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Pro soccer returns to the U.S. next month when the National Women's Soccer League starts a 25-game tournament in a pair of stadiums in Utah that will be kept clear of fans to protect players from the coronavirus. Players from the nine teams will train and live at two Salt Lake City-area hotels, the league announced Wednesday, May 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

The National Women's Soccer League opens its Challenge Cup tournament Saturday and the pressure is on as it becomes the first professional team sports league to play in the U.S. amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The league was preparing to enter its eighth season when it was shut down on March 12 and now the teams have descended on Utah for the month-long World Cup-style tournament. 

The OL Reign's first game is on Tuesday at 7pm.  They'll face Sky Blue in their first match of the qualification round.

Eight of the league's teams are sequestered in facilities used by the the Utah Royals and Major League Soccer's Real Salt Lake. 

Players will be subject to a rigorous testing protocol and games will be played without fans.