Season three of NWSL is done. Long live NWSL. What do you do now?
There's a lot of options to continue watching women's soccer in the NWSL offseason, and The Bent Musket is here to help you.
USWNT Victory Tour
That's right, they're still not even halfway through this tour. There's six games left, with the next two to be played against Brazil on October 21 and October 25 in Seattle and Orlando respectively. Head coach Jill Ellis has free reign to call in whoever she likes for these friendlies beyond the World Cup roster, but so far has only brought up Crystal Dunn from the Washington Spirit. Still, Ellis may choose to look at more roster options as the United States heads into...
CONCACAF Olympic qualifying
Olympic qualifiers will take place from February 10-21 in Frisco and Houston. The tournament will feature eight teams with the United States, Canada, and Mexico already qualified. The top two winners will go on to the 2016 Rio Olympics. No word on a broadcaster or ticket sales yet, so keep your eyes open.
The Algarve Cup is a yearly invitational tournament held in Portugal in early March. Last year's teams included Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, and Sweden, among others. The United States tends to do well at the Algarve, minus that time they finished seventh overall and it got Tom Sermanni fired. Broadcasts from the Algarve tend to be few and far between but for 2015, Fox Sports picked up the United States' games in preparation for their broadcast of the World Cup. In light of that tournament's stellar ratings, hopefully some network will pick up the Algarve in 2016 knowing that the Olympics are right around the corner.
International players who come to NWSL don't just spontaneously appear underneath cabbage patch leaves—there are a lot of leagues in other countries that have offset seasons to ours.
There's the Australian W-League, where a lot of NWSL players migrate due to their schedule, which starts in mid-October and runs through mid-January. Streams for these teams are iffy, but all the teams are on twitter and following @TheWomensGame is a good way to track league developments as a whole.
France's Division 1 Féminine is host to one of the best club teams in the world, Olympique Lyonnais, and the league schedule runs through May 2016. It has a few competitors like Paris Saint-Germain, but this league is not known for its parity. Nonetheless, matchups in the top half of the table can be very enjoyable should you find a stream or come across a game on Eurosport or French TV. Here's their youtube channel if you want to check out game clips.
Germany's Frauen Bundesliga is a bit more balanced, but still sees domination from teams like VfL Wolfsburg, Turbine Potsdam, and FFC Frankfurt. Their season will run through May 2016 as well. They livestream some games in high quality from their site and they have an app as well that lets you watch on your phone.
Perhaps one of the best things about following women's European soccer is that you get Champions League, which is currently in Round of 32. Once again, many of these games are hard to find on a broadcast or even a livestream since some of the participating teams are from smaller leagues with fewer resources, but as the final rounds loom there will definitely be quality broadcasts available.
Go watch your local women's college team, especially if you live near a Division 1 school; the college season still has a few more weeks to go. Nearly all of the future talent for the USWNT goes through the NCAA, and you can see U-23 and U-20 players like Jane Campbell (Stanford), Rose Lavelle (Wisconsin), Midge Purce (Harvard), and Cari Roccaro (Notre Dame). Tell your friends you saw them play before they were famous. Many D1 teams also have foreign nationals on their rosters and depending on what conference your team is in, you could be in for the tail end of an exciting, competitive season. Even if you don't have a team nearby, be sure to tune in to the College Cup on December 4 and 6 in Cary, N.C.
Give more women's soccer a shot. Let NWSL be your springboard into the vast and rapidly expanding world of woso. If you find it's not to your liking—well, NWSL season four is only six cold, lonely months away.