NWSL Challenge Cup final features soccer dogs, adding to fun

NWSL Challenge Cup (Photo by Bryan Byerly/ISI Photos/Getty Images).
NWSL Challenge Cup (Photo by Bryan Byerly/ISI Photos/Getty Images). /

The NWSL Challenge Cup will be awarded today, and many players have dogs at home.

The NWSL Challenge Cup, the first professional team sports action to restart during the COVID-19 pandemic, will have its final today at Rio Tinto Stadium between the Chicago Red Stars and Houston Dash.

Many Dash players and Red Stars have soccer dogs or cats at home, which they’ve likely missed greatly during the extended stay in Sandy, Utah, which the Utah Royals normally call home.

The North Carolina Courage and Portland Thorns kicked off the NWSL Challenge Cup on CBS on Saturday, June 27, where the Courage triumphed 2-1. In the semifinals earlier this week, Houston toppled Portland 1-0, while the Red Stars eliminated the New Jersey-based Sky Blue FC 3-2.

Thanks to the folks at Rover, some of the players’ pets were highlighted last year during the 2019 Women’s World Cup, where the USWNT captured the tournament in dramatic fashion.

While Dog O’Day staff research couldn’t turn up any Houston players with pets, their former captain and all-time leading scorer, forward Kealia Ohai was traded, ironically, to Chicago, in January. Ohai is the wife of Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt.

At least two Red Stars have pets, which is really pawesome.

Midfielder Morgan Brian has a Dachshund named Tanner, and it’s fun to imagine a Doxie playing soccer, though it doesn’t seem like they’d be that great at it.

Defender Tierna Davidson has a dog named Harley, whose breed is uncertain, though he looks German Shepherd-ish. Harley is often included on Davidson’s Instagram as he goes on various adventures. She told Teen Vogue last year that she really hates missing her family and dogs while on the road for games.

The NWSL Challenge Cup final will air on CBS on Sunday, July 26 at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Air Bud: World Pup review. dark. Next

NHL humorist Jillian Fisher is a huge fan of NWSL soccer, and the league’s newest expansion team, in Los Angeles, will have an ownership group that includes tennis legend Serena Williams and actresses Natalie Portman and Jessica Chastain.

For more news, opinion and analysis within the soccer world, be sure to check out our FanSided Network sister sites MLS Multiplex and Playing for 90.