Arsenal, Chelsea set for U.S. tour to face NWSL duo – sources

Women’s Super League duo Arsenal and Chelsea are set for preseason tours of the United States this summer, including facing each other in a friendly in Washington, D.C., sources told ESPN.

Set for August, Arsenal will face NWSL side Washington Spirit while Chelsea will play NJ/NY Gotham FC at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey. This will be the first time two WSL sides face off against NWSL teams. The two WSL sides are also poised for a friendly on Aug. 19 in Washington, sources added.

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It is also the first time two WSL teams will have such high-profile preseason tours. In January, Chelsea hosted a training camp in Morocco while Arsenal hosted theirs in Portugal. Last summer, Arsenal hosted a preseason camp at Adidas’ headquarters in Germany.

It will be a clash of champions for Chelsea facing 2023 NWSL winners Gotham, after Chelsea lifted the WSL title on Saturday for a fifth consecutive time and a seventh overall.

It could also be the first time Chelsea play under new manager Sonia Bompastor. Sources told ESPN that the Lyon manager is set to take over for Emma Hayes next season, with Hayes becoming the new head coach of the United States women’s team after 12 years with Chelsea.

The Washington Spirit are also due a management change, with Jonatan Giráldez to become their new coach once his tenure with Barcelona ends next month. Bompastor and Giráldez will face off next week in the Champions League final.

Arsenal are also heading to Melbourne, Australia, for a fixture against the Australia A-League All Stars on May 27. However, the side will be without WSL top scorer Vivianne Miedema come the summer as the club decided not to renew her contract. Sources told ESPN that Miedema is in line for a move to WSL rivals Manchester City.

Arsenal will play in Champions League qualifying in early September, while Chelsea have automatically qualified for the group stage.

This season, Arsenal defeated Chelsea in the league 4-1 before the West London club dominated 3-1 in the reverse fixture.

Washington Spirit are fourth in the NWSL standings while Gotham are seventh.

ESPN’s Emily Keogh, Jeff Kassouf and Tom Hamilton contributed to this report.