WASHINGTON (WDVM) — With the NWSL regular season right around the corner, the Washington Spirit get ready to defend their title.

However, the Spirit have already been competing in the NWSL Challenge Cup, and will wrap up group play on Saturday as they take on the North Carolina Courage.

After Saturday’s game, the Spirit will advance to the knockout stage. If they make it to the final, they will play three games in the span of a week. As brutal as that sounds, head coach Kris Ward believes his team is up for the challenge.

“Whether you’ve played 600 minutes to this point or you’ve played six minutes to this point, you need to be prepared and ready to go,” said Ward. “That’s been widely accepted by everyone. Everyone is really just kind of chomping at the bit. This is another trophy that they want to win and they are very serious about it.”

After the Challenge Cup, it’s a quick turnaround for the Spirit, as their opening game to the regular season is on May 1.