08 June 2020

NWSL is making plans to help players with children during this summer's Challenge Cup

The National Women’s Soccer League has said it is developing plans to allow players with children to compete in the Challenge Cup this summer.

The league announced a month-long season starting on June 27. However, this has concerned players who are mothers as all games will be played in Utah and the teams will be quarantined in hotels to limit the spread of coronavirus.

NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird said: “This is something that’s pretty close to my heart. When we asked the players, in particular the mums, to come for a month to Utah, I know what that’s like because I spent time away from my kids for many weeks at the Olympic Games.

“So what I can tell you right now is that we’re working to develop specific solutions for them. I’ve been on one call with the mums so far. We’re going to have more as we really develop a plan that helps them.”

One playing mother is North Carolina Courage’s Jessica McDonald.

She said: “I’m raising my hand immediately and, I’m like, 'Well, first and foremost, I can’t live in a hotel for a month with an 8-year-old!' No thank you. He bounces off walls.

“They answered, or if they didn’t have the answer to some of the questions, they were able to get back to us immediately. So that was kind of cool. They handled it really well and they’ve been just very helpful overall with this entire process.”

Utah Royals player Amy Rodriguez, who has two children, echoed McDonald’s sentiments.

“I think that what relieves that concern is the confidence of our medical staff and the confidence I have in them, Utah, the NWSL, the players' association, we’ve all put in a lot of effort to make a really good plan to address concerns and hopefully tackle them."

Both McDonald and Rodriguez have said they will take part.

If players do not feel comfortable taking part in the cup they are not obliged to do so. If individuals opt out of the tournament they will still be paid in full and receive full housing and medical benefits.

It has already been revealed Megan Rapinoe will not be taking part due to fears of the virus spreading and increased injury risk. 

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