Orlando Pride forced out of NWSL Challenge Cup after SIX players test positive for coronavirus

Orlando's Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger celebrate with the FIFA Women's World Cup Trophy, but will miss out on the Challenge Cup (EMPICS Sport)
9:19am, Tue 23 Jun 2020
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Orlando Pride has been forced to withdraw from the National Women’s Soccer League Challenge Cup after six players tested positive for coronavirus.

The side were due to compete in the nine-team tournament in Utah which kicks off on June 27.

Four staff members at the club also tested positive, but Pride said that all the players and staff affected remained asymptomatic and will now isolate for 14 days.

A club statement said: “This was obviously a difficult and disappointing outcome for our players, our staff and fans, however this is a decision that was made in order to protect the health of all involved in the Challenge Cup.

“While we were all excited to see the 2020 Pride on the field this weekend, our priority is now making sure our players and staff safely recover and providing any support wherever and however possible.”

Team doctor Daryl Osbahr added: “I commend the Club for its diligence and reaction following the initial positive test, as well as how the safety of players and staff was prioritized during this difficult and uncertain time.

“However the guidelines and process that are put in place, including the important protocols and timelines for contact tracing, make it logistically impossible for the Club to participate in the Challenge Cup in Utah.”

USA internationals including Ashlyn Harris, Ali Krieger and Sydney Leroux Dwyer will all miss out.

Dwyer, who has made 23 appearances for the side, said she is ‘heartbroken’ by the news.

She wrote on Twitter: “I’m heartbroken. The majority of our team & staff worked our asses off to put us in the best position to play the game we love again.

“Not just for ourselves but for our families, friends, fans & our city. Good luck to the teams going to UT. Wish we were there with you.  Stay safe.”

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