Orlando Pride withdraws from NWSL Challenge Cup after players, staff test positive for coronavirus

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Orlando Pride forward Marta (10) walks off the pitch after an NWSL soccer match against Sky Blue FC, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Harrison, N.J. The match ended in a 1-1 draw. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano)

ORLANDO, Fla. (WFLA) — Orlando’s NWSL team will not participate in the upcoming Challenge Cup due to coronavirus concerns, the club announced Monday.

The Orlando Pride released a statement Monday afternoon to say it was withdrawing from the National Women’s Soccer League Challenge Cup after players and staff tested positive for the virus. A statement from the league says it was a total of six players and four staff members who tested positive. The players who tested positive have not been identified.

Even though the team says everyone who tested positive was asymptomatic, the club decided it was best to withdraw.

“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,” Orlando Pride EVP Amanda Duffy said. “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.”

The Challenge Cup – a nine-team, 25-game tournament – is set to begin at the end of June in Utah.

“While we were all looking forward to seeing the Pride return to the field, we are unfortunately facing a decision that is necessary and in the best interest for the health of our players and staff,” Orlando Pride’s team doctor Daryl Osbahr, M.D., said. “The decision goes far beyond just the positives, but also taking into consideration roommates or partners.”

The players and staff who tested positive have received medial attention and are in isolation for at least 14 days, the club says. Anyone who was in contact with them has been notified and are monitoring for symptoms.

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