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In case you needed another reminder that this coronavirus thing is dangerous

Here you go.

The Orlando Pride have withdrawn from the upcoming NWSL Challenge Cup after six players and four staffers tested positive for the coronavirus, a significant setback for a league attempting to become the first in American professional team sports to resume competition.

Orlando announced the decision Monday, six days before it was scheduled to play the Chicago Red Stars on the opening day of the tournament held in the Salt Lake City area. It said in a statement that all players and staff who tested positive remained asymptomatic.

“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,” said Orlando Pride executive vice president Amanda Duffy, who resigned as NWSL president in January. “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.”

[…]

NWSL teams were still in preseason in March when the coronavirus pandemic effectively shut down sports in the United States. After repeatedly postponing the start of its scheduled season, the league announced in late May that it would resume play with a tournament in Utah involving all nine teams.

Speaking at the time the tournament was announced in May, Dr. Daryl Osbahr, team doctor for the Orlando Pride and a member of the NWSL’s medical task force, said it was inevitable that there would be positive tests but that the league put protocols in place that it hoped would allow for “not shutting down the tournament or necessarily a team by one positive result.”

Those protocols, which called for contact tracing and quarantining what were deemed high-risk contacts, apparently made it unfeasible for the Pride to travel to Utah and begin play.

See here for the background. The rest of the NWSL is still on track to play, but this is a stark reminder that no matter what all of the leagues that are currently in some state of returning to play plan to do, it’s ultimately not in their control. Any or all of them may wind up shutting down again because the risk to player and other employees’ safety is just too great. Until there’s a vaccine, or at least a reliable cure, this is the reality we are in. Our plans are all written on sand.

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5 Comments

  1. blank says:

    That’s too bad but unsurprising. I was looking forward to seeing how a completely healthy Pride team might do in this tournament. They have been injured and miserable over the last 2 seasons. Now this… they can’t buy a break. At least this will give Alex Morgan more time to rest and rehab her knee.

  2. Brad says:

    I hope all the players safely recover. I’m looking for the Houston Dash to have a good form run to the championship game. It’s been pretty thing years for the Houston women’s soccer team.

  3. […] that than the owners. How successful any of this will be given that positive tests have become a frequent occurrence among teams and players in various leagues. I’m ready to see MLB play again, but […]

  4. C.L. says:

    Brad, the only way the Dash are going to make it to the Championship game is if another seven teams drop put of the Tournament. You can look at just about every successful team in the NWSL and see prior Dash players – Denise O’Sullivan at NC, Klingenberg at Portland, Morgan Brian (and now Ohai) in Chicago, Amber Brooks in Seattle, etc.

    Once the team got rid of Randy Waldrum, my enthusiasm and ticket dollars dried up.

  5. C.L. says:

    Shit, look at the way Christen Press avoided playing here ! My personal belief is that something is rotten with the Organization. World class facilities, etc., yet there’s something going on that results in the Dash not being a ‘wanted’ destination.

    Or it’s the heat.