The Orlando Pride withdrew from the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup Tournament today. In a statement, the Pride listed the reason was that team players and staff had tested positive for COVID-19. The staff were asymptomatic. The Pride decided to withdraw for the safety of the players, staff, and the rest of the league.
“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 EVP Amanda Duffy. “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.”
“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. The decision goes far beyond just the positives, but also taking into consideration roommates or partners,” said Daryl Osbahr, M.D., team doctor for Orlando Pride and chief of sports medicine for Orlando Health. “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.”
In accordance with CDC guidelines and collaboration with the Club’s medical team at Orlando Health, the players and staff have received medical attention and will be isolated for at least 14 days. In addition, those who may have had close contact with the team members, including housemates, have been notified and are being monitored for symptoms. They will continue to undergo additional COVID-19 testing.
These team members did not have any direct interaction with any players or coaching staff from Orlando City SC or Orlando City B. The Orlando Pride Training Ground at Sylvan Lake Park, located 44 miles from the Orlando City SC Training Ground, has also been closed and will undergo thorough cleaning and sterilization. Additionally, prior decisions from the Club ensured all staff members remained separated with no staff interaction across any of the Club’s three facilities.
This news comes as the MLS and NBA are heading to Orlando to play their 2020 season as the coronavirus infection case number skyrocket in the state. The WNBA is also coming to Florida to play their season in the Tampa area.