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Japan cancels tour because of flu virus concerns
by Paul Kennedy, May 13th, 2009 7AM



[U.S. WOMEN] A pair of friendly games -- the first at home in 2009 -- the U.S. women's national team scheduled against Japan were canceled on Tuesday because of Japanese concerns with the H1N1 virus. Instead of games May 20 at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas, and May 23 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, the USA will face Canada at BMO Field in Toronto on May 25 when Japan was scheduled to conclude its North American tour.

"This is an unfortunate situation, but one that we had absolutely no control over," said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. "We have been assured that the risk to the participating teams is exceptionally low, but we accept the Japanese federation's decision not to travel."

The Canada game will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel at 7 pm ET.

"I am grateful that we could put together a game on such short notice and want to thank the WPS teams and officials for their flexibility in this unique situation," said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. "We've been watching a lot of WPS games and it will be so nice to have all the players together who have performed well in the league. I am very happy that the USA and Canada could get together to organize this match."

Fans who already purchased tickets to either game will be refunded in full from the original point of purchase.

The U.S. team will be playing matches later in the summer against Canada on July 19 in Rochester, N.Y., and on July 22 in Charleston, S.C.

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