Orlando Pride pulls out of NWSL Challenge Cup after six players and four staff members test positive for COVID-19

The Orlando Pride pulled out of NWSL Challenge Cup, which starts Saturday, after six players and four staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

All players and staff were asymptomatic but the decision was made for Orlando to withdraw from the nine-team NWSL tournament in Utah due to the number of positive tests and the timeline necessary before returning to training and competition. Following the NWSL protocol, a second round of tests will be conducted to confirm the initial results.

“We’re all obviously disappointed," said NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird, "but in the current environment, this is a situation that we have prepared for and we will now adjust our plans and schedules to reflect the circumstances."

Sources told The Athletic that additional testing was conducted after multiple Pride players visited a bar in Orlando. That led the first positive result and then other testing. Bars reopened in Florida on June 5, but some bars in the Orlando area have since shutdown in response to new COVID-19 outbreaks or out of caution.



The Pride, which resumed training on May 8 (photo) after NWSL preseason was shut down in its first week in March, has taken the following steps:

-- The players and staff have received medical attention and will be isolated for at least 14 days;
-- Those who may have had close contact with the players, including housemates, have been notified and are being monitored for symptoms and will continue to undergo additional COVID-19 testing;
-- The Orlando Pride Training Ground, where the Pride trains, has also been closed and will undergo thorough cleaning and sterilization.

The Orlando Pride Training Ground is located in Sylan Park, 44 miles from the Orlando City SC Training Ground, which opened in January in Sanford. No Pride players or staff had any direct interaction with any players or coaching staff from Orlando City SC, which is preparing for the MLS is Back Tournament at the nearby ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, or Orlando City B, which plays in the USL League One.

“This was obviously a difficult and disappointing outcome for our players, our staff and fans," Orlando Pride executive vice president Amanda Duffy said in a news release. "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.”

Photo: Mark Thor/Orlando Pride

9 comments about "Orlando Pride pulls out of NWSL Challenge Cup after six players and four staff members test positive for COVID-19".
  1. William Allen, June 22, 2020 at 10:42 p.m.

    Not confirmed the players got Covid-19 from visiting the bar, but just because they are open does not mean it is a good idea to go, this is why NC has been fighting to keep bars closed

  2. Bill Dooley replied, June 23, 2020 at 6:55 a.m.

    "Not confirmed the players got Covid-19 from visiting the bar," - but how stupid can you be?

    "this is why NC has been fighting to keep bars closed" - but how about some personal responsibility instead of governmental baby sitting?

  3. Santiago 1314 replied, June 27, 2020 at 7:27 p.m.

    I heard somewhere, where the 2nd Round Of Testing came back "Inconclusuve" ... They should have "Carried On" and played like any other Team, That gets the Flu... Asymptomatic.!!! "Play On".!!!

  4. Santiago 1314, June 22, 2020 at 11:43 p.m.

    A Healthy Female Pro player has about .00001% of Being Hospitalized... #of Dead Females under 30 IS.???... I couldn't find ONE.!?!?!? The only way we get to Herd Immunity is for the Young to go out and get Sick and Get Over It... 60% .. Come on you MiLEMMONingals, OFF The Cliff you Go.!!!

  5. Willliam Taylor replied, June 23, 2020 at 12:08 p.m.

    This is exactly right... As long as the hospital system is not being overrun the general community needs to go on living life with the recognition the virus risk is extremely low if you are not in a high risk factor group… An 80-year-old should act differently than a healthy young 40 or below aged person… The only way we will get the virus out of the system is for herd immunity to take affect… Nothing else will do it and as long as the hospital system is not being overrun the general community needs to go on living life with the recognition the virus risk is extremely low if you are not in a high risk factor group… An 80-year-old should act differently than a healthy young 40 or below aged person… The only way we will get the virus out of the system is for herd immunity to take affect… Nothing else will do it...Stop being afraid and live life…Notice the article said everyone was asymptomatic it's because they're young and healthy...The true number of cases we have are way above what is tested positive. Everyone takes a risks everyday...Figure out what your risk factor is and mediate appropriately…To those of you that think by sheltering you're going to stop this virus have fun stoping your lives.  


    For a brief period sheltering in place to flatten a medical overrun of the healthcare system makes sense but once that is accomplished and you monitor the healthcare system for significant admissions and deaths before changing policy... The number of new cases has continue to rise but death rates continue to fall and that's because those at risk are being smarter and we are doing the right thing… Stop paying attention to new numbers of cases we are testing more and healthier people are generally getting the virus which is why hospitalizations and overall death rates continue to fall...

  6. R2 Dad, June 23, 2020 at 9:54 a.m.

    Very curious how these numbers are so high, and yet Bundesliga numbers so low. Are they taking this more seriously in German football? Are there discrepancies between testing regimes in the NWSL vs Bundesliga? Is the DFL not reporting the whole story? How did this go sideways?

  7. Peter Bechtold replied, June 23, 2020 at 1:22 p.m.

    Of course, there are large differences between German testing,incl. Bundesliga  1&2&3 and US.
    Do you remember what happened to the head coach of FC Augsburg who left the team hotel to buy toothpaste ? He was barred from coaching his team. Possible in the US ?    

  8. Mike Lynch, June 23, 2020 at 1:24 p.m.

    Observations between the latest two women's pro soccer articles this week, NWSL Orlando Pride out of Cup and Bundesliga Frauen FFC Frankfurt american goalkeeper Bryane Haerberlin. First, not surprised the german procedures and expectations are clear, strict and followed. There is a clear top to bottom commitment to be successful in their return to play protocols. Also, not surprised the younger players in both leagues are likely struggling with following all the isolation and distancing protocols (just not natural to not be human and interact with people). Not sure if both leagues are following the same breadth and depth of testing and isolating. I wonder, just like in the general population, a positive test in people of younger ages in and of itself is not inherently dangerous, but where the exposure can also spread is the challenge. I don't know but I bet the german system has a plan for that too short of hard stop. 

  9. James Madison, June 23, 2020 at 6:33 p.m.

    Just plain dumb to risk being infected and, thus, to infect others who may be more susceptible to complications.  But part of being young is to suppose you're unassailable.

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