Orlando Pride pulls out of 2020 NWSL Cup amid coronavirus cases

The NBA and MLS should be paying attention.

The Orlando Pride, the women’s soccer team located in the same area those two leagues are planning to pick up play next month, bowed out of taking part in the 2020 NWSL Cup after multiple players and staff members tested positive for coronavirus, it announced Monday.

Although everyone who tested positive was asymptomatic, according to the team, the franchise still felt it necessary to withdraw for health reasons.

ESPN reported that six players and four staffers tested positive.

“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 in a statement. “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 infected players and staff members will be isolated for at least 14 days. Anyone who came in close contact with them are being checked for symptoms and will get further tests.

“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,” Daryl Osbahr, M.D., team doctor for Orlando Pride and chief of sports medicine for Orlando Health, said. “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.”

Florida has seen a significant rise in the novel coronavirus in recent weeks, bringing into question the NBA and MLS planning to return to action in the state. Both are scheduled to be playing at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando in July.