The United States Soccer Federation has decided to scrap four upcoming national team matches because of the worsening coronavirus pandemic, multiple sources told Yahoo Sports on Thursday morning.
The U.S. men will not travel to Europe later this month for friendlies against the Netherlands and Wales. Additionally, the world champion U.S. women’s national team’s games against Australia and Brazil, scheduled for April 10 in Sandy, Utah and April 14 in San Jose, California, are also going to be called off, the sources said.
U.S. Soccer formally announced the cancellations later on Thursday. “With the health of our players, coaches, staff and fans as our main priority, U.S. Soccer has decided it was in the best interest to cancel the majority of our upcoming domestic and international camps at all levels, including our senior men's and women's national team games in March and April, due to the outbreak of COVID-19,” George Chiampas, the USSF’s chief medical officer, said in a statement.
“We have been in communication with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as state and local departments of public health, and after those conversations and continuously monitoring the situation, we strongly believe this is the best decision considering the ongoing worldwide health situation.”
There was no immediate word on if CONCACAF’s Olympic qualifying tournament, set to run March 20 to April 1 in Guadalajara Mexico, would go ahead as planned, but that seems highly unlikely at this point. U.S. Soccer is “keeping in constant communication with CONCACAF officials about the status of the competition,” according to its statement.
The news comes on the heels of the NBA’s decision late Wednesday to postpone its season indefinitely after learning that a player had tested positive for coronavirus, or COVID-19. Major League Soccer did the same on Thursday, announcing that it would shutter for 30 days. The NHL is expected to follow suit as early as Thursday afternoon.
International competitions have also been impacted because of coronavirus fears. The CONCACAF Champions League suspended play Thursday, while UEFA postponed its Champions League round of 16 games set for next week. The domestic leagues in Spain and Italy are also on hiatus as officials try to slow the spread of the illness.
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