CORONAVIRUS PUTS HALT ON U.S. GAMES
KENYA BROWN - Thursday, March 12, 2020
In light of the coronavirus outbreak, soccer has come to a halt in the United States as leagues and the federation announced plans to suspend or cancel games for the forseeable future.
Following the lead of the National Basketball Association's move on Wednesday to suspend their season following the reported positive testing of Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, U.S. Soccer announced on Thursday that all upcoming games for the men's and women's national teams have been canceled.
The men were scheduled to head to Europe later in the month to play two friendlies against the Netherlands and Wales. The women's team had games set against Australia and Brazil in April.
What is uncertain now is whether CONCACAF will postpone the men's Under-23 Olympic qualifying tournament in Mexico that is set to start on March 20.
U.S. Soccer has taken the position to put a hold on these scheduled games out of the health and safety of everyone involved.
"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," said U.S. Soccer Chief Medical Officer George Chiampas in a statement. "We have been in communication with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 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."
U.S. Soccer's move to cancel games has also been extended to Major League Soccer as Commissioner Don Garber announced that the league will suspend its season for 30 days. The second-tier United Soccer League also announced a month-long suspension to their season.
The virus has hit a majority of soccer leagues around the world as they have one after another announced suspensions.
The World Health Organization declared on Wednesday the coronavirus a global pandemic.