Orlando forward Sydney Leroux expressed her disappointment on Twitter. “I’m heartbroken. The majority of our team & staff worked our asses off to put us in the best position to play the game we love again. Not just for ourselves but for our families, friends, fans & our city. Good luck to the teams going to UT. Wish we were there with you. Stay safe,” she wrote.
The league said it would release a schedule for the eight remaining teams as soon as possible. The NWSL had been scheduled to release the rosters for the participating teams Monday. Players are allowed to opt out of the tournament if they have health concerns, while still receiving their salaries for the season and insurance.
“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,” said Amanda Duffy, the Orlando Pride’s executive vice president. “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 Pride’s players did not have contact with the club’s affiliated Major League Soccer team, Orlando City SC. The Pride’s training facilities are closed for cleaning and sterilization, the club said.