U.S. Soccer Calls Off USMNT, USWNT Friendlies Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

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A pair of U.S. men’s national team friendlies scheduled toward the end of this month in Europe and two women’s national team exhibitions in April have been cancelled by the U.S. Soccer Federation, which is joining sports organizations around the world attempting to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The USSF announced the decision late Thursday morning, and added that all youth national team programming will be suspended through the end of April. The fate of several competitions administered by regional governing body Concacaf, including the upcoming men’s Olympic qualifying tournament in Mexico, remains unknown.

The American men were scheduled to play Netherlands in Eindhoven on March 26 and then Wales in Cardiff on March 30. It was to be the squad’s first trip to Europe under coach Gregg Berhalter. The women, who claimed the SheBelieves Cup with a victory over Japan on Wednesday night, were to take on Australia on April 10 in Sandy, Utah, and Brazil on April 14 in San Jose, Calif.

“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,” USSF chief medical officer George Chiampas said. “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.”

Next on the schedule for the senior men are the Concacaf Nations League finals on June 4 and 7 in Houston and Dallas. The senior women’s friendlies were intended to be the first of six used to prepare for this summer’s Olympics in Japan.

There was no further information available Thursday morning regarding any possible back-up plans for the men’s or women’s senior teams. Meanwhile, the men’s U-23 team already is in Guadalajara preparing for the regional Olympic qualifying tournament, which runs March 20-April 1. That competition isn’t a USSF event, meaning it will be up to Concacaf and Mexican authorities whether to proceed. 

“U.S. Soccer is keeping in constant communication with Concacaf officials about the status of the competition,” the federation said.

Concacaf also is scheduled to stage its U-17 women’s championship April 18-May 3 in Toluca, Mexico, and its men’s futsal championship May 1-10 in Guatemala City.