The National Women’s Soccer League announced on Thursday that a player from one of the nine clubs tested positive for COVID-19. The club and player were not immediately identified. This is the first confirmed case of a positive COVID-19 case in the NWSL, nine days ahead of the start of the NWSL Challenge Cup.
According to the league’s protocols, that player will not be able to train for 14 days if she is asymptomatic, and would not be able to even resume exercising for 14 days if she is symptomatic for COVID-19. The league said that there are “no changes planned at this time” to the Challenge Cup schedule, which begins on June 27.
A statement from the league reads as follows: “The affected club is performing all appropriate contact tracing and increased testing of potentially exposed individuals. Thus far all resulting tests have been negative.”
What this means for that player’s team remains unclear. The NWSL’s protocols for a positive test result state that high-risk contacts should quarantine and cannot return to practice until 14 days have passed since the date of exposure. The NWSL’s definition of high-risk exposure seemingly encompasses an entire team under normal training conditions, even if it does not explicitly say as much.
Per the league, high-risk exposure includes any of the following:
1. Social distancing requirements of 6 feet apart from the infected individual is not maintained
2. Prolonged exposure (>10 min) within 6 feet (including meeting rooms, locker room, weightroom) even if wearing cloth mask
3. Direct exposure to infectious secretions (e.g., being coughed on, nasal secretions, or saliva)
4. Shared equipment or direct physical contact with the individual
5. Living in the same house or apartment unit
Low-risk contacts — which the NWSL defines as those maintaining social distancing (six feet), wearing a cloth mask with interaction under 10 minutes, and no shared equipment or physical contact — can return to practice if testing is negative, they have no symptoms, and “temperature remains normal.”
This story will be updated.