Alex Morgan held out of Orlando camp due to COVID-19 protocols

Julia Poe, Orlando Sentinel

U.S. women’s national team coach Vlatko Andonovski said the decision to hold Orlando Pride star Alex Morgan out of January’s camp in Orlando stems from the team’s extended return-to-play protocols after a COVID-19 positive test.

Morgan contracted COVID-19 during the Christmas holiday while visiting family in California. Although she’s recovering, Andonovski said the star striker was held out to allow for follow-up testing.

The national team’s COVID-19 protocols go beyond producing negative COVID-19 tests. Before she can return to camp, Andonovski said Morgan will need to pass a series of additional tests, including an EKG, to be cleared.

As COVID-19 continues to be connected to side affects ranging from fatigue to heart conditions such as myocarditis, the national team plans to hold players out until they are certain they are not suffering any side effects from the virus.

“We take this very seriously and we don’t just throw the players back in camp right away,” Andonovski said. “If it was just COVID I think that Alex would be good to be back in camp, but because of all these protocols and all these return to play protocols, that is what kept Alex out of this camp.”

Morgan is the second U.S. women’s national team player to test positive for COVID-19 over the last three months. Lindsey Horan tested positive in November, which caused her to sit out the team’s camp in the Netherlands.

Despite these two cases, the team will continue to follow its previously set protocols for COVID-19, both during camp and after they are released.

Players and staff will be quarantined upon arrival in Orlando and will remain so until they produce a negative test. The entire group will continue to receive tests every other day throughout the duration of camp and the two friendly matches.

“Everyone has done an incredible job,” Andonovski said.

The national team will monitor Morgan throughout the coming weeks to clear her for a return to play as the U.S. continues Olympic preparation.

Although Morgan has been symptomatic, Andonovski said the team is confident in her ability to return to full strength quickly.

“We’ve been in communication and I personally, I’ve talked to Alex numerous times now, and I’m glad that herself and her family are doing well,” Andonovski said. “Slowly but surely, they’re putting everything behind them and they’re handling the virus very well.”

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