The Chicago Red Stars need a new opponent for their opening match of the NWSL Challenge Cup on Saturday.
The Red Stars were slated to play the Orlando Pride, but the Pride announced on Monday that they were dropping out of the Cup due to several players and staff testing positive for COVID-19. The Pride said all of the players and staff who tested positive were asymptomatic.
“While we were all looking forward to seeing the Pride return to the field, we are unfortunately facing a decision that is necessary and in the best interest for the health of our players and staff,” said Daryl Osbahr, M.D., team doctor for Orlando Pride and chief of sports medicine for Orlando Health. “The decision goes far beyond just the positives, but also taking into consideration roommates or partners.
“I commend the Club for its diligence and reaction following the initial positive test, as well as how the safety of players and staff was prioritized during this difficult and uncertain time. However the guidelines and process that are put in place, including the important protocols and timelines for contact tracing, make it logistically impossible for the Club to participate in the Challenge Cup in Utah.”
The NWSL announced it will adjust and release a new tournament bracket for eight teams, instead of nine, now that Orlando has dropped out.
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There’s a new sports power couple with ties to Chicago.
Kealia Ohai, a midfielder who was traded to the Red Stars in January, married Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt on Saturday in The Bahamas. The pair shared a number of photos on social media the morning after.
Ohai had spent the first six years of her pro career with the Houston Dash, putting her in the same city as Watt. When Ohai was traded to the Red Stars, she and her then fiancé took photos together decked out in Red Stars gear.
Ohai has 28 goals in her NWSL career and has made three appearances for the U.S. national team. Watt is a five-time all-pro defensive end who has won three Defensive Player of the Year awards.
They aren’t the only soccer-football marriage on the Red Stars. Midfielder Julie Ertz is married to Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz.
JJ Watt has been having an exciting week. Not only did the Houston Texans beat the Buffalo Bills this past Saturday, winning the AFC Wild Card Game and advancing in the playoffs, but his fiancée Kealia Ohai was traded from the Houston Dash to the Chicago Red Stars.
After the trade was announced today, Watt took to social media to celebrate her success.
Ohai has played in the NWSL with the Houston Dash for six years. In a video posted to Twitter, Ohai thanked the organization and the city of Houston for their support. Ohai explains that to be the best player she can be, she needed to grow in a new environment.
Ohai and Watt have been engaged since May 2019, but neither seems too stressed about their new long-distance relationship. Watt posted pictures of him decked out head-to-toe in Red Stars gear.
Welcome to the Red Stars, Kealia! And who knows, maybe her three-time NFL Defensive Player Year fiancée will like Chicago so much he might want to move, too.
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