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Premier League reschedules soccer fan festival in Philly amidst coronavirus concerns

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NBC Sports/YouTube

Premier League reschedules soccer fan festival in Philly amidst coronavirus concerns

UPDATE, March 12: NBC Sports announced Thursday its Premier League Mornings Live fan festival has been rescheduled for the fall amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic:

ORIGINAL STORY, Feb. 24: Soccer fans in Philadelphia are getting as close to the Premier League as they can without hopping on a plane.

NBC Sports announced Monday its Premier League Mornings Live fan festival is coming to Philly on April 4 and April 5, setting up at Dilworth Park for a jam-packed weekend of soccer.

The festival, which will be free for fans to attend, will feature a live broadcast of NBC Sports's Premier League morning show from outside City Hall, meet-and-greets with club mascots, and of course live broadcasts of matches: the weekend features a marquee matchup on Sunday, April 5, between top-of-table Liverpool and second-place Manchester City.

In College GameDay-like fashion, the live broadcasts begin bright and early at 7 a.m. on April 4, and fans are advised to arrive early to guarantee entry. You can RSVP here for your chance at free entry to the fan festivals.

Philly is the third of three Premier League Mornings Live destinations during the 2019-20 campaign, after Austin, Texas and Miami Beach. New York, Washington D.C., and Boston all received the fan festival treatment during the 2018-19 campaign.

"It seems only fitting that we round off our Premier League Mornings Live events for the 2019/20 season by bringing soccer fans together in the city famed for brotherly love, Philadelphia," Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said in a release Monday.

"The event at Dilworth Park will be another exciting chance for NBC Sports and us to bring Premier League action direct to supporters in the US and will be the first time at a Mornings Live Fan Festival where we have hosted an esports final. We hope that this and the other great free activities available to fans will encourage them to come down and get involved."

Soccer fans from across the country will be able to interact with the event by sharing their #MyPLMorning on social media, from wherever they are watching. Select viewer photos will be featured on air throughout the weekend.

Philadelphia Union player tests positive for COVID-19

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USA Today Sports Images

Philadelphia Union player tests positive for COVID-19

A Philadelphia Union player has tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced Wednesday afternoon.

The team did not specify which player tested positive.

The player experienced "mild symptoms", according to the team, and is currently feeling well and is in good spirits. The player has been isolated, according to the team, and no other players have cases or symptoms as of Wednesday.

The Union said the team's medical staff has been in consultation with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as local medical officials:

Based upon guidance from Crozer-Keystone Health System medical officials, infectious disease specialists and Major League Soccer health officials, this case does not present a risk to our fans, our most recent opponent, LAFC, or any of the other Union players, staff, or personnel do not need to be tested as the team is outside of the 14-day window where anyone with team related interactions with the player would have reported symptoms. 

The announcement is believed to be the first confirmed case of COVID-19 from a Major League Soccer player. A member of the Seattle Sounders support staff tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-March.

The Union said it will provide more information as it becomes available.

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MLS suspends season amid coronavirus spread

MLS suspends season amid coronavirus spread

Updated: 11:43 a.m.

The morning after the NBA suspended its season, Major League Soccer has done the same. 

The MLS on Thursday morning suspended its 2020 season for 30 days, the league announced. Their plan is to continue the season at a later date. 

The Philadelphia Union were scheduled to host their home opener against the San Jose Earthquakes at Subaru Park in Chester at 7:30 p.m. 

Coronavirus in sports: Full, updated list of cancellations, suspensions 

On Wednesday, the Union released a statement saying: 

“Our medical staff is monitoring the situation closely and working in partnership with Major League Soccer, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and regional health authorities. We are in close communication with other sports organizations in the city, who are also monitoring the situation closely. If any necessary changes are needed, we will let our fans know as soon as possible and provide all the required information.”

The Union had been preparing for the home opener by increasing cleaning treatments, sanitizing high touchpoint areas, installing hand sanitizer stations and more. But now, the season is suspended. 

The Union played their first two matches on the road — a loss to FC Dallas on Feb. 29 and a draw with Los Angeles FC on March 8. 

The MLS on Wednesday began to postpone some matches based on location and released the following statement.