US men’s national team star Christian Pulisic tested positive for COVID-19, announced Friday morning, ruling him out of Chelsea’s Premier League showdown with Arsenal on Sunday and raising questions about their availability for the first three qualifying games for the World Cup in early September. .
Pulisic wrote on his Instagram account that he tested positive “earlier this week.” The 22-year-old said he is fully vaccinated and has no symptoms.
“Can’t wait to get back in action! Thank you for your support ”, he concluded.
Neither Chelsea nor the US Soccer Federation had a schedule for that comeback as of Friday morning. The Americans are scheduled to meet in Nashville on Aug. 30 before their Sept. 1 flight to El Salvador and the start of qualifying for the World Cup the following day. The Americans then return to Nashville for a September 5 meeting with Canada before playing in Honduras on September 8.
Anyone entering the US needs a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure. Chelsea and US Soccer also have their own testing protocols.
According to the CDC, “isolation and other precautions can be stopped 10 days” after a positive test for adults who do not develop symptoms. Pulisic tested positive Wednesday, ESPN reported. US Soccer requires that all players and staff test negative and be asymptomatic prior to arrival.
Speaking to US Soccer last week, long before Pulisic tested positive, national team coach Gregg Berhalter said he expected to encounter player availability issues during the qualifying challenge, which will feature four windows packed with three games. . Those demands were a big reason why Berhalter essentially split his team this summer, using half in the Concacaf Nations League and adjacent friendlies and the other half in the Concacaf Gold Cup. Depth will be essential.
“That’s why it was very important for us to see the whole group of players this summer, really important for us,” he said. “They understand that it will be a collective effort. They understand that it will not be 11 players who will pressure us in the three games. We will need a team spirit. We will need resilience. We are going to need several different players that we are going to use. We are going to mix and match lineups.
“The challenge, the grueling nature of it, I think we will be prepared and something that we will enjoy.”
Obviously, Pulisic is one of the most talented players on the national team, but his possible absence next month, or at any time, will not create undue confusion. He has played in just four of the last 19 US games dating back to November 2019. Berhalter and his team have met before without Pulisic.
Pulisic is off to a good start to the 2021-22 campaign, scoring in a 3-0 Premier League win over Crystal Palace last weekend and helping the Blues win the UEFA Super Cup in Belfast, where converted into the penalty shoot-out against Villarreal.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.