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Sport

Soccer: U.S. to skip October matches due to COVID-19 pandemic

FILE PHOTO: Jul 3, 2019; Nashville, TN, USA; United States midfielder Christian Pulisic (10) celebrates after a goal against Jamaica during the second half during semi-final play in the CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer tournament at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

(Reuters) - U.S. Soccer on Tuesday announced its men’s national team will not play any international matches during the upcoming window in October due to COVID-19 concerns.

The U.S. has not played since defeating Costa Rica 1-0 in February in Carson, California.

Friendlies against Netherlands and Wales were postponed in March, along with the CONCACAF Nations League final four in June and the start of 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in September.

"After extensive conversations about holding a men's national team camp in October, we ultimately determined the unique challenges created by COVID-19 as it relates to hosting international opponents and getting our players together wouldn't allow us to move forward," Brian McBride, U.S. general manager, said in a statement here.

“We appreciate the incredible amount of work our staff did and the discussions we had with Major League Soccer to try and address concerns and find solutions.

“While we won’t have the team together in this upcoming window, we are making considerable progress for November.”

U.S. Soccer are targeting a training camp in November before participation in competitive matches in 2021, starting with the Nations League games in March.

“While COVID-19 continues to create challenges for us, we are confident we can find a way forward in the near future that will provide an opportunity to play matches in preparation for the important competitions next year,” U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter said.

The death toll from the spread of the novel coronavirus in the U.S. exceeded 200,000 on Tuesday, by far the highest number of any nation.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis

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