Soccer-Morgan ruled out of U.S. training camp after positive COVID-19 test

FILE PHOTO: Women's International Friendly - Netherlands v United States

(Reuters) -Twice World Cup winner Alex Morgan, who recently tested positive for COVID-19, will not participate in a January training camp in Orlando that will be followed by two friendlies against Colombia, the U.S. Women's National Team said on Wednesday.

The 27-player training camp roster, which marks the return of World Cup winners Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd and Mallory Pugh, was revealed a day after Morgan said she and her family tested positive for COVID-19 over Christmas.

The team said Morgan was "observing the prescribed quarantine protocols and doing well" and head coach Vlatko Andonovski told reporters on Wednesday that he was in contact with the striker.

"Slowly but surely they’re putting everything behind them and they’re handling the virus very well," said Andonovski, who took over from long-time coach Jill Ellis in October 2019.

Nineteen players on the training camp roster were with the United States squad in the Netherlands in November for their final action of 2020 when they won a rematch of the 2019 World Cup final 2-0.

Rapinoe, Lloyd and Pugh were not in the national team's previous two camps and saw limited or no action for their National Women's Soccer League clubs in 2020.

Andonovski, who left Pugh out of the Olympic qualifying squad a year ago, said the forward had "tremendous potential".

"We all know how good Mal can be," said the 44-year-old, who previously coached the NWSL team OL Reign. "She is on the right path to do well, physically, and now we just have to see technically and tactically."

Christen Press, a forward for Manchester United in the Women's Super League, will remain in England as she works to regain fitness after sustaining a non COVID-19 illness.

Forward Tobin Heath, who also plays for Manchester United, will remain in England to play in Women's Super League fixtures in January.

The camp concludes with friendlies against Colombia on Jan. 18 and Jan. 22. Capacity for each match will be limited to no more than 4,000 ticketed fans.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto and Amy Tennery, editing by Ed Osmond and Toby Davis)