#collegesafety | COVID outbreak forces Oakland Roots to postpone next two games

An outbreak of COVID-19 infections has forced the Oakland Roots soccer club to postpone their next two home games on Wednesday and Saturday.

The Roots announced that multiple members of the team’s “covered person’s list” tested positive for the coronavirus. The covered person list is a bubble that includes the team’s technical staff, which includes players and coaches.

Oakland was forced to play their home game last Saturday against the Las Vegas Lights with only 13 players available due to USL Championship health and safety protocols. Confusion about who would play continued right until the beginning of the game. Three starting players, Brandon Allen, Danny Flores, and Wal Fall, were removed from the field along with substitute Yohannes Harish moments before kickoff. 

According to league health and safety protocols, if any team player or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, anyone who has been in contact with the infected individual will have to quarantine and be tested one or more times by a team physician to be determined fit to return to the field.

“The affected individuals from Oakland Roots have been immediately isolated at home and are beginning the process of recovering,” the Roots announced in a statement. “All CDC, Alameda County, and USL health and safety protocols have been followed throughout the season.”

“We encourage, educate, and provide resources but we cannot mandate that players must be vaccinated,” the team stated, noting the whole Roots front office is vaccinated. Reporter Cyrus Farivar confirmed that the USL Players association’s current union agreement does not mandate vaccines.

It has been a difficult first season for the Oakland Roots in the USL Championship. After playing their first two months on the road, the team had its first home game of the season postponed at Laney Stadium minutes before kickoff due to turf issues. They then moved subsequent home games to Las Positas College in Livermore and played in front of a limited crowd on Saturday, a 2-1 loss to Las Vegas.

The team has struggled offensively, having only scored one goal in the previous five matches. The Roots sit in last place of the USL Pacific Division standings.

“We’ve definitely faced more challenges than we expected to start this season, but part of representing Oakland is how you respond to adversity, and the whole organization is looking forward to getting back to life at Laney as soon as it’s safe for everyone to do so,” said Roots head coach Jordan Ferrell in the statement.

The games against Phoenix Rising and Tacoma Defiance have been postponed to August 25 and September 15 and will also be played at Las Positas College. Oakland hopes to play their next home game on a new turf field at Laney College on July 31 versus Orange County SC.

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