Orlando Pride have pulled out of the National Women's Soccer League Challenge Cup following 10 positive coronavirus tests ©Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride have pulled out of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) Challenge Cup after six players and four staff members tested positive for coronavirus.

The team was one of nine due to compete in the one-off tournament, created to replace the traditional NWSL season after it was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Competition is due to start on Saturday (June 27), when Orlando had been scheduled to play the opening match against the Chicago Red Stars.

"This was obviously a difficult and disappointing outcome for our players, our staff and fans, however this is a decision that was made in order to protect the health of all involved in the Challenge Cup," Orlando Pride executive vice-president Amanda Duffy said.

"While we were all excited to see the 2020 Pride on the field this weekend, our priority is now making sure our players and staff safely recover and providing any support wherever and however possible."

As reported by The Athletic, the positive cases may be attributed to select players attending bars and nightclubs in Florida, with such venues allowed to reopen under state guidelines.

The club confirmed the players and staff received medical attention and are set to self-isolate for at least 14 days. 

Other Orlando players have voiced their disappointment at the news, with striker Sydney Leroux Dwyer revealing she was "heartbroken". 

Utah Royals FC are hosting the NWSL Challenge Cup across Zions Bank Stadium and Rio Tinto Stadium.

Players will live in an "NWSL Village" and will follow detailed medical and testing protocols, ensuring the safest possible environment for a return to play.

Each player, official, and essential staff member will be tested 48 hours prior to departure for Utah and upon arrival, and will be subject to consistent testing, temperature readings, and symptom reviews during the tournament. 

"I commend the club for its diligence and reaction following the initial positive test, as well as how the safety of players and staff was prioritised during this difficult and uncertain time," said Daryl Osbahr, Orlando Pride team doctor and a member of the NWSL's medical taskforce.

"However the guidelines and process that are put in place, including the important protocols and timelines for contact tracing, make it logistically impossible for the club to participate in the Challenge Cup in Utah."

The NWSL is yet to announce a new schedule for the tournament, which was due to be the first major event in team sports to be staged in the United States since the lockdown.

Under the original plans, teams were meant to play four games in the preliminary rounds to determine seeding, with the top eight sides then set to advance to the knockout stage.

The final is currently scheduled to be held on July 26.