The Orlando Pride waived former Arizona goalkeeper Lainey Burdett on Sunday ahead of the NWSL Challenge Cup, though it turned out to be a moot move as the club withdrew from the tournament on Monday after six players and four staffers tested positive for coronavirus (apparently because some players went to a bar).
The Pride were scheduled to open the Challenge Cup on Saturday in Utah against the Chicago Red Stars. The one-off tournament runs through July 27 and replaces the 2020 season.
Burdett joined the Pride in 2019 as an undrafted free agent, becoming the first (and only) UA product to reach the NWSL. She appeared in one game as a rookie, making the NWSL Save of the Week against the Washington Spirit on Oct. 5, when she slapped a screamer over the crossbar.
Burdett started for Arizona from 2015-18 and remains the school’s all-time leader in shutouts. She graduated this May with a marketing degree. Joining the Pride delayed her graduation.
Had the coronavirus crisis not happened, Burdett’s summer could have looked a lot different. The Pride’s top two goalkeepers—Ashlyn Harris (USA) and Erin McLeod (Canada)—would have missed a significant portion of the NWSL season to represent their respective national teams in the Tokyo Olympics, possibly opening the door for Burdett to crack the starting lineup.