Twelve Canadians remain at the NWSL Challenge Cup, in a June 30, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Twelve Canadians remain at the NWSL Challenge Cup, in a June 30, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Canadians Desiree Scott, Nichelle Prince out of Challenge Cup for personal reasons

Desiree Scott has joined fellow Canadian international Nichelle Prince in dropping out of the NWSL Challenge Cup for personal reasons.

Their two teams faced off Tuesday in the tournament in Utah.

Prince, a 25-year-old forward from Ajax., Ont., who plays for the Houston Dash, is mourning the death of her father.

“My dad is the biggest reasons I am the athlete I am today … I can only hope to be just a fraction of the person he is,” she said in a Father’s Day post on Instagram she hoped he would see.

Scott, a 32-year-old midfielder, pulled out on the eve of Utah Royals’ game against Houston in Herriman.

“This game is all I know and is beyond important to my heart. But one thing that is closer and dearer and has always come first is my family,” Scott said on Twitter. “I unfortunately will not be playing in the Challenge Cup. Beyond disappointed to not step on that field today but will see you soon.”

A Canada Soccer spokeswoman said Scott had to return to Winnipeg for personal reasons.

Veteran Canadian forward Diana Matheson opened the scoring for Utah on Tuesday. Allysha Chapman started for Houston with fellow Canadians Maegan Kelly and Sophie Schmidt on the bench.

There are now 12 Canadians at the tournament, 13 if you include Washington Spirit goalkeeper Devin Kerr. Born in Toronto, Kerr was raised in Barrie, Ont., and represented Canada at the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica before representing the U.S. at the under-19, -20 and -23 levels.

The NWSL season was originally slated to start April 18 but was put on hold due to the global pandemic. With the Challenge Cup, it is the first North American pro league out of the blocks, despite the loss of one team on the eve of the tournament.

The Orlando Pride, whose roster includes Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod and defender Shelina Zadorsky, withdrew last week after six players and four staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 30, 2020.

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