USA women’s tackle football team is stranded in Honduras due to COVID-19

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"We're safe. We're not in any danger. Nobody can come into the hotel; nobody can leave," said Balochko. "But that also means that the virus can't come in, either."

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TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (WDVM) — An American sports team has more questions than answers as they’re stranded in Honduras in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. A handful of team members from the Northern Virginia area were available for a FaceTime interview Tuesday evening. Their linebacker coach, an Ohio native, was also present.

The American Football Events team, with team members from across the United States, left the country on March 11. They planned to fly back for the U.S. the following Monday, March 16. The team was competing against Mexico, Costa Rica, and Honduras in the Women’s Tackle Football International Bowl.

Free safety Jessica Johnson says the teams were the first outside of the Honduran soccer team to play in the stadium.

Confidence was high before they left for Honduras. “I mean, they made it pretty clear to us that there wouldn’t be any issue — I mean, everything kind of escalated pretty quickly once we actually got here,” offensive lineman Ashley Maslowski said.

“They cut it short before the championship game,” said Maslowski. “In the middle of our third game, they told us that they were suspending all sporting events.” The Honduran government has shut down its borders indefinitely. The team has been in communication with the U.S. Embassy.

Linebacker coach Stephanie Balochko says the Mexican and Costa Rican teams were kicked out of their hotels. Theirs has been accommodating; offering food and board discounts. “It feels like college again,” said Maslowski. “Like living in a college dorm.”

Still, the team is putting pressure on its budget. They’ve set up a fundraiser through CashApp to cover the extra cost.

“We’re safe. We’re not in any danger. Nobody can come into the hotel; nobody can leave,” said Balochko. “But that also means that the virus can’t come in, either.”

Without an end in sight, the team is treating their extended stay as an opportunity for team bonding. They’re running boot camps and yoga sessions; they’re watching game tapes and they’re playing games.

“I’m quarantined but I still get to be with some of the best people I know and some friends I’m going to have for the rest of my life,” said quarterback Amanda Congialdi. “It’s been a pretty unique experience but knowing what I know, I still wouldn’t change it.”

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