Brad Smith was left off Australia’s World Cup qualifying roster due to a positive Covid-19 test, national team coach Graham Arnold told reporters on Saturday. Smith did not play in the Seattle Sounders’ most recent match on Wednesday after being listed as out under the league’s “health and safety protocols.”
“He’s not in the squad because he’s got COVID,” Arnold said. “He tested positive only two days ago, so he’s out of the squad for those reasons.”
Smith is vaccinated and apparently not showing symptoms, but all players and coaches undergo testing every other day. They’re also tested the day before traveling or playing a home game. Smith likely tested positive on Tuesday and may have had it confirmed two days later.
A Sounders spokesperson confirmed that they’ve so far not received any other positive tests nor are any other players in quarantine.
The league protocols dictate that vaccinated close contacts don’t need to quarantine as long as they’re not showing symptoms, but they do need to undergo daily testing and wear masks at all times when outside of their home and not training or playing. This likely explains why several Sounders players have been wearing masks during recent press availabilities.
As long as Smith continues to not show symptoms and returns a negative test, he’d be available to return to team activities 10 days after his first positive test.