Weston McKennie: USMNT’s player kicked out of team hotel after breaching Covid-19 protocol twice

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Weston McKennie has been kicked out of the United States soccer men’s national team hotel ahead of two World Cup qualification games against Canada and Honduras.

The 23-year-old Juventus midfielder was asked to return to Turin, Italy on Monday, September 5, when it was confirmed that he breached the team’s Covid-19 protocol twice.

In the first instance, he spent a night outside the USMNT hotel. While in the second instance, he came to the hotel with an unauthorized individual according to the “Hablamos Soccer” podcast.

Weston McKennie committed these breaches after starting in the USMNT’s FIFA World Cup qualification match against El Salvador on September 3. The match ended 0-0.

McKennie was suspended before USMNT’s World Cup qualification match against Canada on September 6 which ended 1-1.

While announcing his suspension from the USMNT via his Instagram story ahead of the USMNT vs Canada game, the midfielder apologized for violating Covid-19 protocol.

He wrote: “Unfortunately I have been suspended for tonight’s match due to a violation of team COVID protocols. I am sorry for my actions. I will be cheering hard for the boys tonight and hope to be back with the team soon.”

The 23-year-old midfielder who joined Juventus from Schalke 04 on July 1, 2021, for a transfer fee worth €20.50 million after spending a season on loan at the club, had once breached Covid-19 protocol in Turin.

In April 2021, the former coach of Juventus, Andrea Pirlo, was forced to suspend Weston McKennie for hosting a party in violation of Italy’s COVID-19 protocols.

U.S. men’s national team legend Landon Donovan is disappointed with Weston McKennie

Weston McKennie: US soccer men national team player kicked out of team hotel
File photo of U.S. men’s national team legend Landon Donovan.

The United States men’s national team legend Landon Donovan said he is disappointed with Weston McKennie for violating the Covid-19 protocol that forced him out of the team ahead of two crucial games.

Donovan who said what the Juventus star has done would be hard to repair added that it might be difficult for McKennie to earn back the trust of his teammates.

“I will just say I am privy to what happened. I’m not going to announce that publicly,” Donovan said on the Futbol with Grant Wahl podcast. “I will just say that I am incredibly disappointed in Weston, incredibly disappointed. Look, I can understand being at Juventus during a long club season, you’re sitting at home for months and months and months and you want to have people over. Is it the smartest thing to do? No, but I get it.

“This is one week of your life with three massive games, not only for yourself but for your teammates and your country to go to a World Cup and the level of selfishness at that moment is beyond me. Honestly, it’s beyond me.

“I’ve made a lot of dumb mistakes in my life I get it. I’m not here to be all righteous, and he is young, yes, but he’s old enough to understand that you don’t do this. You don’t need to put yourself in this situation and worse, put your team in that situation.

“Would they have won the game if he’s on the field yesterday? I don’t know, but their chances went up a lot, I promise. If he was on the field then their chances of winning or getting a point against Honduras go up a ton on Wednesday if he’s in the lineup.

“I am just really disappointed with him. It doesn’t mean you write him off and he’s a horrible human being. He needs to learn from this, but this can never happen again.

“It is almost beyond repair and he has a lot of work to do with his teammates to make sure that he never does something like that again because you lose trust in your teammates. This is their livelihood. These guys want to go to a World Cup. Christian [Pulisic] knows what it feels like to sit on the field in Trinidad, crying because he didn’t go to a World Cup, and you can’t put your team in that situation.”

USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter said all is not over for McKennie

Weston McKennie: US soccer men national team player kicked out of team hotel
File photo of Gregg Berhalter addressing Weston McKennie.

Though USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter has called in Jackson Yueill to replace Weston McKennie after he was sent out of the team for violating covid-19 protocol, the head coach said all is not over for the 23-year-old Juventus midfielder.

The head coach insisted that McKennie still has a future with the national team and would remain part of the team’s plan.

“I think when you talk about team policies and team rules and what we’re trying to accomplish as a team,” Berhalter told reporters, “the team absolutely comes first, and we made this decision not only for the short term but for the long-term health of the program.

“And it’s not an easy decision. Trust me. Countless coaches are faced with decisions where they have to take talented players out of the lineup for some reason or other, but we did it for what we think is the good of the group and the team.

“It is what it is. We’re obviously going to be missing Weston for Wednesday, but it doesn’t rule him out for the future, but we know that we’re without him on Wednesday.”

USMNT’s last World Cup qualification match this September is against Honduras. The match is expected to kick off on Wednesday, September 8, 2021, at 03.30.