Coronavirus: Women’s football team from the U.S. trapped in Honduras after country closes borders

A women’s tackle football team from the United States is trapped in Honduras after the Latin American country decided to close its borders as a response to the coronavirus. The team was visiting Honduras to do some charity work for a local homeless shelter, and play in a tournament.

The group of 55 players and coaches are part of a nonprofit called American Football Events Team USA. They arrived in Honduras on Wednesday, provided donations to homeless teenagers on Thursday, then played in the America’s Women Bowl in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras — Honduras, Mexico, and Costa Rica were also in the tournament — on Friday and Saturday. When the team first landed, there were only three known cases of COVID-19 in the country, but things apparently got to a point where games needed to be canceled by Saturday due to the government barring gatherings of more than 50 people.

Things only got worse for the players and staff when they got to the airport Sunday only to discover all flights were grounded. Honduras’ government had announced that air, sea and land borders would all be closed for seven days.

“We went undefeated and won the International tournament on a high, and then finding out that the Honduras government closed the border from in-and-out travel was frustrating,” Sandy Glossenger, operations manager and co-owner of the non-profit, told USA TODAY Sports in an email. “But we have a team motto, that everything we do we do it TOGETHER. So morale is good and we are safe.”

Stephanie Balochko, one of the players on the team, made a post on Facebook describing the situation and tagging the president. As a whole, the team is reaching out for donations to extend their stay in the hotel they’re at while stuck in Honduras. The U.S. Embassy helped the team get discounted hotel rates and room service while the Honduras team provided food. The group is still reportedly rationing out what food it had.

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