USMNT midfielder Tim Weah didn't accompany the team to Hamilton, Ontario, and will miss Sunday's World Cup qualifier against Canada due to his vaccination status not meeting the country's entry requirements, manager Gregg Berhalter said on Saturday.
Berhalter said that Weah had received one dose of a vaccine, and then caught COVID-19, preventing him from getting the second shot with enough time to satisfy Canada's requirements. Weah is considered vaccinated in France, where he plays for Lille, and was able to enter the U.S. for last Thursday's game against El Salvador. He is expected to be available for Wednesday's qualifier against Honduras at Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minnesota.
"[Weah] had one shot, one vaccination. He got COVID, he was awaiting the second shot," said Berhalter. "Due to the time of when he got COVID he wasn't able to get that second shot yet. However, in France, he is listed as fully vaccinated because in France, the one shot plus COVID means you're vaccinated and you're OK. As a technicality, it wasn't acceptable in Canada. This is something we can't control, the nuances of COVID protocol, and we just have to deal with it.
"This was a nuanced technicality that we were hoping was going to get pushed through and unfortunately it didn't."
According to the Canadian government, to qualify as a fully vaccinated traveler, an individual must have received at least two doses of a vaccine accepted for travel, a mix of two accepted vaccines or at least one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The second dose must have been received at least 15 days before an individual enters Canada. Travelers must also have no signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
Berhalter said that it was only in the past couple of days that the USSF was made aware that Weah's vaccination status would be an issue. The Canadian government doesn't allow exceptions to the entry requirements for travelers.
The loss of Weah is a blow for the U.S. given his excellent form of late. Weah created the game-winner in the 2-1 win over Costa Rica in October, scored the lone goal in the 1-1 draw at Jamaica and had the game-winning assist against Mexico during the November window. But the U.S. has cover at the wide forward position, with Brenden Aaronson also showing well during qualifying, scoring against Honduras and Canada.