Relations between U.S. Soccer and the World Champion U.S. WNT have hit a low point with U.S. Soccer forced to take the highly unusual step of cancelling Sunday’s game against Trinidad and Tobago scheduled to be played at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii, after deciding that the playing surface was unsafe.
U.S. Soccer’s statement gave no reason that the field was not more thoroughly examined before the two teams made the long and no doubt costly trip to Hawaii.
Player power appeared to play a role in the decision after several members of the World Cup Champions turned to twitter in recent days to decry the condition of the artificial turf at Aloha Stadium.
Hope Solo ✔ @hopesolo
Our loyal fans: Thanks for standing with us against unsafe field conditions & standing tall for #equal treatment
1:26 AM – 6 Dec 2015
1,095 1,095 Retweets 2,675 2,675 likes
Carli Lloyd ✔ @CarliLloyd
So over the turf. 8 out of 10 Victory tour games on turf. https://twitter.com/juliefoudy/status/673349333761306628 …
11:00 PM – 5 Dec 2015
415 415 Retweets 1,040 1,040 likes
The players were also unhappy with the training field after star midfielder Megan Rapinoe tore her right ACL during practice on Friday.
“We extend our sincere apologies to those fans who were scheduled to attend the U.S. Women’s National Team match in Hawaii,” said U.S. Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe. “Player safety is our number one priority at all times and after a thorough inspection throughout the day, we determined it was in the best interest for both teams to not play the match. We regret not being able to play in front of our fantastic, loyal fans.”
Fans will receive refunds as the Victory Tour moves on to its next stop Thursday night at the AlamoDome in San Antonio, where the turf will presumably be up to standards for game versus T&T.
Two games versus China will close out the Victory Tour and the year for the U.S. WNT. The Victory Tour is meant to be a celebration, a chance for the fans to say thank you to their heroes and for the players to do the same in return.
The fans and the players will have two more chances to express those sentiments as the year comes to close, but as the year ends it is the relationship between U.S. Soccer and the players on the World Champion U.S. WNT that bears watching.