The players and manager spoke out vehemently, and it appears to have worked.
A day after Megan Rapinoe tore her ACL in what U.S. Soccer described as a “non-contact injury” at training, and hours before scheduled kickoff, U.S.Soccer cancelled Sunday’s Victory Tour match against Trinidad & Tobago in Honolulu, HI due to “poor field conditions.”
“Upon testing the playing surface during the WNT’s training session earlier on Dec. 5, and after all possible options available were considered to get the field in a playable condition, the decision was made by U.S. Soccer to cancel the match,” U.S. said in a statement.
“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 in the statement. “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.”
U.S. Soccer said it will fully refund all tickets purchased for the match.
Alex Morgan, Hope Solo, manager Jill Ellis, and others surrounding the USWNT were fervently against the turf conditions at Aloha Stadium the past few days, and Rapinoe’s serious injury may have tipped the scales.
“I think the training grounds that we were given and the playing surface of the stadium were horrible,” Morgan said while speaking to Fox Sports in Honolulu after the Rapinoe injury. “I think it’s hard because no one’s really going to protect us but ourselves. So we’re put in a very hard position because obviously we want to play in front of these fans and we want to train before the game but injuries happen when you don’t protect yourself and when you’re not protected from those higher up from you.”
“For me, what I hope for, is that we play on regulation fields in terms of size and quality,” Jill Ellis said yesterday. “That’s my expectation from U.S. Soccer. You’d have to ask them their process because I don’t really understand the process. My hope is that quality of surface is at the top of the list for the quality of players that we have.”
Fox described the Aloha Stadium turf as “buckled” and Ellis could be seen angrily voicing her concerns with U.S. Soccer officials at the conditions of the field during training.
Hope Solo posted the following on Twitter immediately after the announcement that the match was cancelled:
Following U.S. Soccer’s charge against turf during the 2015 Women’s World Cup this past summer, the 10-match Victory Tour featured eight matches on turf fields. Up next on the schedule in just four days is another match against Trinidad & Tobago, this time at the Alamodome, which has had its own share of field problems.