With Alex Morgan calling the field conditions “horrible,” U.S. Soccer canceled the women’s national soccer team’s Sunday match against Trinidad & Tobago at Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium.
“We extend our sincere apologies to those fans who were scheduled to attend the U.S. Women’s National Team match in Hawaii,” U.S. Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe said in a 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.”
The decision comes two days after the team lost Megan Rapinoe to a torn anterior cruciate ligament and after players and former players were vocal in their criticism of the playing surface.
“I think the training grounds that we were given and the playing surface of the stadium were horrible,” Alex Morgan told Fox Sports. “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.”
Coach Jill Ellis told Fox that Rapinoe’s injury was separate from the conditions on the Aloha Stadium field, noting the narrow width of the pitch, carpet that was bucking and a big seam at one end of the field.
“For me, what I hope for, is that we play on regulation fields in terms of size and quality. That’s my expectation from U.S. Soccer,” Ellis said. “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.”
Before the World Cup last summer, the women’s team filed a lawsuit that was later withdrawn against FIFA and the Canada Soccer Association, alleging gender discrimination in the decision to use artificial turf for the Women’s World Cup and natural grass for the men’s.
The next game of the U.S. team’s Victory Tour, which is also against Trinidad & Tobago, is set for Thursday in San Antonio’s Alomodome.