For those of us who were hopeful that the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team might regain a modicum of decency after the retirement of Megan Rapinoe, well, we may have to wait a little longer.
At the beginning of February, in an interview with The Athletic (ironically titled, “Lindsey Horan Just Wants To Talk Soccer”), new WSWNT co-captain Lindsey Horan spoke about several subjects, including her professional career in France. During the course of that conversation, Horan took the time to insult soccer fans in the United States.
Sigh. It’s like they want Americans to dislike them and continue to either root against them or, more commonly, simply not care about them at all.
“American soccer fans, most of them aren’t smart. They don’t know the game. They don’t understand. (But) it’s getting better and better. I’m gonna piss off some people, but the game is growing in the U.S. People are more and more knowledgeable, but so much of the time people take what the commentators say, right? My mom does it! My mom says, ‘Julie Foudy said you had such a good game!’ And I’m here, just going, ‘I was f—ing s— today.’”Lindsey Horan to The Athletic
Horan then went on to praise French soccer fans for knowing the game.
Oh, by the way, speaking of knowledgeable, Julie Foudy is not simply a soccer “commentator.” She also won two World Cups and two Olympic Gold Medals before Horan was even 10 years old, so maybe she knows just a little bit about saying when a player had a good game.
But gosh. It was sure big of Horan to condescend to all Americans that we’re “getting better.”
Alexi Lalas Blasts Horan’s Remarks
Upon seeing the interview with Horan and her insensitive and condescending remarks, Alexi Lalas — former U.S. Men’s National Team player, 1995 U.S. Soccer Player of the Year, and the first American to play in Italy’s vaunted Serie A League — took to X to express both his ire and disagreement.
“Bold strategy.” Such a perfect response. But Lalas wasn’t finished. In a much longer X post, Lalas defended American soccer fans both for their knowledge of and their passion for the game.
The full post is worth reading, so here it is in its entirety:
I actually think American soccer fans are arguably some of the most educated, interesting, and well-rounded in the game. In a country where soccer isn’t king, American soccer fans have often had to seek and discover the game, domestically and internationally. This proactive approach, out of necessity, has given American soccer fans a unique appreciation and view of the game. It’s not provincial, it’s worldly. American soccer fans are forced to see the game relative to the world, not simply the country. This means American soccer fans are often more educated about that world than others. Also, because of America’s unique culture, American soccer fans are exposed to a much wider spectrum of soccer styles, leagues, players, ideas etc. than other countries. This has produced a soccer palette for American soccer fans that is much more diverse than many soccer-centric countries and cultures. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.Alexi Lalas on X.
This is not just eloquently stated, but also provides solid reasons why American fans are knowledgeable about soccer, in contrast to Horan’s reasoning that Americans just are “not smart.” As one X user said in response to Lalas’ post, “It’s like you actually know what you are talking about.”
Challenges Ahead for USWNT
Horan and her teammates have enough challenges ahead of them without needlessly antagonizing Americans any more than they have in the past several years. After disappointing performances in the 2021 Olympics and 2023 World Cup, the team’s coach Vlatko Andonovski (who named Horan a co-captain along with Alex Morgan) resigned. The new coach, Emma Hayes, hasn’t even started yet and won’t coach any actual USWNT games until May. Meanwhile, the 2024 Olympics in Paris are coming up very quickly in July.
You might think Horan and her teammates would be looking for all the support they can get, rather than continuing to turn off all Americans — let alone die-hard soccer fans — even more.
But, if the team insists on insulting or disrespecting their country, countrymen, and countrywomen, we will be more than happy to just not watch them play at all.