- The US women’s national soccer team beat Thailand in a blowout 13-0 match in the group stage of the Women’s World Cup on Tuesday.
- Some criticised the American women for their joyous celebrations after the landslide defeat, which they found unsportsmanlike.
- But even more jumped to defend the team, including tennis legend Billie Jean King, who tweeted: “Athletes should always play to their skill level.”
The US women’s national soccer team is facing backlash for their celebrations on the field after Tuesday night’s landslide 13-0 defeat of Thailand in the Women’s World Cup.
Soccer fans took to Twitter to say they found the more than a dozen goals gratuitous, and felt that the team rubbed their victory in their opponents’ faces.
Perhaps the fiercest critiques came from former Canadian women’s national team players Clare Rustad and Kaylyn Kyle, commenting on the game for sports network TSN.
“I just think they could have won with some humility and grace, and they just couldn’t manage to do that,” Rustad said.”Celebrating goals later in the game like this is just completely unnecessary.”
“What is this?” Kyle responded. “They’re the No. 1 team in the world. And for me, I’m disgusted, honestly. You’re going up against a team that’s their first time in the World Cup. They’re just happy to be there. … I’m embarrassed. I was a female professional athlete. There are kids watching this.”
— Sean Kent (@seankent) June 11, 2019
It’s not the scoring. It’s the celebrating. That was a gross display, and yes, people would say the same of men. I hope the US loses. https://t.co/LUQOBlfcq3
— Chris Jones (@EnswellJones) June 12, 2019
But even more came to the American team’s defence, calling the criticism sexist.
Many also pointed out that in the group stage, it’s not just wins that matter but the total number of goals. Countering the argument that the celebrations were over-the-top, others pointed to the fact that the first thing team captain Carli Lloyd did after the win was comfort the Thai goal keeper.
Tennis legend Billie Jean King was among the many to voice her support for the American women.
Every goal matters when the goal differential is the tiebreaker in group play. Athletes should always play to their skill level.
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) June 12, 2019
For all that have issue with many goals: for some players this is there first World Cup goal, and they should be excited. Imagine it being you out there.This is your dream of playing and then scoring in a World Cup. Celebrate.Would you tell a men’s team to not score or celebrate?
— Abby Wambach (@AbbyWambach) June 11, 2019
Imagine a men's sports team being accused of going too far because they played their best in a consequential match? You can't because it wouldn't happen. https://t.co/BQKEbFJIXL
— ilyseh (@ilyseh) June 12, 2019
“Every goal matters when the goal differential is the tiebreaker in group play. Athletes should always play to their skill level. Full stop,” King tweeted.
Team star Megan Rapinoe spoke with Fox Soccer the morning after their win and said she had heard about the backlash and didn’t mind.
“If anyone wants to come at our team for not doing the right thing, not playing the right way, not being the right ambassador for the sport, they can come at us. Because I think out only crime was an explosion of joy last night,” she said.
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 12, 2019
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