Late Saturday night, U.S. Soccer canceled Sunday’s friendly between the U.S. women’s national team and Trinidad and Tobago at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu after the synthetic turf field was deemed unplayable.
The friendly was a Victory Tour match for the U.S. World Cup champions. Goalkeeper Hope Solo tweeted a photo of a large seam in the field.
U.S. striker Alex Morgan called the Aloha Stadium field conditions “horrible” and hinted at a gender inequality issue between the U.S. men’s and women’s teams.
“I think the team needs to be a little more vocal about whether this is good for our bodies and whether we should be playing on it if the men wouldn’t be playing on it,” Morgan said in an interview with FOX Sports. “We’ve been told by U.S. Soccer that the field’s condition and the size of the field are the first two talking points of when they decide on a field, so I’m not sure why eight or nine of our 10 Victory Tour games are on turf whereas the men haven’t played on turf this year."
The World Cup this past summer in Canada was played on synthetic turf, but that was a FIFA decision, not U.S. Soccer’s.
Morgan wasn’t the only prominent figure in women’s soccer criticizing the turf for Sunday’s scheduled match in Hawaii. Former U.S. women’s national team player and current ESPN analyst Julie Foudy said in a tweet that a U.S. Soccer representative inspects a field months in advance for a men’s match. Yet no representative inspected the field for the women’s match in Hawaii, she added.
Foudy later tweeted: “Being told @ussoccer is working with the team and coaches to get a protocol in place similar to men’s. How not already in place is beyond me.”
Being told @ussoccer is working w the team & coaches to get a protocol in place similar to men's. How not already in place is beyond me.— Julie Foudy (@JulieFoudy) December 6, 2015
According to the FOX Sports report, U.S. Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe could not confirm whether Aloha Stadium’s field had been vetted by anyone at U.S. Soccer.
“We extend our sincere apologies to those fans who were scheduled to attend the U.S. Women’s National Team match in Hawaii,” 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.”
On Friday, U.S. women's national team midfielder Megan Rapinoe tore her ACL on a practice field at the University of Hawaii. Although that field is grass, it also was reportedly in poor condition.