The United States women’s national team is no stranger to criticism from its fans — certainly not after its run at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, where it had its worst-ever finish at a major tournament. And, for the most part, that criticism is welcomed by the group.
“We have to be one of the most talked about teams,” USWNT captain Lindsey Horan told The Athletic in an interview. “We’re always in the magnifying glass on every single thing we do or anything we say.”
But when it comes to her individual performances, Horan would prefer that fans in the U.S. keep their comments to themselves, or at least form an opinion independent of the sport’s pundits.
“American soccer fans, most of them aren’t smart,” Horan said. “They don’t know the game. They don’t understand. (But) it’s getting better and better.”
“I’m gonna piss off some people,” she continued. “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!” She breaks into laughter. “My mom says, ‘Julie Foudy said you had such a good game!’ And I’m here, just going, ‘I was f—ing s— today.’”
Horan said that her experience playing in France with Olympique Lyon exposed her to a different type of fans.
“From what I’ve heard, people understand my game a little bit more, a sense of my football and the way I play,” she says. “It is the French culture. Everyone watches football. People know football.”
But, more than anything, Horan wants the USWNT to be able to shut its critics up with its play on the field.
“If you’re not backing it up on the field, people are gonna come and talk s— about what you’re doing, where your priorities are,” she says. “Like, ‘Are you getting ready for the game? Are you caring more about this s—?’”
Under new head coach Emma Hayes, the USWNT can take its first step in doing that at the inaugural CONCACAF W Gold Cup, which kicks off on Feb. 20.
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