Soccer

MLS reaffirms stance on kneeling during anthem, U.S. Soccer considering amending policy

MLS reaffirms stance on kneeling during anthem, U.S. Soccer considering amending policy

The NFL Isn't the only league in which players may be kneeling during the national anthem as a peaceful protest.

Major League Soccer released a statement on Tuesday saying that the league would continue to support its players' choices, something that they have stood by for years.

“While fostering an environment of diversity, equality and inclusion, Major League Soccer stands by the ideals of freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest that are the hallmarks of the United States and Canada. If players or staff decide to stand, kneel or otherwise exercise their right to peaceful protest during the playing of the National Anthems before league games, we support them," the league said in a statement.

And in the broader soccer world, there may be movement on US Soccer's stance on the issue. According to ESPN's Jeff Carlisle, the United States Soccer Federation board is considering repealing its current policy that all players stand for the national anthem.

The news comes as the United States women's national team released a statement on Monday requesting the "Anthem Policy" implemented by U.S. Soccer be repealed.

"The Federation should immediately repeal the 'Anthem Policy,' publish a statement acknowledging the policy was wrong when it was adopted, and issue an apology to our Black players and supporters. Further, we believe the Federation should lay out its plans on how it will now support the message and movement it tried to silence four years ago," the statement read.

The movement that the USWNT believed was "silenced" years back refers to the "Anthem Policy" that was put in place after Megan Rapinoe kneeled during a 2016 match in support of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. As civil unrest and protests continue to take place across the country following the murder of George Floyd, the debate as to what players should do during the national anthem has been in the spotlight once again.

Notably, the NFL has made waves after commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement Friday encouraging players to speak out in response to a video posted by some of the league's biggest stars.

RELATED: GOODELL RELEASES STATEMENT CONDEMNING RACISM, ENCOURAGES PLAYERS TO PEACEFULLY PROTEST

The team wants the policy repealed not only because it restricts a form of peaceful protests, but because they believe that until that happens, the message of the act will be twisted and not perceived how it should be. 

"Until USSF does so, the mere existence of the policy will continue to perpetuate the misconceptions and fear that clouded the true meaning of and significance of Colin Kaepernick, Megan Rapinoe and other athletes taking a knee -- that black people in America have not been and continue to not be afforded the same liberties and freedoms as white people and that police brutality and systemic racism exist in this country."

D.C. United to return to Audi Field as MLS will host local matches beginning August 12

D.C. United to return to Audi Field as MLS will host local matches beginning August 12

Following the conclusion of the MLS is Back Tournament, MLS will continue its 25th season by having teams compete in their local markets, the league announced on Saturday.

Thus, D.C. United will be returning to Audi Field for regular-season action. The team will open up on the road against FC Cincinnati on Friday, August 21, before having its home opener on Tuesday, August 25, against the New England Revolution. For at least the beginning of the season, no fans will be in attendance. 

“I would like to thank everyone involved with the MLS is Back Tournament -- players, coaches, staff and partners -- for their role in helping us recapture the momentum we had at the beginning of our 25th season and reconnect with our passionate fans,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “Since suspending play in March, we have been working on plans to play as much of our season as possible, beginning with the tournament in Florida and resuming in our local markets following the competition. We remain focused on the health and safety of our players, coaches and staff, and look forward to continuing our season in our home markets.”

Though the league is planning to allow teams to travel after holding the tournament in a bubble, it doesn't mean protocols will lessen in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Players will continue to be tested every other day and are strongly advised to limit exposure outside of team facilities and mandated areas.

However, a major complication is how the three Canadian teams (Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver) will handle the season. Much like how the Toronto Blue Jays had to relocate to Buffalo to play the MLB season, Canada still has tight restrictions in place when it comes to leaving the country and coming back.

MLS states that it will have a clearer picture of the schedule in September, but initially plans to have U.S. teams only square off against one another. That may lead to the three teams north of the border only playing one another for the beginning of the season. PLans there remain uncertain. 

As it stands now, the league is set to kick off on August 12 and each team will play 18 games. Decision Day will be on November 8, and 18 teams will enter the playoffs. That number is four more than last season. The MLS Cup will take place on December 12. 

The MLS is Back Tournament is set to come to a conclusion on August 11 and the Portland Timbers will take on Orlando City for the title on August 11. D.C. United did not reach the knockout stage after finishing last in their group.

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Christian Pulisic continues to shine for Chelsea early in FA Cup Final, leaves match with injury

Christian Pulisic continues to shine for Chelsea early in FA Cup Final, leaves match with injury

Since the resumption of soccer in England, USNMT star and Chelsea attacker Christian Pulisic has been among the best in the sport. He continued that on Saturday, wasting no time giving his team the lead in the FA Cup Final against Arsenal.

Pulisic netted a goal just five minutes into the match.

The FA Cup is a knockout-style tournament that pits the best British soccer teams against one another. Pulisic's goal not only gave Chelsea an early advantage, but put him in the history books as he became the first U.S International player to score in the final.

Pulisic's brilliance on Saturday is just the latest impressive performance by the 21-year old. His effort since the Premier League returned helped Chelsea finish in the top four of the league.

Unfortunately for Pulisic and Chelsea, he did not get the opportunity to further leave his mark on the FA Cup Final and he exited in the 48th minute with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.

Though he had to leave the contest early, Pulisic once again proved that he is an emerging star both nationally and internationally.

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