Soccer

Washington Spirit take steps to keep Megan Rapinoe from 'hijack' of anthem

Washington Spirit take steps to keep Megan Rapinoe from 'hijack' of anthem

Four days after causing a stir by taking a knee during the national anthem, USWNT star and Seattle Reign midfielder Megan Rapinoe was in Maryland on Wednesday to take on the Washington Spirit.  

It was expected that Rapinoe would once again show solidarity toward 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his silent protest.

But instead of playing the anthem with all the players on the field, as is typically the case, the Washington Spirit did not wait for Rapinoe to make her protest. The organization played the anthem as the teams were in the locker room getting ready.

The organization then released a statement defend its actions.

RELATED: RAPINOE DEFENDS RIGHT TO PROTEST

"We understand this may be seen as an extraordinary step, but believe it was the best option to avoid taking focus away from the game on such an important night for our franchise," the team said in an official statement. 

"To willingly allow anyone to hijack this tradition that means so much to million of Americans and so many of our own fans for any cause would effectively be just as disrespectful as doing it ourselves."

The Spirit, owned by Bill Lynch — a veteran — expressed concern over disrespecting those who also served.  "Professional athletes have incredible numbers of followers, to which we believe they have the abillity to articulate a conversation with objectives and plans and begimn a serious conversation directly, or through traditional media appearances, without insulting our military and our fans."

At the core of Kaepernick and Rapinoe's protest was oppression, not being pro or anti-millitary.

Rapinoe wanted her protest to spark a conversation. One about change.

It does not appear the Spirit want to engage in that same discussion.

 

Washington DC launches bid to host 2026 FIFA World Cup matches

Washington DC launches bid to host 2026 FIFA World Cup matches

It’s still six years out, but Washington, D.C. is making a push to bring the 2026 FIFA World Cup to the nation’s capital.

With North America selected as the location of choice for the 2026 World Cup rather than one country in particular, D.C. officials announced Tuesday their intention to make Washington one of the 16 host cities for the 80-match tournament.

“Right now, as countries around the world continue to respond to this pandemic, the 2026 FIFA World Cup is something we can all look forward to,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement. “And when the tournament comes to North America, it only makes sense for DC — the Sports Capital and District of Champions — to host. We are already a city united by the game, and in 2026, we look forward to uniting the world.”

According to The Washington Post, 10 cities from the U.S. are expected to land matches for the tournament with Canada and Mexico splitting the other six. It will be the first time in World Cup history that the tournament will be shared by more than two countries.

The District established a group called DC2026, which announced a 40-member advisory board that includes D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid, three-time MLS champion Eddie Pope, Washington Spirit stars Joanna Lohman and Andi Sullivan, two-time gold medalist Brianna Scurry, EventsDC chairman Max Brown, chef José Andrés and D.C. United general partner Gregory O’Dell.

“As a native Washingtonian, I am proud to be a Co-Chair of DC’s official bid committee to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup,” Hamid said in a statement. “I could not think of a more vibrant, inclusive or passionate soccer city to host FIFA World Cup matches in 2026. With our deep soccer roots and diversity, the culture of our city gives us our foundation to successfully highlight the matches and leave a lasting impact on the future of the game.”

DC2026 plans to tout D.C.’s “unparalleled roots to the sport of soccer and world-class hosting capabilities” as part of its pitch. In a three-page press release, the group laid out advantages such as the metro system and three local airports that would allow it to host the increased number of tourists.

The city last hosted the World Cup in 1994, when it made RFK Stadium one of nine U.S. venues for the tournament. It’s also held Olympic soccer games (1996) as well as the 1999 and 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

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WATCH: American Christian Pulisic nets second goal for Chelsea in as many games

WATCH: American Christian Pulisic nets second goal for Chelsea in as many games

The Premier League restart has gone as good as possible for Christian Pulisic.

The United States National Team star netted his second goal in as many games for Chelsea on Thursday, giving the Blues a 1-0 lead over Manchester City shortly before halftime.

Pulisic gained possession of the ball off of a poor City turnover, and suddenly, he was one-on-one with defender Benjamin Mendy. The American winger used a brilliant hesitation move to dribble past Mendy before curling his shot past keeper Ederson for the goal.

Pulisic's goal comes on the heels of his solid outing on Sunday, where he scored Chelsea's first goal in a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa. Thursday's finish was Pulisic's eighth goal in 25 appearances since arriving at Chelsea from German side Borussia Dortmund this past summer.

Pulisic had previously been sidelined since January 1 with an adductor injury but was close to returning before the season was paused in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Premier League's resumption gives the American star a chance to rewrite the narrative on an otherwise incomplete first season with the Blues.

Besides Chelsea supporters, no one is happier about Pulisic's goal than Liverpool fans. Should Chelsea win or draw, Liverpool will clinch their first-ever Premier League title (and first league title in 30 years).

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